Growing Broad Beans, also Fava bean

Vicia faba : Fabaceae / the pea or legume family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P P     P P      

(Best months for growing Broad Beans in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 6°C and 24°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 15 - 25 cm apart
  • Harvest in 12-22 weeks. Pick frequently to encourage more pods.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Dill, Potatoes
  • Broad bean flowering
  • Egyptian broad beans
  • Shelling broad beans
  • Young beans on plant
  • Young broad bean plant

It is a rigid, erect plant 0.5 - 1.7 m tall, with stout stems with a square cross-section. The leaves are 10 - 25 cm long, pinnate with 2 - 7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous grey-green color. Harvest 90 - 160 days depending on how cold the weather is.

In windy areas it is best to provide some support with posts and string, otherwise the plants will fall across each other. Pick the tops out once beans start setting to prevent blackfly.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Broad Beans

The fresh beans are eaten steamed or boiled. As the beans mature it is better to remove their tough outer skins after cooking.
The leafy top shoots of the adult plants can be picked and steamed after flowering.
Small beans can be eaten whole in the pods.
Broad beans will freeze well. Remove from pods and blanch.

Your comments and tips

21 Nov 23, Anthony (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
.I Grow mine in September. I Grow my seeds in toilet rolls with seedling mix. 10 day or less to germinate.. plant out before bees arrive about in September ,October.(will help pollinate the flowers ) Harvest Nov. Yummy I have heard you can grow them all summer in a shaded place . Doing it this year Waste of time growing them through winter, without the bees Growing season is Auckland
01 Jun 24, Richard Washer (New Zealand - temperate climate)
sewing in late autumn/early winter means that plants will be well developed in early spring ready to flower. results in a much earlier crop than if you sew in to sew some to grow over winter and some in early spring to get extended cropping - Richard Washer
29 Apr 22, Lynn Laurent (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Since moving to Tauranga I have found it better to plant broadbeans mid winter …. June as any earlier the flowers are not pollenated. Wait until mid winter so the bees will be active when the plants begin to flower. That way you don’t lose the first line of beans. Uncle in Hastings always did the same. Then they crop November into December.
06 Sep 21, Nigel (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
My beans have been flowering for 2 months. Lots of continuous flowers but so far no beans. Ideas please.
27 Sep 21, Steve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My understanding is that you have to wait for the bees to arrive to pollonate the plant. I had the same issue last year as well. Just need to wait a bit longer
07 Sep 21, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I had the same problem in sub-tropical Australia last. They probably prefer a cooler climate like yours. I put it down to wind last year although I have no idea. Maybe google about it or ring an agricultural dept.
26 Aug 21, adrienne Margaret mcgrath (New Zealand - temperate climate)
my broad beans are only about two foot high and have flowers,?
20 Aug 21, Richard Stancliffe (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Are the plants frost tolerant? We get -5degC frosts through to the end of October. I have a dozen 30cm plants to plant out. Cheers
02 Dec 21, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
The kill temperature for Fava Beans ranges from about -4c to -10c depending on the variety. Furthermore the temperature needs to be sustained; that is 2 minutes at -4c will not kill the fava bean plant; neither will an hour (most likely).... but 48 hours of temperatures consistently below -4c might. When the cold temperature is sustained the cells of the plant explode (freeze); it is the "water transportation system" that gets damaged and the plant can't continue. If you are expecting colder than average temperatures (or colder than you expect your fava beans to be able to handle) - you can cover them with plastic (clear if your keeping it on - anything if you are just putting it on top of them overnight). Tent style is best, but umbrella style (no sides) is also helpful. The most difficult time for the plants is usually around 4am when the "dew" settles, if during cold temp days you can get the plants covered overnight not only will the soil help keep them warm, you are keeping that cold morning sweat off them which can really do considerable damage if temps are cold. Also, high winds work like the morning dew; transporting the cold temperatures into the plant more readily.
20 Dec 21, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
I forgot to mention - if you have hummingbirds in your area - fava beans will produce some flowers during your overwintering process and provide some much needed food for humming birds (as do hellebores/lenten roses).
Showing 1 - 10 of 29 comments

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