UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Fava Beans

Garden Help > Vegetables

UC Links

Fava beans growing at our McClellan Ranch project (Photo: Allen Buchinski)
Fava beans growing at our McClellan Ranch project (Photo: Allen Buchinski)
Pest management: Fava bean cultural tips, pests, and diseases

The Basics

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.

Care overview

  • 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.

More links

  • 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)

 

Fava bean varieties, one small, the rest large (Photo: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stockbridge School of Agriculture)
Fava bean varieties, one small, the rest large (Photo: University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stockbridge School of Agriculture)

 
 
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