Harvesting fava beans (broad beans)
Can you really get more than one harvest from your fava plants? The answer is yes, but the question is if you should. This is my opinion on how to go about harvesting fava beans.
One of my Facebook followers asked me about harvesting fava beans (or broad beans) and I thought I would write a bit about this subject here. The question was about whether it's possible to get more than one harvest from your plant.
You can! But I don't recommend it. Here's why:
Read more: Growing fava beans early in the season
Harvesting more than once
I cut the plant after harvesting the first batch of beans, around 4 inches (1o centimeters) from the ground. After that, it's time to fertilize the plant. Make sure to give it some extra water in summer too. Put grass clippings, fertilizer or compost around the plant, which will start to grow again with time. And the new shoots on the plant will of course give you a new harvest later.
So what's the problem?
I have tried getting a second harvest from my fava plants twice in the past and my conclusion is that it's simply not worth the trouble. The second harvest is not as large, the plants and pods are a lot smaller too. It's simply too much trouble and not worth the space it takes to do it, in my opinion. You don't get as much food as with the first harvest, but at least I get more material I can use as green manure.
The best way to get enough fava beans you can harvest over time is to do several sowings. I will for example plant pre-seeded fava beans in April and sow new fava plants in the same spot. This will give me more than one harvest a few weeks apart. If you do a new sowing in June, you can expect your pods to be ready in the beginning of fall. This is a much better way to use the space, in my opinion.
Read more: Fava bean falafel
If you feel like trying to get more than one harvest from your fava plants, you absolutely should! Make sure to check out my other articles about fava beans here on the blog. If you want to connect with other gardeners, check out my group The kitchen garden – Worldwide.