Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fava Beans and English Podded Peas

      The nice thing about having a blog site is that it so easily allows me to mix photos and text to keep track of my own gardening progress.  So next year I will be able to go back to today's blog and see that I could probably have planted fava beans and peas a bit earlier.  Fava beans are not your usual bush bean, and can take quite a bit of cold.  I am still learning about favas, including the need to seek out great recipes.  Favas are also known as broad beans.

Fava Bean Starts,  3/21/2012


   The plot size at the park is 20 ft by 40 feet.  Gardens are laid out in two plot parcels, so there is a path on three sides of my plot, while the left border abuts my neighbor's garden.  He tills his garden, but can't get right next to my permanent stakes.  Thus a weedy strip grows between the gardens, which means that the weeds ultimately send raiding parties into my plot.  So about a week ago, I dug out the weeds, and mounded up the border with mushroom soil.  And since I have very little open space in which to plant, this seemed the perfect place to plant the fava bean starts.

      I do not always follow the companion planting theory, but I read repeatedly that peas and beans DO NOT LIKE growing with the members of the allium family such as onions and garlic.  That tenet I do respect, so it limits where I can put peas and beans in this plot since there are so many onions and garlic.  This picture shows the cleaned up border area, with the fava beans planted at the top part of the bed, away from the garlic row at the bottom.  While digging out the weeds, I came upon many nice grass clumps.  They were headed for the compost pile, but I put them in the truck instead.  They will be used to patch some bare areas in the lawn at home.  Wish I had many more clumps.

      Here you can see the beans a little more clearly.  They are planted directly in the mushroom soil, so I hope that will not be a problem.  The fava bean plants get to be a bush, easily two to three feet high.  The aphids certainly like fava foliage and stems, but don't seem to be a big problem, as the volunteer ladybugs soon find the bed a great place to find tasty tidbits.

      Ah, another spot not close to onions.  This bed is for the english podded peas, name unknown as I had not labeled the bag of bulk seeds.  Years ago I had sworn off growing podded peas, as they take a lot of space to get a worthwhile harvest.  But I planted some two years ago to use up some seed, and they were sooo delicious when eaten raw like peanuts, that I was a convert.  I will still plant some snap peas and snow peas, but the podded peas are worth some space.

English Podded Peas,  3/21/2012
      In this picture, you can see the peas on the bed.  I tried to drop two peas at about five inch spacing.  Then I went along with a long pole to push them into the bed, thus not having to bend over or plant from a kneeling position.  I am sure the peas didn't care that I avoided a sore back.  Hope they don't mind getting started in the straight mushroom soil top dressing.
      These last two pictures were taken yesterday just for archive purposes:

      The plants above are Tango Lettuce that overwintered without any protection.  Where they were crowded, I dug out a plant or two and replanted them with more leg room.  Yep, then added more mushroom soil as a side dressing.

      This is a shot of one of the cold frames showing lettuce and tatsoi.  Those few empty spots were filled in yesterday with new lettuce starts.  And mushroom soil for good measure.


  1. The tango lettuce is interesting. How is the flavor like? That is so neat you have a cold frame!

  2. Hi BCG, the Tango Lettuce tastes much like other lettuces, pretty bland when compared to the other greens I raise. Yet its color, form, and cold hardiness are outstanding. It is a beautiful, crinkly lettuce. If you click on the "Labels" to the right for "Cold Frames", you will see much more than "A" cold frame. They are so easy and productive, I will probably build more.

  3. Do you have to travel far for your garden? I think I am spoiled,having mine right here at home! That mushroom soil is like gold! The only thing I have learned, is that when using it as mulch, make sure it's really, really thick, because if not, it just fertilizes the weeds! :) Your garden looks great!

  4. Alica, the one garden is in the back yard, and luckily for me the park is probably less than two miles away. And it is lucky as there are only a very few community gardens in the entire county. The social exchange amongst fellow garden nuts at the park would be reason enough to have a plot even if I didn't love the full sun the plot receives.