Broad beans, also called fava beans, are a cool-season crop. The broad bean is a bushy, hardy annual that can grow from 3 to 4½ feet (.9-1.3m) tall. The broad bean has square stems with leaves divided into leaflets.
Broad bean pods are 6 to 8 inches (15-20cm) long and contain 4 to 6 flat, oval seeds that can be white, yellow, green, or pinkish-red. The broad bean has white flowers that are splotched with brown. The broad bean is not a true bean; it is related to vetch, another legume.
Broad Beans–Fava Beans Quick Growing Tips
- Sow broad beans in spring as soon as the soil can be worked for harvest before the weather warms.
- Broad beans grow best in temperatures ranging from 60° to 65°F (15-18°C) but fava beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F (4.4°C) and as warm as 75°F (24°C).
- Broad beans require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest. In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter harvest.
- Yield: Plant 4 to 8 broad beans per household member.
Where to Planting Broad Beans–Fava Beans
- Grow broad beans in full sun.
- Plant broad beans in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting.
- Broad beans prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
Broad Beans Planting Time
- Broad beans grow best in cool weather where air temperatures are below 70°F (21°C).
- Broad beans, unlike snap beans, will not set pods in warm weather.
- Sow broad beans in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.
- Broad beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F (4.4°C).
- Broad beans require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest.
- In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter or spring harvest. They will not produce in the summer’s heat.
- In cold regions, grow broad beans instead of lima beans, which require a warmer and long growing season.
Planting and Spacing Broad Beans
- Sow broad bean seeds 1 inch deep and 4 to 5 inches (10-12cm) apart.
- Space rows 18 to 30 inches (45-76cm) apart.
- Thin seedlings to stand 8 to 10 inches (20-25cm) apart. I
- n short-season regions, start broad beans indoors in peat pots and set them in the garden shortly after the last frost in spring.
Broad Beans Companion Plants
- Grow brad beans with potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory.
- Do not plant broad beans with onions or garlic.
Container Growing Broad Beans
- Beans can be grown in containers; use a 5-gallon container. A good crop will take more space than most containers can provide.
Watering and Feeding Broad Beans
- Water broad beans just before the soil dries out, but do not over-water them.
- Keep soil moist during flowering and pod formation.
- Plant beans in well-drained soil.
- Broad beans do not require feeding apart from planting in fertile, composted soil. Beans set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which help them produce usable nitrogen.
Broad Beans Care
- Keep planting beds weed-free; cultivate shallowly to avoid disturbing roots.
Broad Beans Pests
- Broad beans can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and mites.
- Spray aphids away with a blast from the hose.
- Bean beetles and flea beetles can be controlled with sticky traps.
- Exclude leafhoppers with horticultural fleece or spray with insecticidal soap. and mites can be controlled.
- Spray mites with insecticidal soap.
- Small white and yellow moths are adult cabbage worms that shelter in beans. They will not harm beans.
Broad Beans Diseases
- Beans are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose.
- Cut down the incidence of disease by planting disease-resistant varieties.
- Keep the garden clean. Avoid handling the plants when they are wet.
- Remove and destroy infected plants so they can not spread the disease to healthy plants.
- Soil-borne diseases can be reduced by changing the location of bean crops each year.
Harvesting Broad Beans
- Pick broad beans for fresh use like you would snap beans–when the seeds are about the size of a pea.
- Pick broad beans for drying when they mature and begin to yellow, usually about 85 days after planting.
How to Dry Broad Beans
- For dry beans, let the pods mature and turn yellow.
- Pick the pods before they darken or turn black (a sign of mold); this can happen quickly in humid or wet regions. If you allow the pods to turn black they will require additional time to dry.
- Dry fava beans on a screen or cookie sheet in a warm, sheltered spot with good air circulation; do not dry beans outdoors if it is humid.
- Beans can also be dried in a food dehydrator set on low heat.
- The skin of the fava bean will wrinkle when it is dry.
Storing and Preserving Broad Beans
- Unshelled broad beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Broad beans can be frozen, canned, or dried.
- Dried shelled broad beans can be stored in a cool dry place for 10 to 12 months.
Broad Beans Varieties To Grow
Few named varieties may be available; grow the variety available in your area.
- Short-season varieties (80 days): ‘Express’, ‘Loretta’, ‘The Sutton’.
- Longer-maturing varieties (90 days or more): ‘Aprovecho Select’, ‘Aquadulce’, ‘Aquadulce Claudia’, ‘Imperial Green Longpod’, ‘Jumbo’, ‘Masterpiece’.
About Broad Beans
- Common name. Bean, broad bean, fava bean, Windsor bean, Scotch bean, horse bean
- Botanical name. Vicia faba
- Origin. Central Asia