Growing Broad Beans, also Fava bean

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25 Aug 12 Andy (Australia - temperate climate)
My broad beans have plenty of flowers - but are not setting any seed - so no beans. Any ideas? Thanks Andy
05 Sep 12 Richard (Australia - temperate climate)
According to 'Organic Gardening' by Peter Bennett, this is a standard problem caused by sowing too early. They will flower profusely despite cold weather, but the flowers won't set pods until the cold is over. (He mentions frosts, but I don't think this issue is limited to actual frosts. I get the same in Perth including this year when I thought I was planting a bit early but went ahead amyway, and we've had little or no frost this season (where I live). As long as you weren't ever so early, you'll probably be OK, with pods setting and growing fast as soon as the weather warms. The growing tips should be pinched out when the pods start setting, as all they'll do otherwise is attract blackfly. Lightly boiled or steamed, they make a 'spinach' quite different from any other veg. I love them, but (like broad beans themselves) they're not everyone's cup of tea. One way to find out!
03 May 21 Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
I am having this problem (flowers not pods), this year. I did plant in a different location and I think my issue is not enough sunlight for the beans to set pods; additionally I planted tightly as this is a new garden bed and I was using the favas to condition the soil as much as I was using them for bean production. My research and minimal experience with favas tells me that any of the following might cause the plants not to set pods: 1. Less than a half dozen hours of direct sunlight per day (also planting too tightly causes less sunlight per plant) 2. Not enough water; when the plants flower they need lots of water to set pods 3. Temperatures; too hot or too cold and no beans Despite the criteria, I have found fava beans very easy to grow; growing in soil where nothing else can manage and still getting a decent amount of pods per plant. Water is not an issue in my location, and temps are pretty much ideal for favas (almost all year round). Sunlight is the biggest issue for me as I live in a area with lots of large trees and winters here are mild but overcast. Early spring tends to be fairly overcast as well, and despite still getting 12 hours of daytime in September (fall for this area) the sunlight is not intense enough to get the beans to set pods. That is to say; if I plant at the correct time (based on daylight hours and what months I expect to have good sun intensity) the plants grow, flower and set pods rather quickly. If I plant in the offseason, the plants grow, flower and then I have a long wait until the sunlight is good enough to get my beans to set pods. It's the beginning of May(spring here), and I have favas with flowers that I planted back in or around August (late summer).... no "real" sign of pods yet (I did get a few over the course of the winter and early spring). I'm hoping to get pods in June or so. Again, I planted in part shade and I planted too tight, so much of the "not setting pods" issue was self created.
06 Oct 20 Mike Bearman (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
My broads are up to 1.6m high and full of flowers, but as yet not podding yet. Bees are working, temps are moderate here on the Coromandel east coast so not so cold. They better pod soon, or my wife will blame me...again.
05 Sep 12 Chris (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I second eating the tips - very tasty! Extra protein if you fail to wash out all the blackfly.
28 Aug 12 Jeff (Australia - temperate climate)
Mine have plenty of flowers too - I am in Melb. Don't worry, when the weather warms up further, the pods will form. This is my 3rd or 4th year growing broad beans and they haven't disappointed.
23 Sep 12 Eileen (Australia - temperate climate)
I grew broad beans the year I lived in Tassie. I probably planted them too early (ignorant in a new climate), but the winter frosts didnt bother them at all. Tassie has the old English bumble bee. Pete Cundall reckoned it kept working down to 2 degrees. I had plenty of pods come spring, but maybe it depends on the weather being right for the bees to pollinate? Anyway, we are eating our first beans of the year - on the NSW south coast. Yep, I probably planted too early here too. Gotta love broad beans
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