Monday, May 9, 2011

Harvest Monday - May 9, 2011 and An Additional Update

Here's the highlights of the harvests for the last two weeks:

The largest single harvest of fava beans was this Saturday, I filled a basket with 33 pounds of them and only stopped because the basket was full, and it was getting cold and foggy, and I was tired. Sunday I harvested an additional 15 pounds. The main entertainment for Sunday evening was peeling all those beans (lubricated with a couple of glasses of good wine). We netted a little over 9 pounds of peeled beans from those 48 pounds of pods. Most of the beans will be frozen but I have my eye on a recipe for deep fried artichoke bottoms topped with smashed favas from Yotam Ottolenghi's book Plenty (he has a nearly identical recipe on the Guardian website). And my husband has picked out a soup recipe from Saveur magazine made with fresh favas, leeks, garlic, potatoes, and more good stuff.

I harvested the first sugar snap peas from the few plants that I planted at the start of the year. A six week head start over the main planting of the same variety of snap peas didn't net much of a head start on the the harvests, the first peas from the main planting will be ready in a few days. Now I know that such a head start doesn't really provide much of a benefit so I probably won't bother with extra-early peas again.

This is the basketful of pea shoots that I harvested from the plants shown in my previous post. I had to trim off some of the tough bottom stems but that still left enough to make a nice salad for two that I topped with fava beans sauteed with green garlic and some pan roasted very fresh Monterey Bay wild salmon.

Here's the harvest totals for the last two weeks:

Piracicaba broccoli - 9.5 oz.
Fava beans - 67 lb., 13 oz.
Green Garlic - 1 lb., 1 oz.
Super Sugar Snap peas - 11 oz.
Snow Pea Shoots - 13.2 oz.

The total harvests for the past two weeks were - 71 lb.
The harvests for the year so far total - 114 lb., 3 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

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And now for a little more update about the garden.

Here's the fava bed. This year I planted one entire bed with favas. The bed is about 25 X 5 feet and I planted 4 rows of beans spaced 18 inches apart so that about 60 plants, actually more like 50 plants accounting for beans that didn't germinate and losses to a gopher. One side of the bed is planted with Extra Precoce Violetto and the other with Extra Precoce Bianco beans, the seeds for which came from

A closeup of a bunch of beans that are ready to harvest. I really like both of these varieties of favas, they are extra early as their name states, they produce plants with multiple stems that don't get too tall although they do tend to flop over when the beans get heavy or in wet and windy weather. Last year it seemed that the purple seeded (when dry) beans were a bit earlier than the white seeded ones but this year I don't detect any difference.

Both varieties produce nice long beans each containing about 5 to 7 seeds, as you can see below. The pods are easier to shuck than the short tight pods of the minor types of favas and the beans are delicious, either roasted in the pod or shelled and peeled (or not peeled as you may prefer).

I slipped a few early Treviso type raddichio plants into one corner of the fava bed that the gophers oh so conveniently cleared for me (yeah...). This is just an experiment to see how well they might do as a spring crop, the best time to sow them is late summer so that they mature in the fall and early winter since cold weather is supposed to produce the reddest color. They are starting to produce loose heads now so I'm hoping to get something decent for my efforts.

Now I've got to get out to the garden before the day slips away from me. More updates to come...


  1. That is a lot of fava beans and a lot of work to shuck them all. I hope for a more modest harvest of favas, but I've never had them before so don't know what to expect at all.

  2. I've never had Fava beans, they looked so large I didn't think they would ever get done ...You make them sound so delicious, probably because you know what to do with them :o)

  3. That's an amazing broad bean crop! I love them, but we don't have nearly as many as this...we're still eating them ever day at the moment, though. I've found Sevilla very good for long pods with lots of beans in them.

  4. holy jeeze fava beans!!! I've never had them, but I've read a lot about them recently. Perhaps next year I will try them out. Great harvest!

  5. Michelle,
    That is a lot of fava beans! Our favas have been flowering for over two weeks, the beans are finally setting on. We should be eating peas in a few days also. Been snacking on early peas for days. Enjoyed your harvest!

  6. I really must begin growing fava beans. I enjoy eating them but have never actually grown them (go figure?!). I think I was under the impression you had to devote a considerable amount of garden space to get a sufficient harvest to be worth while - and my garden bed real estate is pretty valuable to me... but based on the output you got from that sized bed... I could use a more modest sized bed and get perfectly good results from a yeild perspective. Thanks for sharing your beautiful harvest and garden. Inspiring as always!

  7. I have always wanted to try them, but I've never found them around here. Looks great, and so far I haven't met a bean I didn't like! LOL.


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