Grow Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

Vegetable gardening is beautiful! I think it is underrated. Look at some of these photos from my Magnolia Blossom peas last year.

Look at the stem of this plant. It has purple running through it. Kind of reminds me of a candy cane. How strange and cool!
Love the two-toned flower these plants produce.

Look at the beauty. Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate flowers hanging around my house. You are looking at a sucker for sunflowers. But why not grow flowers that produce food (of course you can eat sunflower seeds). When I look into growing food in my garden, what the plant looks like does factor in. Maybe not as much as flavor, but I want my garden to look nice.

One day when I was browsing online, can’t remember where I saw this but I came across something that I know would would add beauty to may garden – the Crimson Flowered Fava Beans. All the fava beans I have seen produce white flowers. This variety produces a red colored flower. And not just any red flowers, these things are beautiful! (You will see some picture in just a moment). How awesome is that!

Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

Where to Buy Crimson Flowered Fava Bean seeds

Finding the Crimson Flowered Fava bean seeds was not easy. They are rare. Treasure hunting time! I looked them up. I could not find anywhere expect at websites from other countries that didn’t ship to the U.S. I keep periodically searching. Then I found All Good Things Organic Seeds. They had the fava beans! I ordered a single pack. They didn’t have a lot in stock. My plan is to grow the plants just to save seeds to have a larger amounts of seeds for a bigger crop in 2018. I also want to be able to share seeds, so more people can enjoy this rare variety.

Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

Check out this video I made to show you how excited I am to be growing these fava beans this year.

A Little Bit about All Good Things Organic Seeds

This wonderful seed company is from the beautiful Ojai, California area. The seeds are grown at Mano Farm. They are certified organic by Oregon Tilth. I got to visit this city back in 2015, when I went to tour a Ojai Pixie grower grove. I wish I could have more time there. Now I have another reason to go back someday, to check out the All Good Things operation.

Photo courtesy of All Good Things Organic Seeds

Quin from All Good Things spoke of the difficultly of even locating the seed. They have been working to improve the quality and the consistency of the seed and hope to have more available in the future.

Photo courtesy of All Good Things Organic Seeds

Here is the description taken from their website about the variety:

We’ll get right to it: the real story of this fava bean (Vicia faba) variety are its crimson flowered blossoms, which sets it apart from all white flowered varieties we’ve grown. The blossoms attract a variety of beneficial insects including sphinx moths. The fast growing, stout plants require minimal support and the blooming period makes this an attractive nitrogen fixing cover crop. Beans mature to a deep rich green. We are proud to offer this unique and hard to find fava bean in our catalog!

Beans in 90 days when spring sown, 160 days when fall sown. Annual.
Grown at Mano Farm in Ojai, California.
All of our seed varieties are certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

Photo courtesy of All Good Things Organic Seeds

Growing Out Seeds

That brings to me what I can the fun of growing out seeds. That is taking something that is rare and that you only have a small amount of and growing them into plants that produce more seeds that you started with. To me that is fun. Especially with something rare like this fava. You are helping to preserve the variety. That is a really cool thing to be a part of.

Crimson Flowered Fava Beans

This year I only have 7 seeds. So I am focusing on just growing more seeds. That means sacrificing actually getting to eat the beans themselves. If all goes well I will dramatically increase my supply so that in 2018, I will be able to enjoy the beans as well as the flowers and seed saving.

The History of the Crimson Flowered Fava

The first website that I came across selling the seeds was Heritage Harvest Seed. They only ship to Canada thought but they have a lot of good background information on their website about the Crimson Flowered Fava.

Here is more about the history as reported on their site. Note they are calling it a Broad Bean which is another name for Fava Bean.

At one time, not long ago, this broad bean was on the verge of extinction. An elderly curator of precious bean seeds lost almost all of her harvest but luckily sent the remaining seed to Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA). From just four seeds, HDRA was able to successfully propagate this bean and save the Crimson Flowered Broad Bean from extinction. This is one of the true success stories when it comes to saving heirloom vegetables. The Crimson Flowered Broad Bean is an extremely ornamental plant. It is covered with crimson flowers all summer long and into the fall. It is also very productive and produces many tasty green fava beans that can be used fresh or dried for winter use. One of my all time favorite vegetables and definitely pretty enough for the flower bed! EXTREMELY RARE.

Thoughts on Growing Fava Beas

I asked some friends on facebook what their thoughts on growing fava beans were. Some people enjoying growing them more than eating them. Fava beans are good for the soil and have pretty flowers that bring in beneficial insects. They add nitrogen to the soil. Some people use them as a cover crop for that purpose. Crops like corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and cabbage need a lot of nitrogen. Planting fava beans and then following up with one of those veggies is good gardening.

These are what fava beans look like when they begin to form. Photo courtesy of Eden’s Organic Garden Center/CSA.

When to Plant Fava Beans

Unlike most beans, favas like it cooler. They are the first type of bean I plant in my garden each year and that is another reason I like growing them because I can’t grow any other beans. Here in Michigan I plant them in the spring time as soon as I can get them into the ground. If you live further south you can plant the in the winter, or even in the fall.

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