Monday, June 2, 2008


It seemed that for the longest time we were admiring the flowers on our fava plants. Then one day we looked and where the flowers had been, pods were growing. Now the pods are swelling and seem to be getting longer every day. They are already the size of overstuffed green beans--about five inches long--but they aren't even close to harvesting. No, these pods will get much, much bigger before they are through.

I am totally enamored of our favas. They don't get much of a mention in the vegetable literature, but they are quite a plant. The growth is incredibly vigorous, producing plants upwards of 36 inches tall with a profusion of pointy, grayish-green leaves. The mature plants have a pleasingly complex, architectural quality that makes them a standout in the garden.

Favas don't like the heat. I planted an entire seed pack--50 seeds--in a small patch on March 4. I suppose I could have planted them earlier. I worry that as temperatures climb into the 80s here in the District of Columbia the plants will poop out on me. But so far they are soldiering on with no sign of stress or disease. And the production of fruit is impressive--there are pods everywhere you look.

This is what the baby favas look like this morning. They have a pillowy nest inside their pods. As they mature, they will develop a tough casing around the fruit. At this stage, they can be eaten, but I don't recommend it. The little ones don't have the sweetness of mature favas and leave and astringent bitterness on the tongue.

Favas are so easy to grow and so productive. If you have trouble growing peas in our area, try favas.


WeekendFarmer said...

Falafel anyone : ) ?

Jeena said...

Great advise thanks. I bet your meals are amazing with all these delicious home grown veggies.

Christa said...

Oh, I'm envious of your favas! I didn't get my seeds in the ground in time this spring.

Do you also plant them in the fall?

David Hall said...

Every time I read about favas I picture Hannibal Lector. I love them and wish I could grow some myself. Great stuff.


The Baklava Queen said...

Reading all your posts on favas this spring has given me excellent information and advice on what to look for with my own favas. Mine are just now blooming, so I'm looking forward to watching the pods develop... and, eventually, to try some of your recipes. Thanks, Ed!

Ed Bruske said...

WF, we love falafal. In fact, there's a falafal joint down the street from us that's always packed.

Christa, we could have planted these favas earlier. The pods are getting very large now, but the test will be this horrible heat wave that's now upon us. A fall crop is a great suggestion.

David, I have Anthony Hopkins stuck in my head too. But I have yet to try the favas with liver and chianti. Maybe now's the time!

Jennifer, this was the original purpose of the blog--to create a journal I can refer to later. But the favas hold a special fascination.