Fava beans, also known as broad beans, grow well as a cool season crop in Santa Clara County, unlike most other beans which are warm weather crops. Favas are also grown as a winter cover crop because of their ability to add nitrogen to the soil, but this page concerns the plant as a vegetable.
Note that some people of Mediterranean origin have a genetic trait (enzyme deficiency) that causes a severe allergic reaction to fava beans. People of this descent should sample the beans in small quantities at first.
When to plant: Direct seed in Feb, Aug-Sept (maybe Oct)
Harvest window: Harvest pods when beans are plump and the pods are green, thick, and have a glossy sheen.
- Fava bean varieties are small or large seed types. Large-seeded varieties bear 1–2 pods at each node, small-seeded types produce from 2–5 pods.
- Planted seeds 1–2 inches deep into well-prepared soil, 3–5 inches apart. Germination usually occurs in 7–14 days. Thin seedlings to 8–l0 inches apart.
- Fava Beans, University of California Cooperative Extension, Small Farms Program
Recommended Varieties for Santa Clara County
There are no recommendations yet for specific fava varieties for Santa Clara County. Here is an image showing a few available varieties. (Source: Fava Beans Growers Guide in New England, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stockbridge School of Agriculture)