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Fava or Faba Bean, Vicia faba

Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Fava Bean, Vicia faba. - Photo Taken June 13, 2011 In Yarnell, Arizona.
Beans Bought In Pisac Market, Peru.

Broad Beans In The Pod. Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.Aphis fabai On Stalk. Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Broad Beans In The Pod
Fava Bean, Vicia faba.
Courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Aphis fabai On Stalk
Fava Bean, Vicia faba.
Courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Fava Bean Pods, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Fava Bean Pods, Vicia faba.Fava Bean, Vicia faba.
Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.Fava Bean, Vicia faba. Arizona Vegetable & Fruit Gardening For The Arizona Desert Environment. Pictures, Photos, Images, Descriptions,  Information, & Reviews.
Fava Bean, Vicia faba.Fava Bean, Vicia faba.

Fava Bean
Vicia faba, Bean or Pea Family (Papilionaceae) the former family was (Fabaceae), Commonly Known As: Fava Bean. AKA: Broad Bean, Faba Bean, Field Bean, Bell Bean, Horse, English, Scotch Field, Rounded, Windsor, or Tic Bean.

Fava beans (also known as faba beans or broad beans) are thought to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean about 6000 B.C. Archaeological findings at Iron Age and Bronze Age settlements in various parts of Europe show that they have been an important staple food for millennia.

Broad beans, with seeds the size of the small fingernail, were gathered in their wild state in Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills. In a form improved from naturally occurring types, they were already being grown in Thailand since the early seventh millennium BC, predating ceramics. They were also found to have been deposited with the dead in ancient Egypt. Not until the second millennium BC did cultivated, large-seeded broad beans appear in the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe. In the Iliad (late 8th century) is a passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor. The oldest-known domesticated beans in the Americas were found in Guitarrero Cave, an archaeological site in Peru, and dated to around the second millennium BCE.

Along with peas, lentils, and chickpeas, fava beans have remained a staple in the “Cradle of Civilization” while spreading around the globe.

The Fava Bean (Vica Faba) is a dark tan, flat, oval bean that Grows within an inedible large pod. The Fava is about 3/4 to 1 inch in length. The Habas Bean is simply a peeled Fava Bean. The Habas has a creamy white color, assertive, almost bitter earthy flavor and granular texture. The Fava can also be referred to as a faba, broad, horse, English, Scotch field, rounded or Windsor bean. The Fava was the only bean known to Europeans until the discovery of the "new world". The Fava's pedigree goes back to ancient Egypt as a staple in the diet of the pyramid builders. Cultivation can be traced back to the bronze age in Switzerland and the iron age in Great Britain.

Today fava beans grow in temperate regions across the globe. They are enjoyed across northern China and are crucial to Egyptian cuisine as a key ingredient in the national dish, Ful medames, and in falafels.

If you are in a hurry to cook, using the Habas Beans instead of a Fava saves a substantial amount of time. Habas can be substituted for Fava in any recipe. These beans are great with onions, garlic, and olive oil. Or try cooking Habas with tomatoes and fresh basil. Habas Beans are pealed Fava Beans.

Faba (also spelled fava) bean seeds vary in shape, size, and color. The plants they come from; vary in cold hardiness, size, and yield. They are called by a number of different names depending on their type. Small-seeded types (Vicia faba var.minor) may be called tickbean or pigeon bean and are commonly used for animal feed. Medium-size seed types (V. faba var. equina) are represented by what is commonly called the horse bean, whereas large-seeded types (V. faba var. major) may be called Windsor bean or broad bean and are used more commonly as a green vegetable or as a dry bean. Faba bean is a cool-temperature vegetable popular in the Middle East and Europe, and uncommon in the U.S. Pods may be shelled when seeds are green for cooking as a green vegetable, commonly in stews. The seed may be boiled, or used roasted as a snack food. They are also harvested after the seed has dried and ground to a flour and used for falafel and foul, popular middle eastern foods. Some varieties are also grown for forage and as a green-manure or cover crop.

Remember, Fava Beans are also called Faba Beans, or Broad Beans and visa versa.

Broad beans, aare a cool-season crop that grow best in temperatures ranging from 60° to 65°F, but fava beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F and as warm as 75°F. Sow broad beans in spring as soon as the soil can be worked for harvest before the weather warms. Broad beans require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest. In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter harvest.

Fava beans, or horse beans, don't need support and may grow 6 feet high. The beans of large-seeded varieties resemble large lima beans. Fava beans require temperatures below 80 degrees to set seed and produce poorly in areas with higher summer temperatures. The Fava bean produces only a few pods before stalling if planted where summer heat rises above the low 80's. Plants survive temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making the fava a good cover crop for home gardens.

Fava beans are a legume, and require a long, cool growing season. So, in mild climates such as Southern California, plant fava beans in the fall, then patiently wait for 150-180 days later, to enjoy your harvest in the spring. Fava beans are also considered a beneficial cover crop, because they are high in nitrogen, and return nitrogen back, enriching the soil where they are grown.

Broad beans have a long tradition of cultivation in Old World agriculture, being among the most ancient plants in cultivation and also among the easiest to grow. It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, they became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet in around 6000 BC or earlier. They are still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion, because they can over-winter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil. These commonly cultivated plants can be attacked by fungal diseases, such as rust (Uromyces viciae-fabae) and chocolate spot (Botrytis fabae). It is also attacked by the black bean aphid (Aphis fabae).

The broad bean can be grown in soils with high salinity. However, it does prefer to grow in rich loams.

Although usually classified in the same genus Vicia as the vetches, some botanists treat it in a separate monotypic genus Faba. Family: Papilionaceae, Genus: Vicia, Species: faba.

Description. The broad bean is a bushy, hardy annual that can grow from 3 to 6 feet tall. The broad bean has square stems with leaves divided into leaflets. Pods are 6 to 8 inches long and contain 4 to 6 flat, oval seeds that can be white, yellow, green, or pinkish-red. The broad bean has a white flowers that is splotched with brown. The broad bean is not a true bean is related to vetch, another legume.

Number To Plant. Plant 4 to 8 broad bean plants per household member.

Site. Grow broad beans in full sun. Plant broad beans in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds before planting. Broad beans prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.

Planting time. Broad beans grow best in cool weather where air temperatures are below 70°F. Broad beans, unlike snap beans, will not set pods in warm weather. Sow broad beans in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Broad beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F. They require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest.. In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter or spring harvest. They will not produce in the summer's heat. In areas where winters are mild, plant broad beans in the fall for a spring crop. In cold regions, grow broad beans instead of lima beans, which require a warmer and long growing season. The earlier broad beans are sown the less likely they are to become infested with black-fly.

Planting and spacing. Sow broad bean seeds 1 inch deep and 4 to 5 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 30 inches apart. Thin seedlings to stand 8 to 10 inches apart. In short season regions, start broad beans indoors in peat pots and set them into the garden shortly after the last frost in spring.

Water and feeding. Water broad beans just before the soil dries out, but do not over-water them. Keep soil moist during flowering and pod formation. Plant beans in well-drained soil. Broad beans do not require feeding apart from planting in fertile, composted soil. Beans set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which help them produce usable nitrogen.

Harvest. Pick broad beans for fresh use like snap beans when seeds are about the size of a pea. Commonly broad beans are grown to maturity and used as shelled beans. Broad beans are ready for harvest and fresh use from planting to harvest is about 85 days.

Varieties. Few named varieties may be available; grow the variety available in your area. Short-season varieties (80 days): Express; Loretta; The Sutton. Longer-maturing varieties (90 days or more): Aprovecho Select; Aquadulce; Aquadulce Claudia; Imperial Green Longpod; Jumbo; Masterpiece.

Storing and preserving. Unshelled broad beans will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Broad beans can be frozen, canned, or dried. Dried shelled broad beans can be stored in a cool dry place for 10 to 12 months.

Broad and Fava beans can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. Broad beans prefer a moist, cool soil for growing and will tolerate light frosts. Sow 1-2" deep and 6" apart in rows 24-36" apart. If using untreated broad bean seeds, plant heavier and when sprouted, thin to desired density.

Broad beans are light feeders, requiring a well drained soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8. A one time application of compost or well rotted manure will be sufficient. Pinching back the top of the broad bean plant when the first pods begin to form will provide a higher and more uniform yield. Large plants require support; hill soil up around the base of the broad beans as it grows.

Fava beans have one of the highest rates of nitrogen fixing of any cover crop. They also also produce one of the highest rates of compostable organic material per square meter. They will loosen even highly compacted heavy clay soil. They are also very tasty to eat, both as a fresh shelled bean and as a dry soup bean. They are an excellent substitute for garbanzo beans when making hummus.

Fava bean seeds don’t keep well. Purchased seeds are normally treated, which significantly improves their germination rates. If you save your own fava bean seeds you will need to count on low germination rates, and increase planting density accordingly. Planting densities given here assume germination rates typical of commercial seeds, and you will need to increase these densities according to your own experiences with the seeds you save and grow yourself. When storing fava beans it is important to keep them in an open container. If you have problems with rodents eating the seeds in storage, try glass jars with holes poked in metal lids, or try constructing your own containers made of wire screens. Fava bean seeds also freeze well, and can be stored in a freezer after they have been completely dried. Seeds that become moldy or develop large black spots in storage should be discarded.

As a food crop, fava beans are not one of the most productive. A relatively large area needs to be planted for a modest harvest. In addition, preparing fresh fava beans can be a lot of work as most people will remove the skins of the seeds before eating. In general, it’s more useful to think of fava beans primarily as a cover crop, with the added benefit of being able to provide a little food as well. In terms of food harvest, the smaller seeded varieties are better than the large seeded varieties.

Fava beans can be grown in a few different ways. They can be planted densely, then turned into the ground when they are young. In this case they are usually planted in double rows (two parallel rows 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart). These double rows are spaced 30cm (1 foot apart), and the seeds within the rows are spaced 15cm (6 inches) apart. They should be turned under before they get too woody, and while they can still decompose easily.

When growing fava beans for seed or food, they should be planted in single rows 30cm (1 foot) apart, and seed spacing should be 15cm (6 inches). In this case the plants will be too woody to simply turn into the ground, and will have to be collected for composting.

Fava beans are cool weather crops, and should be planted as early in the spring as possible. They can go into the ground as soon as it has thawed enough to dig. In some places fava beans can be planted in the fall and overwinter. Different varieties will survive different temperature extremes, but typically will survive to -10C (about 15F). Fava beans do not compete well with weeds, and one very good way to address the problem of weeds is to grow them together with another leguminous nitrogen fixing cover crop to smother the weeds. White clover is an excellent choice here, but other cover crops will probably also work well.

1 . Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden bed. Work the compost into the top 6 inches of soil to improve the nutrient value and drainage of the area.

2 . Plant the fava bean seeds 2 inches deep. Space the plants 5 inches apart in the row and leave an 18- to 24-inch space between rows.

3 . Water the bed until the top 6 inches of soil is moist. Water once weekly or as needed to maintain the moisture in the top 6 inches of soil.

4 . Thin the plants once they germinate, usually within one week of sowing. Remove the excess plants so that the fava beans are spaced approximately 8 inches apart in the row.

5 . Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the base of the plants once they are 8 inches tall. The mulch helps retain soil moisture and also prevents damage from temperature fluctuations.

6 . Harvest the beans when the pods are full and swollen with the fresh seeds inside, but still green and tender. Fava beans are usually ready for harvest within four months of planting.

Fava beans require a Rhizobium bacteria inoculate in order to create nitrogen. Purchase seeds that have been pretreated with the inoculate.


All beans, except cool-weather fava beans, are sensitive to frost and cold soil temperatures. Plant your main crop when the soil is warm and all danger of frost is past. Rotate the location of your bean crops from year to year to discourage disease.


Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.

Plant bush beans for an early harvest. Plant seeds 2 to 4 inches apart and 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep. Plant extra seeds, then thin plants to the spacing recommended on the seed packet. Pole (climbing) beans are slower to mature, but they have a longer harvest period. Set up trellises or tepees before planting. Plant seeds 2 to 4 inches apart and 1 to 1-1/2 inches deep.

Mulch bean plants to help retain moisture. Water plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Contact your local county extension office for controls of common bean pests, such as Mexican bean beetles and Japanese beetles.

Snap beans: Pods should be firm and crisp at harvest; the seeds inside should be undeveloped or very small. Hold stem with one hand and pod with the other to avoid pulling off branches that will produce later pickings. Pick all pods to keep plants productive.

Shell beans: Pick these varieties when the pods change color and the beans inside are fully formed but not dried out. Seeds should be plump, firm, and young. Quality declines if you leave them on the plant too long. They can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days before cooking if necessary.

Dried beans: Let the pods get as dry as possible in the garden. Before cold weather hits or when plants have turned brown and lost most of their leaves, pick all the dry pods (or pull the plants up if more drying time is needed) and store. When thoroughly dry, the pods will split readily, making seeds easy to remove. Store dry beans in tight-lidded jars or cans in a dry, cool place.

Companion plants. Potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory. Do not plant broad beans with onions or garlic.

Care. Keep planting beds weed free; cultivate shallowly to avoid disturbing roots.

Container growing. Beans can be grown in containers, but a good crop will take more space than most containers can provide.

Pests. Beans can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers and mites. Spray aphids away with a blast from the hose. Bean beetles and flea beetles can be controlled with sticky traps. Exclude leafhoppers with horticultural fleece or spray with insecticidal soap. and mites can be controlled. Spray mites with insecticidal soap.

Small white and yellow moths are adult cabbage worms which shelter in beans. They will not harm beans.

Diseases. Beans are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. Cut down the incidence of disease by planting disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean. Avoid handling the plants when they are wet. Remove and destroy infected plants so they can not spread disease to healthy plants. Soil-borne diseases can be reduced by changing the location of bean crops each year.

All leguminous nitrogen fixing crops depend on a naturally occurring bacteria in the soil for fixing nitrogen. Once any sort of bean or pea is grown, the bacteria stays in the ground for a very long time, and it is not an issue. If it has been a very long time since a nitrogen fixing plant has been grown in a particular spot, the bacteria will eventually establish itself there after planting something like fava beans, but it will take a long time. In the meantime the fava beans will grow very slowly and will be weak. Commercial inoculants can be purchased to treat the seeds at the time of planting. These can be a considerable help in establishing this bacteria.

Type: Vegetable.
Zones: USDA 3 - 11.
Height: A rigid, erect plant 0.5-1.8 m tall, with stout stems (no support needed) with a square cross-section.
Spread: About 1- 3 feet wide.
Flowers: 1 - 2.5 cm long, with five petals, the standard petal white, the wing petals white with a black spot (true black), and the keel petals white. Some crimson flowered broad beans also exist, which were recently saved from extinction.
Blooming Time: Spring through Fall.
Fruit: The fruit of the garden species is a broad leathery pod, green maturing to blackish-brown, with a densely downy surface, the modern cultivars developed for food use have pods 15–25 cm long and 2–3 cm thick. Each pod contains 3 - 15 beans; round to oval, usually flattened and up to 20–25 mm long, 15 mm broad and 5–10 mm thick in food cultivars. Leaves: Grey-Green in color, 10–25 cm long, pinnate with 2-7 leaflets, and of a distinct glaucous; unlike most other vetches, the leaves do not have tendrils for climbing over other vegetation.
Elevation: 0 - 10,800 feet.
Light: Sun.
Habitat: Rich well-drained, deep sandy loam soil with a 6.0 - 6.8 pH.
Native: Afghanistan and the Himalayan foothills.
Miscellaneous: Photos Taken June 13, 2010 In Yarnell, Arizona. Hardy Temp: 15°F.

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