Saturday, June 7, 2008

Favapalooza


I read last fall that planting cover crops - fava beans, bell beans, peas, vetch (whatever that is) and such - enriches your soil naturally. As I planned to dramatically expand my veggie growing possibilities, I dove in. We ripped up our sidewalk strip and planted a cover crop mixture, which bloomed beautiful and lush in the spring and housed a toad all winter long. In my back yard, I planted a passel of fava beans, which strode determinedly through muddy, clay soil and reached for the watery winter sun through January and February. As the weather warms and the buds pop out, however, you are supposed to cut your cover crop back to the ground - when about 50% of the flowers are in bloom. That means that all that growing won't yield any beans or peas and just a smattering of delicate purple, white and black blossoms.

I dutifully trimmed back my front yard cover crop and gradually replaced it with squash and beans. Ever the rebel, though, I let the fava beans in my back yard go, sprawling across strawberries and penstemon. I haven't been the most successful of vegetable gardeners and, darn it, I wanted some sort of reward. I got it this month when I went to check on the potatoes' progress. Behind the stretching potato plants, fuzzy green pods stood erect like little . . . well, little soldiers, pointing out from the fava bean bushes.

We harvested our bean pods, gently twisting them off and tossing them into my thrift store find - a basket built for backyard harvests. This week, we've enjoyed both fava bean crostini with locally baked baguettes and local wine and mashed, homegrown Yukon golds (oh yeah, baby! my first potatoes ever) and fava beans, sauteed in their pods in local olive oil and salt.


With local eating this easy, my One Local Summer will be one Favapalooza.

17 comments:

Melissa said...

the crostini looks awesome! the thing that scares me away from fava beans generally is how labor intensive they are to cook...but if you left them in the pods, I guess that'd make it a lot easier.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Oooh, cool! Cover crops!

Just stick with the Chianti and skip the liver.

innercitygarden said...

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, my broad beans (fava beans, aren't we all learning a lot about different names for plants around the world?) will do the same thing.

Last year they barely sprouted, this year I have them all over the garden.

arduous said...

Oh geez, now I'm STARVING. Do you have to make mouth-watering meals all the time, GB?! Meanwhile, it's bread and cheese for dinner for me. Though the cheese is a local goat brie and it is diving. But still.

Crunchy Chicken said...

arduous - diving goats? Are those like fainting goats?

arduous said...

AUGH, divine not diving.

But now I am diving for more goat brie. Baaaaaa!

Green Bean said...

Melissa: You can leave the more tender favas in their pods but mature ones do need to be shelled. My youngest loves to help and, actually, it's pretty relaxing to zone out and shell beans.

Chickie: Pass the Chianti, why don't ya?

ICG: That's right. One of my closest friends is from your neck of the woods (Melbourne to be exact) and she calls them that. I hope yours sprout this year!

Arduous: I do, in fact, Arduous! I do. And if you'd get your (apparently attractive) butt up here, I'd serve your starving, single, over-worked self some. Fainting goats and all!

martin said...

Hi Green Bean, I'm just about to start planting my garden for edibles, your blog is a real inspiration. Thanks!

Martin

eco 'burban mom said...

Of course, my one local summer is eggs and toast and yours is an elegant feast! Looks amazing, yum, yum!! You have one lucky family!

Green Bean said...

Martin: I'm so happy! Best of luck with your garden this year. :)

EB: Umm, I'm kind of cheating because I live in California. It's just a tad easier to find local produce here than in Michigan. That said, I predict you'll be kicking my booty by July.

Jennifer said...

Mm... I got local tomatoes from a greenhouse... give us a month, and we'll be rolling int it! The lettuces are barely up around here.:)

I've never thought of planting fava beans... I'lll have to look them up!

CindyW said...

Fava bean crostini. Looks awesome. Can arduous and I skip the restaurant and come to your home for a proper breakfast?

pink dogwood said...

warning readers: do not click on the mashed potato picture to enlarge it when you are hungry - you might actually drool on the keyboard :)

Favapalooza - love that word

spelled with a K said...

Glad I'm not the only one who thinks of liver and chianti when favas are mentioned. And what a coinkidink, yukons are my first spud crop ever too! Those potatoes do look awesome!

BerryBird said...

Local olive oil? Wow. That seriously expands local eating options. The yukons with favas look amazing!

rhonda jean said...

We call them broad beans here and I've used them as a green manure too. They do a great job enriching the soil with nitrogen and organic matter. It really is tempting to harvest some beans, isn't it. It doesn't matter, your soil will still get the benefits of growing them. Good luck with your garden. The crostini look delicious.

kale for sale said...

Big congrats on the potato harvest and yes, the fava beans too. I bought fava beans from Iacopi's on Sunday that were pristine. I always thought they were naturally kind of black on the shell and ugly but apparently not. Now I'll have to decide if I want to bury them in the garden or eat them?

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