How to Grow Fava Beans {Start to Finish}

packet of fava beans

Yesterday I planted 2 packets of Windsor Fava Beans in front of the chicken coop area.

In a week or so when the beans start to pop through the soil I’ll set out the Swiss chard and kale plants in front of the fava. Fava bean plants can get as high as 4 feet tall, so I think the fava bean, kale and Swiss chard combo will look pretty cool once everything is at the peak of its growing season.

I haven’t grown fava beans in ages, so I’m pretty excited about growing them this year. Now that we have a boatload more garden space carved out in the backyard I’ll be able to try all sorts of new veggies. I’m excited!

If you have never grown fava beans before, here is how to do it:

fava beans

Brief description: Fava Beans are also known as Broad Beans, Field Beans or Windsor Beans.  The beans are sweet, sized like a lima bean, and best when harvested and grown in early spring.

Where to Plant Fava Beans:  Fava Beans are a cool season plant.  They can be planted in garden beds, raised beds and containers.

soak fava beans before planting

Planting Seeds:   Seeds must be soaked for 12-24 hours before sowing.  Then sow seeds 1″ deep.  When seedlings are 1″ tall, thin to 1 bean every 4″-6″.

Growing Tips:  Plant in a full sun area.  Plants do best when temperatures do not get above 60-65 degrees.  Fava Beans do not need fertilizing, so long as they are planted in quality soil.  They like well drained soil and should be watered just before the soil completely dries out.  Do not over water, though.

fava beans
{photo credit}

How to Harvest:   Fava Beans have different harvest times depending on how you plant on using them.  When harvested young, the entire pod can be eaten.  In the middle, they are best shelled and cooked, and finally, you can wait until the shell turns hard and brown  to store the beans dry.  To harvest, pick as you would a snap bean.

I think I’m going to do a little of both this year, eat some fresh, and also dry some beans to use later this winter in soups.

regional planting guides

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!


Here are a few Fava Bean recipes to try:

Arugala and fava beans Crostini
Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini

grilled rainbow chard with fava beans and oregano
Grilled Rainbow Chard with Fava Beans and Oregano

Fact:  Did you know that there is a small population with a genetic condition called Favism?  People who have the conditions should not consume Fava Beans.  Who knew?!

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  1. says

    Hi Mavis or anyone really,

    I know with your massive growing goals you are probably not worried about how many plants you start, but have you run across any good guides on determining how many bean plants (in general) a person should start? It’s just me and my husband and I’d like to be able to have some fresh and some to store but I can’t seem to find any guides on a good average number of plants – I see notes about “heavy producer” but that only helps if you have some reference as to how much a plant normally produces.

  2. Susan Reid says

    I grow broad beans in blocks of 4 x 4 plants, supported by 4 stakes and twine. Otherwise the plants bend over and break in the wind. I grew an heirloom variety this year that had pretty crimson flowers instead of the normal white.

  3. says

    My dad grew fava beans! The first conversation that my dad had with my friend, who later became my husband, was about fava beans. So I guess he passed the test, because they are still speaking about beans- now it’s garbanzo beans. I’d rather have those than favas, sorry.

  4. Douglas Smith says

    Do you plant your fava beans in early spring for a summer harvest, or in fall, and overwinter for a spring harvest?

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