I have never claimed to be the world’s greatest gardener. I am still learning a lot. But I may be one of the luckiest gardeners this year. As I shared on my other blog, Eat Like No One Else, I had a run-in (two actually now) with Joesph Simcox, a Botantical Explorer, the man behind the Gardens Across American program (which you can read more about on the other blog). During our conversation at Whole Foods Market Ann Arbor, I mentioned that I do grow beans, so he went to his car and picked out some rare specimens from his Gardens Across America program for me to grow. I felt honored to be apart of this program – to help grow out rare varieties – so that they can be enjoyed by more and more people. I was excited – yet nervous to put in my first seeds of the season. I only have a small number of seeds, so there isn’t much room for error. Most the seeds he gave me are for beans that I can’t plant yet until we reach warmer days here in southeastern lower Michigan. However, he did give me these beautiful, unique looking Fingerprint Fava Beans. I love Favas as they are tasty and I can plant them way before my other beans, as they thrive in cooler weather. The Favas that I planted are in the lower, right corner of the picture below.
I plant these Fava beans on Monday, March 30th. I really wanted to protect the beans and gave them the best chance to be successful. I have a bunch of stones that I collected from my previous house that the previous renter left behind. I made my own little mini raised bed, just for these special beans. I also did this to keep the kids from accidentally stepping on the plants. For the mini bed, I mixed in a little bit of compost and peat moss into the soil that was already there. By Thursday, April 16th, all the beans just began to start poking a little bit above the soil.
Since I only have 3 seeds, this season is all about growing them out. Every seed is precious with this rare variety, so I am forgoing eating any this season, and just let the seeds mature for next season’s planting. I do have another section of fava beans (the Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto variety) that I planted in my garden, so I am not missing out altogether.
I also wanted to talk about something I am getting into this season – companion gardening – this is the process of planting plants near each other that will benefit one or both of the plants. I didn’t find anything specifically good for fava beans, but I did plant some Chamoile, right out of the outside of my raised bed. Chamoile is suppose to be an excellent garden companion. To learn more about companion planting, check out this awesome website that lists pretty much everything you could grow in your garden.