UC LinksFava bean cultural tips, pests, and diseases
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
- Using a Cover Crop [2:56]
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)