How to plant fava beans

Vicia faba

The fava or Italian fava can grow from 30 cm to more than 1.5 m in height, depending on the cultivar. Its pods are up to 2.5 cm in diameter and 7 to 15 cm long.


The broad bean is a cold climate plant, resisting well to temperatures close to 0 ° C and light frosts (some cultivars resist up to temperatures of -10 ° C). Ideally, the temperature should not exceed much around 15 ° C during the plant’s growing cycle. However, there are a few modern cultivars that tolerate higher temperatures.


The bean needs high light, with direct sunlight for at least a few hours a day.


Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil and rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH is between 6.0 and 6.8. This plant forms a symbiotic association with bacteria known as rhizobia or rhizobium, capable of fixing the nitrogen in the air in the soil such as ammonia or nitrate, providing the necessary nitrogen for the plant and further enriching the soil with this element.

The broad bean is one of the few cultivated plants that tolerate high soil salinity.


Irrigate in order to keep the soil moist, without being soaked.


Sow the seeds directly at the final location, at a depth of 3 to 5 cm, when the soil has a temperature of at least 5 ° C. The recommended spacing depends on the cultivar and cultivation conditions, ranging from 45 cm between rows and 23 cm between plants, to 1 m between rows and 50 cm between plants.


There are high and low bean cultivars. Tall cultivars require staking, and are generally kept upright in groups of plants by threads or strings that are tied to sticks that are vertical. Low-sized cultivars can be left unattended, but branches and small dry branches, well forked, can be placed to provide some support for the plants, in order to keep the pods up so they are not in contact with the soil. Small cultivars can be grown easily in large pots and planters.

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources.

When the plant is in full bloom, it is an option to cut the tips of the branches to concentrate the plant’s energy in the development of the pods. This also prevents the attack of some insects, which initiate the attack by the youngest and most tender parts of the plants.


The harvesting of the pods begins 85 to 240 days after sowing, varying according to the season of the year in which the broad bean is planted, the climate of the region and the planted cultivar.

Although the seeds are more appreciated, the tender pods and the tips of the branches can also be cooked and consumed. The pods are harvested when well developed, being plump, tender and firm. The old pods become fibrous quickly.

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