I love fava beans. Love them. Fresh much more so than dried.
So every year I plant them in my garden. Some years are better than others – but most of the time I get at least 20 lbs. of beans.
This year started off looking promising. In addition to the perennialized beans that come up year after year, I’d planted two other varieties that I’d purchased from Baker Creek Seed Company and things were growing well. I thought perhaps it was looking like a 50 lb. year.
Then, the weather turned dry. Dry for Southern California, which is very, very dry indeed.
The rats (they’re everywhere in the city – in the trees, in the hedges, in your crawl space. Don’t think you don’t have them because you do), understandably desperate for water, turned to my fava beans.
And destroyed them.
My total yield for the year? 12 lbs. I ate what I had and didn’t share (normally I can, dry, or give away as much as I keep) and was very, very disappointed indeed. I think there weren’t even enough beans left to seed for next year, so I’m going to have to start fresh in the winter.
At the same time, I planted scarlet runner beans. I’d never planted them before, and they went crazy in my garden. Because I didn’t trellis them properly (not enough room. The vines supposedly only grow to 6 feet, but mine are closer to 10), they’ve formed a sort of thicket (which is overtaking my garden – I’ve had to get the shears and cut back to save the life of an innocent tomato), and now the beans are getting ready to harvest.
I won’t get 50 lbs, but I’ll probably get 20.
These are the first of the beans. When I was reaching into the plant to grab the pods, I found a hummingbird nest – abandoned, as babies and mama have moved on, but still awesome.
I did have someone tell me that beans inhibit the growth of tomato plants, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The tomatoes that are near the bean thicket are growing really quickly and are super healthy.
I have two weeks of work starting the 15th. It’s all the way across town, but it’s work and I’m incredibly grateful for it.