When to Plant Broad Bean, Fava Beans

Fava beans seedlings

Plant broad beans, also called fava beans, directly in the garden 4 to 7 weeks before the last frost in spring. Sow broad beans as soon as the soil can be worked for harvest before the weather warms.

Broad beans are a cool-season crop that grows 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 can withstand light frost. For an extra-early start, sow fava beans 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost and have them ready to set out as soon as the soil can be worked. Young plants in the garden are best protected against heavy frost with row covers or plastic tunnels.

Broad beans require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest. In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter harvest for a spring harvest.

Broad beans are not recommended as a summer crop where summers are dry and hot.

Broad beans will grow in most soils as long the soil is well-drained. Broad beans prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.5.

Harvest broad beans by picking the lowest pods on the plant first and working up the plant. Broad beans can be used young as snap beans or let beans develop in the pods.

Young broad bean plants
Young broad bean plants, also called fava beans

Broad bean, fava bean planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Jan. 1-Feb. 15
Feb. 8Jan. 10-Feb. 20
Feb. 18Jan. 20-Mar. 1
Feb. 28Feb. 1-Mar. 15
Mar. 10Feb. 10-Mar. 30
Mar. 20Feb. 20-Apr. 1
Mar. 30Mar. 1-Apr. 10
Apr. 10Mar. 10-Apr. 20
Apr. 20Mar. 20-Apr. 1
Apr. 30Mar. 30-May 10
May 10Apr. 10-May 15
May 20Apr. 20-May 30
May 30Apr. 30-June 10
June 10May. 10-June 15
Broad bean seedlings
Broad bean seedlings, also called fava beans

Broad bean, Fava bean planting details

  • Sowing depth: 1 inch (2.5cm)
  • Space between plant after thinning: 8 inches (20cm)
  • Days to sprout: 10
  • Days to harvest: 80-100
  • Storage period: 1-2 weeks fresh or several months dried
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: ½ pound
  • Yield per 100 row feet: 60 pounds (29 kg)
  • Suggested varieties: Aguadulce, Broad Windsor, Con Amore, Loretta, Sweet Lorraine, Windsor Long Pod

Related articles of interest:

How to Grow Broad Beans, Fava Beans

How to Cook and Serve Fava Beans

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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