We at the Pea Project are passionate about our legumes. While peas may be part of the name, beans are still close to my heart. I would love to get them in the ground when I do the peas, however typically beans and frost are not friends. It can be risky planting beans early. Which bring us to the question, what is the earliest bean I can plant? The fava bean. Favas, also called broad beans are large pods that contain large beans (image that!) that may require some work to prepare but provide a beautiful buttery beans ready for both warm and cold dishes. I have not found a bean quite like it.
Fava Beans – An Early Bean to Plant
Good news for bean lover, fava beans like the same weather as peas. I plant them both at the same time of year, as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. What I loved most is that they were one of the first things to go into my garden and one of the last things to die off in November. Every other bean I grew came later and went earlier. Favas give you an excellent opportunity to get your bean fix as early as possible. I harvested them in June last year, only a few weeks after the rest of my bean crop was planted. They even stood up against an early attack of aphids that covered the plants, but they recovered. Talk about a resilient bean!
You Can Even Eat the Leaves
Favas have more to offer than just another legume. The leaves themselves are useful. You can actually eat the young leaves, kind of like you would spinach. Learn more about this from the site, Garden Betty. I will be trying this for sure once my favas get growing, stay tuned for that.
Favas Improve the Soil
Many gardeners will grow favas to help improve their soil. Just like peas, fava beans will add take nitrogen from the air and fix it into the soil. Next season your soil will be ready for nitrogen needy plants. Another great reason to plant them.