This month’s seed kit features Broad Windsor Fava Beans. To support our environment, seed kits are now available digitally. Scan the QR codes on the seed packets to download planting logs, delicious recipes, fun craft ideas, and coloring pages.
Broad Windsor Fava Beans (Vicia faba)
The Windsor fava bean produces a large bean with a mild, nutty flavor. In addition to being an excellent vegetable crop, it also has lovely white and black flowers on nearly 4-foot-tall stems, making it pretty enough to be used in flowerbeds as well as in the vegetable garden.
Culture: Plant seeds 1 – 2 inches deep, spaced 6 inches apart, in rows 2–3 feet apart. Fava bean plants may require support as they grow, place stakes while the plants are young to avoid disturbing the roots. Sow seeds in a space where plants will receive full sun or partial sun throughout the day. Fava beans can grow in a variety of soil compositions, but well-drained, loose silt-loam soil is ideal. Fava beans will grow best in soil with a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 9.0. The ideal soil temperature is between 60 - 65°F, but Fava beans can tolerate soil temperatures as low as 40°F. Fava seeds will germinate in 7-14 days.
Water: Fava beans require about 1 inch of water per week. Once the plant flowers and pods begin to develop, make sure to keep the soil moist but not saturated.
Harvest: Fava beans will reach maturity in 80–90 days (if sown in Spring) or up to 220 days to reach maturity (if sown in the Fall). Fava beans may be harvested at varying stages of growth for different uses. Young fava bean pods are edible and may be harvested for raw consumption. To harvest mature beans, wait for pods to plump and turn glossy. Beans should be visibly bulging within the pod. Pods may also be left to dry on the plant. Dry fava beans may be stored longer and can be sown the following year for new plants.
Fava beans have a waxy coating that should be removed before use. Open pods to extract and clean beans then blanch beans in boiling water for 30 seconds. Submerge beans into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. The outer coating should peel away easily.
More About Broad Windsor Fava Beans
The humble fava bean has fed the world’s population for millennia, with evidence of cultivation dating back 10,000 years to the Galilee region of Israel. Also known as the broad bean, the fava is a favorite in Europe and is an excellent source of protein and dietary fiber.
The fava bean plant also feeds and enriches the soil and is frequently grown as a cover crop (any crop grown to cover and protect the soil, and which may be incorporated into the soil for enrichment). Fava bean roots tend to be thick and long, protecting the soil from erosion and improving the soil structure. The plant itself is well-known for being able to fix nitrogen in the soil as it grows and after its use as an ornamental, cover, or bean crop is complete. For maximum benefit to your garden, leave the roots in place when clearing the bed, then chop the remainder of the plant and use it as a mulch.
Fava Bean Hummus
Serves: 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 c. dried or 2 c. fresh fava beans
- 2 tbsp. Tahini
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. cold water
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp. cumin ground
- Kosher salt to taste
- If using dried fava beans: Soak dried fava beans in cold water overnight (8-12 hours). Drain and peel off the skin.
- If using fresh fava beans: Shell the beans. In a pot of boiling water with salt, blanch the beans for 1 minute. Place beans in an ice bath and cool, remove the outer skin.
- Place fava beans in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 25 – 30 minutes.
- Drain the fava beans and cool.
- In a food processor, place fava beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic cloves, extra virgin olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and water. Process to a thick paste. Add additional water and process until smooth.
- Serve with crackers, pita, or spread on a sandwich or a wrap.
- The fava bean hummus dip can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Craft: Thyme & Lemon All-purpose Cleaner
- One Lemon
- A handful of fresh Thyme
- Vodka or clear food-grade alcohol
- White vinegar
- One glass pint jar with a lid
- Slice the lemon into thin rounds. Place the lemon and thyme into a glass pint jar.
- Pour in vodka/food-grade alcohol until the thyme and lemon slices are just covered. Seal the lid. Let the mixture steep in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.
- After 2 weeks, strain the mixture into a spray bottle. Top off the mixture with white vinegar.
This cleaner can be used on most surfaces, including your kitchen countertops since this spray is completely natural!