Avg seeds/pkt 13 giant beans
I love the earliest veggies like fava beans, which can germinate at 36°F and once up, may handle temps in the teens. You could try them the Italian way: pick the first pods, pop out the small, tender pale-green beans, and eat them drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and chased with small chunks of Pecorino Romano. Just a few weeks later the shelled fresh beans may need a minute in boiling water, or their outer layer removed, but they are still delicious with butter, salt and pepper. Thereafter, pods are allowed to dry on the bush and those large beans can be stored for Winter suppers of fava bean soup.
Favas will not set beans in warm weather so plant them 6–7 weeks before last frost, in full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Sow seeds 1-inch-deep and 8 inches apart, with 24 inches between rows. Germination may take 8–14 days. Plants can reach 4 feet and start to produce small pods for the earliest harvest within 65 days. After 85 days, 5-inch pods may be ready for shelling, blanching, and eating or freezing, and by 120 days, the large pods may be harvested. If they don’t feel crispy, finish drying them indoors for a week or more, and then shell a few beans for the hammer test: if they shatter they’re ready for dry storage.
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