I’d been looking at the fava beans, or broad beans, for several days, feeling the pods and wondering if I should pick them. But, since I was already dealing with peas, strawberries, beets, elderblow and broccoli I dillydallied and procrastinated. Then it rained, which was indeed a blessing, and much appreciated. While the rain fell, I did a little “computer gardening” and watched a recent episode of “Gardeners’ World” with Monty. When I saw him with a patch of broad beans, I perked up and listened carefully. Monty said when the Solstice arrives, if one hasn’t picked the broad beans it should be done because whatever is there is it, and there’s no use letting them deteriorate. Not his exact words, or with his lovely accent, but there it was. If Monty was picking all his favas, then my favas should be picked as well.
Not every fava plant that I’d grown in elegant toilet paper tubes had survived (yes, even I have a failure or two now and then!) and needing space, I’d planted some lovely pepper plants in the empty spots. Now the peppers were feeling crowded, so I’d been eyeing the favas with that also in mind. So as soon as the rain stopped, with one of my bright green harvest baskets in hand, I hurried to the potager.
The pods were of varying length and thickness. And, I noticed that all the more recent flowers had just dried up and turned black without forming pods. Those 90 degree and dry days just did them in, despite my watering efforts. Soon, my basket was filled and the bed was cleared of fava plants.
The pepper plants breathed a sigh of relief that the “thug” broad beans were gone and immediately stretched their leaves. Over 7 lbs. of pods were harvested (from 2 beds) , and a nice load of hefty plants was added to the compost. This is the best fava harvest I’ve had. Only “Robin Hood” seeds were used this year. After four years of planting it and others, it was easy to see that only this dwarf, fast-maturing variety has any degree of hope in our crazy, erratic central Indiana weather. The difference in yield, I attribute to a change in my watering strategy regarding favas…LOTS more water more often. I treated them more like a tomato than a bean, and I think it was key. Those notes go in my journal on the fava page, so that I’ll remember it next year. (I always think I will, and usually I do, but sometimes actually, I don’t! Sigh!) Many locals think I am crazy to even try to grow broad beans, but I fell in love with them in England and Italy and even if the yield is only one or two meals, it’s worth the trouble to me.
Now, the keen eyed readers will have noted the disparity in size in the row of alpine strawberries on the right edge of bed 2b that is now a fava-free zone. More about that in an upcoming post! Meantime, I’m off to do all those tasks on my “After A Rain” list. Hope you have a wonderful and productive day.