When I grew up in Scotland, helping my mum in the garden, Fava beans (we called them Broad beans) were a hardy, reliable veggie, that we’d plant in the autumn, hoping they’d survive winter and be ready to harvest in late spring before anything else had a ghost of a chance. In my 25 years in SoCal I’ve tried to grow Favas on the same schedule, but it wasn’t until I was lucky enough to get a plot in the new Burbank Community Garden that I really succeeded. It was frustrating that our plots first became workable at end of the summer growing season in 2022, but I realized it might be perfect timing for starting Favas. In spring of 2023 I was rewarded with a bumper crop! 

So I’m hoping for a repeat performance this year. In November 2023 I planted two regimentally straight rows of beans across one end of my plot. Once the seeds sprouted the raccoons – or whatever animals come looking for fig beetle grubs in the night – evidently didn’t approve of the straight lines and kept “re-arranging them.”

I tenderly re-planted several seedlings, tucking them back into the soil, and even replaced a couple of seeds that had looked like they’d been munched. As January turned into February my unseen visitors must have decided the plants were too big to push around and moved on to more open ground.

Now, at the end of February, the plants are flowering and I can even see the tiniest beginnings of a bean pod or two!

In a few weeks the pods will grow to 7 or 8 inches long, bulging with the yummy pale green beans. And an added bonus is that as they grow, the plants, like lots of beans, put nitrogen back into the soil, prepping it for next season’s stars – the tomatoes!

Frankie Glass
Feb 23, 2024