I'm considering trying fava beans for the first time either this year or the next. My main concern is can they overwinter here (Ohio, U.S) or can they be fall planted? I'm planning on starting with a lot of genetic diversity either way, but would want to go all-out with favas if it happens that they can be fall-planted (we don't have as much in the garden in the fall). When do you folks in the northern U.S./Canada usually plant favas?
Also how far do you space the plants from each other?
Post by philagardener on May 18, 2014 21:03:47 GMT -5
I tried fall planting once a few years ago with Broad Windsor and Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto but lost them both over a (normal) winter in PA. Open bed, straw mulch. Perhaps there are more hardy varieties? Glad to hear from folks who have had better luck!
Post by flowerweaver on May 18, 2014 21:39:35 GMT -5
This is the first year out of four that I've been able to harvest favas and they were fall planted. But being so far south they had no trouble overwintering without cover while we had 2-3 consecutive days below freezing, and many nights also. They are Windsors and are now drying on the plants at around 240 days. Previously I planted in the spring but they all succumbed to powdery mildew and heat. Granted my 2014 crop is small and puny but I'm hoping they will be a bit more acclimated to my adverse conditions next year. I noticed those plants receiving some afternoon shade did much better. I would think your winters would be too harsh. I planted mine about six inches apart and they only got about 10-15 inches tall, but everything grows smaller in the desert. That they would grow here at all is amazing.
Drip irrigated gardening in the arid southwest on a beautiful pile of alluvial rocks where the hill country meets the desert. It's a food desert, too: a 3 hour round trip to the grocery store.
Post by Joseph Lofthouse on May 18, 2014 22:52:51 GMT -5
[Edited. I apologize for misreading the zone chart.]
USDA zone 8b is generally considered to be the limit for reliable overwintering of fava beans. The most cold hardy survive sometimes into zone 8a. Adaptive seeds says that many varieties of favas wither in Eugene Oregon which is USDA zone 8b, and that Ianto's return has been selected for winter hardiness there. I wouldn't expect them to survive in Ohio. I'd expect them to survive some years in Philadelphia but it would be hit and miss.
In USDA zone 4b I plant favas as soon as the snow melts in the spring. I prepare the soil the previous fall, so all I have to do it put on my mud boots and poke the seeds into the goop. If I am ever able to reliably harvest fava beans, and have ample seed, then I will start testing/selecting for winter hardiness. Might be colder here than their ability to survive. I might try other tricks like pulling them and overwintering stems in the garage. My grandmother, may she rest in peace, used to do that with geraniums. I bury kale, teosinte, and Swiss Chard in the ground for the winter. Perhaps that kind of strategy would work with favas. Two years in a row I have had potato tubers overwinter in the garden.
I plant favas -- and just about everything else -- 9 inches apart because that works great with my cultivating tools.
I've added to my list of things to do: "Pay attention to how favas grow in partial shade".
Post by philagardener on May 19, 2014 20:50:20 GMT -5
The best Fava harvest I ever managed was from plants that I started early indoors and transplanted out at 3-4 inches tall (too late for that this year but maybe a thought for next!)
Our winters lately have been like rolling the dice. Two years ago ("the winter that almost wasn't") by good luck I tried Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli - made it through in an open bed and gave me a beautiful spring crop. But not to be repeated (yet!)
My climate is on the limit for being able to winter over Fava which would be comparable to USDA zone 8a though they did survive one 5F -15C frost two winters ago only because they had a snow layer over them.
I'll be ordering my seed from Uprising Seed, Backyard Bean/Grain Project, and possibly Adaptive; both for spring planting and I'll also give fall planting a shot, maybe with some protective measures (and hopefully some good snow cover). I'll update you all on how this goes.
I find small seeded varieties tend to be tougher than the bigger seeded ones, so thay may be your best bet for overwintering. Apart from that I can't be much help; my problem has been winter waterlogging rather than very low temperatures. Is there any way of giving the young plants a bit of protection?
Post by petitvilaincanard on May 26, 2014 14:13:17 GMT -5
I'm not in us or canada,but in Europe there are colder zones to.
I just don't have a clu about climate zones Ican find it only for america,and anyway it doesn't mean a lot,because there can be huge differences between years.
An indication generally understandable can be the minimum temp that can be supported and the length of the period that very negative temperatures occur.
My experience is that min t° of about -5°C for a few days shouldn't be a problem for most varieties.But as is said,bad soil (compact,waterlogged and so) reduce greatly the number of survivors.
With t° of about-10°C for a couple of days,without good snowcover,most 'broad bean' varieties won't survive,or maybe at a very low rate.
For most 'pigeon bean'-varieties however,serious losses only will occur below -15°,depending the number of days exposed. As reference,I experienced about 0.5% survival of a few hundreds plants of mixed population with pigeon beans and crosses of broad beans and pigeon beans.The daily minima were between -10° and -15° C for two weeks.The broad beans had 0% survival in the same period. Resistance to below -20° is claimed somewhere for a variety of pigeon beans called 'cote d'or' of which I maybe will have a few seeds available.
The strategies can be 1)Create a mixed population of broad beans with a preference for varieties or grexes that claim some coldresistance(iantos return for exemple) and improve by natural selection.You need to have regularly temps around -10 to make good progress.
2)If your winters are so cold that you don't have survival of broad beans you have to start with pigeon beans and crosses between pigeon beansand broad beans.If you have obtained a crossed population with good resistance you can mix in more broad bean or crosses and select for 'broad bean' types untill you have a broad bean that resist to your winters.
For the moment I don't make any progress for coldresistance,the winters over here are mostly to mild.This winter I had only a few days of about -3°,no losses at all
But I'm willing to share with anyone with regular serious winters.
Southern France,500m elevation,stoney heavy clay,improving
Robert, thanks for the tip. We have an ample supply of composting straw coming from the barnyard, I could give the plants a heavy mulching of that before the cold really gets a chance to set in. I could also plant the favas on the south side of a building. I've seen rolls of sheet plastic at garage sales more than a few times, I could easily get some of that.
petitvilaincanard, thank you for your input.
I would be in USDA zone 5a. The winters here can vary; sometimes they are very cold with little snow, sometimes relatively mild with a lot of snow, etc. Last years winter was particularly bad, the lowest temperature was about -46 C* (this is with windchill, it was very windy). We also had a winter a few years ago that was barely cold enough to turn rain into snow. I am growing in a valley, which makes frost and cooler temperatures more of a problem. The soil here will hold moisture very well at times and drain a little bit too well at times, depends on the weather. The patch of ground on which I grow in compacted, temporarily.
I would be growing the favas on a smaller piece of land (if I'm lucky I might be able to use about half and acre, but this should be enough). I would really like to see a cold hardy favas developed that can stand the winters here.
I remember sending a pm to you earlier in the year a few months ago asking about your favas. Thanks for the offer to share your seed, I want to get things planned out more and see if I'll even be able to do this first.