Friday, March 26, 2010

FAVA BEANS

On the same day that I planted peas I also planted a row of fava beans.  My wife Catherine has been after me for years to grow fava's ever since we saw the movie "Silence of the Lambs".  There is a scene in the film
between the character played by Jodie Foster and Hannibal Lector in which Hannibal recalls eating the liver
of one of his victims with some fava beans and a good chianti.  In Europe, fava beans are quite popular.  Each bean
is rather large (about 1" in diameter) and flat, somewhat like a lima bean.  The beans come encased in a pod
lined with fuzz.  In addition, each bean is wrapped in it's own little protective skin.  The pods stick straight up on the plants and make for a rather unusual site in the garden.

Fava beans are susceptible to leaf blackening which is a virus spread by aphids.  Control the aphids and your
fava beans will be fine.  I use a product called Safer Insect Soap.  It is approved for use in organic farming.

OK, so how do they taste?  Fava beans are great side dish with just about any meat or fish. This flavorful bean needs just a saute with olive oil and garlic.
 Very simple, very tasty.  As I mentioned above, start your fava beans at the same time you plant
your peas.  It is great to have two legume choices so early in the season.  Follow the directions on the
seed packet.  Make sure to begin spraying for aphids as soon as the plants are 6" tall and continue to spray once a week until the end of the harvest.

All the best,
Greg

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