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Fava beans, fava beans, fava beans!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The last few weeks have been terrific for the fava bean harvest in our backyard garden.  Our two small fava bean patches are now mature and are pumping out delicious beans for our family to enjoy.  One of the fava patches covers a very densely planted 15 ft2 and the other takes up about 10 ft2, although it is hard to measure because the plants in the second patch are interspersed with young tomato plants, leeks, and herbs.  The first patch is planted in a "U" shape so that it forms a "fava bean forest" for my children and their friends to play in as it grows.  Originally planted from seed the first week of November, the plants have now grown to about 6' tall, allowing the walls of the "forest" to tower above the children as they enter the patch to pick the beans.


My children and their friends walk through the fava patch and pick the bean pods off the plants, often devouring whole young pods on the spot, or, in more patient moments, splitting the large pods to reveal the plump green beans inside--and then eating them on the spot!  Few of the beans ever make it upstairs to our kitchen, except on days with particularly large harvests.  Last weekend, we picked about 75 fava bean pods to shell and cook for dinner.  This weekend, the harvest was amazing and we gathered close to 200 pods for the kitchen.  I would say that 50 or so disappeared on their way to the kitchen, and went directly into two small bellies!  The remainder was cooked two ways:  shelled and sauteed with butter to be served as a side dish, and made into a delicious fava bean risotto by my talented husband. 


This week, the garden also yielded its first yellow raspberry of the season, which was split four ways so the whole family could enjoy it!  It was a tiny taste, but quite delicious.  Our small collection of potted strawberry plants yielded a tasty little snack of about 10 juicy strawberries.  Our two Meyer lemon trees, covered with ripe lemons, were relieved of about 5-6 lemons.  Our plentiful sorrel plants were harvested by the children as lemony garden snacks, along with several handfuls of borage flowers, salad brunette, and other herbs.


Garden growth report:  The passion vines have started to flower recently.  I'm trying to hand pollinate them to encourage fruit production.  I also just put basil seedlings in the ground and started to clear out one of the fava bean patches to give the adjacent tomato plants and apple trees more space and sunlight.


All opinions expressed are my own.
Copyright 2007 Sharon Danks