Buttery, nutty, and a bit bitter, fava beans are a great addition to your dinner table. Grow these beauties in your garden for a delightful new protein.
Step 1: Choose a site Choose a gardening site with full sun, good irrigation, and crumbly soil.
Step 2: Till the soil Till the soil to remove any underlying weeds and to aerate the soil.
TIP: If you need to add soil to a garden, choose soil that has a low sand content.
Step 3: Apply fertilizer and till Apply fertilizer using 1 cup fertilizer per 50 feet of garden. Till the soil to a depth of 6 inches to incorporate the fertilizer. Then lightly water the soil to moisten it.
Step 4: Plant in early spring Plant the seeds in early spring, when the soil has reached a temperature of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Plant seeds Plant the seeds 1 to 2 inches apart and 3 to 6 inches deep. If you plan on having more than one row of seeds, the rows should be 24 inches apart.
Step 6: Cover with mulch Cover the seeds with soil and then add 2 to 3 inches of mulch to keep the soil moist and keep the weeds at bay.
Step 7: Water Water the garden once a week, early in the morning, and provide about an inch of water to the entire area. Early morning watering will give the plants time to dry out and reduce the chance of disease.
Step 8: Weed as needed Weed the garden using shallow strokes to avoid uprooting your bean plants. Allow the garden to dry after a heavy rain before weeding.
TIP: If your growing season is short due to cold, you can cover the soil with black plastic sheeting to warm up the soil and to prevent weeds.
Step 9: Pick the beans Pick the beans when the pods are plump, green, and filled with seeds -- in about 4 to 5 months.
Step 10: Rotate your crop location Rotate the location of your bean plantings each year to reduce nitrogen buildup in the soil so you can enjoy these yummy beans every summer.
FACT: Fava beans are one of the world's oldest cultivated plants, being grown over 5,000 years ago.