Earlier this week, I looked at the 7 day weather forecast and saw that temperatures were forecast to return to seasonal averages. So, I decided to try a new way (at least for me) to plant some fava beans and sugar snap peas. I usually just dampen my peas and beans, inoculate the with rhizobia bacteria to allow the plants to set nitrogen nodules in the soil and plant them at the appropriate depth. My germination using this method has always been pretty poor and in a number of years, both the favas and peas collapse as the temperature exceeds 75 degrees.
This year I decided to try something new by pre sprouting both the peas and beans. I soaked them in water for 24 hours, drained them and placed them in a plastic bag on a very moist paper towel. Then, I sat back and waited for the seeds to swell and send out their embryonic roots. I started the process Sunday afternoon and today (Thursday) I saw the embryonic roots on the favas start to emerge.
The peas weren’t quite at the same stage, but I could see that their roots were about to emerge.
So, out came the hoes and rake and I planted a 35 foot row of peas and 70 feet of fava beans. The favas were planted about an inch to inch and a half deep, in a V trench made with my Warren hoe. The peas went into a flat bottom trench an inch deep made with a regular hoe. Once the peas break the ground, I will set up my 7 foot pea trellis for the sugar snap peas to climb.
Fava beans end up being a 18 inch to 2 foot plant which may require support. They have a fairly long days to maturity which makes them difficult to grow in the spring. Some seed companies recommend pinching the tops out of the plant once they start to bloom. This is suppose to encourage an earlier crop. After the spring crop is harvested, supposedly, you can cut the plant back to several inches above ground, regrow the plant and get a fall harvest. Stay tuned for updates.