Fava Beans

Dear Gentle Reader,

I have to tell you how great the service is at Territorial Seed Co.  It is Fabulous!  Yesterday morning, I e-mailed them about the chocolate spot on my Fava beans, since I wasn’t sure what to do with it or if it was safe to eat them.  I got an answer later that very same day, from a nice person named Lori!  I was really surprised.  I hadn’t expected to hear back for at least a week.  Lori said that I need to remove and destroy the diseased plants, and that you can spray the remaining plants with carbendazim, which is a broad spectrum fungicide.  Unfortunately, all of my plants are diseased, so I need to get rid of them all.  I think I will put the plants in a clear plastic bag, in the sun, for about a week or so, to kill the fungus before I compost them. 

To prevent future outbreaks of chocolate spot, Lori recommended to fertilize before planting, don’t plant too closely together, keep the leaves dry, and practice a 4-year crop rotation.   Well, I planted the plants too closely together, since I have been doing the square-foot gardening, and the leaves have been wet quite a bit, due to the constant rain and/or my watering.   BTW, I also read up on Fava beans, and apparently they stop forming beans when it gets too hot (e.g., about 70-degrees).  No wonder they stopped making beans.  It has been very hot here the last several weeks.  I should have planted them as soon as the ground was workable (e.g., February).  Live and learn.

So, I am going to pull the plants out and replace them with zinnias.  They will grow well  during the summer, and at least I will have some flowers to cut.

Next year, I am going to try out a smaller/shorter version of Fava beans, and plant much earlier, in the next garden box over.  I will give them more room, and maybe spray them with copper on a weekly basis.  Also, I will do some more reading up on them before then.

Update 7-1-10: The Fava beans got torn out.  Still need to plant.

By, By Favas. You were fun while you lasted.


Dear Gentle Reader,

I haven’t been able to do much gardening lately, as I am still having back problems.  Anything requiring bending over is difficult.  I’m hoping that I overcome this problem soon.

I went out to check the garden this morning, and noticed that some of the bean pods have black spots on them.  In some cases, it is very severe.

It is very hard.  Not slimy.  I did a little searching on the web, and found that it is called Chocolate Spot (Botrytis fabae).  But I haven’t found any information about what to do about it.  Any suggestions?

Dear Gentle Reader,

I checked out my garden this evening, after I got home from work.  It rained once again.  So it’s hot and humid.  It looks like there is a lawn in the back yard, but it is a trick.  When you walk around, your shoes squelch in the mud, leaving sloppy foot prints.  Hippy Skippy. 🙂

The leeks are growing well.  I should have harvested them a couple of months ago, but they started making scapes, and that was interesting.  So I left them, and now some of them are 3-4 feet tall.  The flower buds are huge and starting to open.
The fava beans are coming along.  Some are getting pretty big.
The tomatoes are even making tiny little fruits.
And the corn is standing tall.

Dear Gentle Reader,

Well, I was able to get outside and take some pictures tonight.   I sure was busy last weekend. 🙂  It really makes me feel good to get so much done.  Here is a quick look.

New Lasagna Garden Next to Garden Boxes

It doesn’t look like much, but I build a new bed (the square-ish brown pile) using the lasagna method.  I used dirt that was saved from last year, when we dug the holes for six blueberry bushes (they were planted in peat).  To that, I added about 1/2 bale of rotting straw, two bags of last years leaves, some slow release organic fertilizer, about 1/4 bag of composted manure, 1-1/2 bags of generall compost I got last year from Missouri Organic (when I built the garden boxes), a little bone meal, and some green grass clippings I happened to have.  I layered it all, but also kind of mixed it up.  You have to water each layer, and it was difficult to get everything wet enough.  Then, I planted purple bush beans, being sure to use innoculant.  There were lots of worms in the dirt, so I’m sure they will be happy to eat all of these leaves and straw.  I am thinking that the beans are a good first crop, since they fix nitrogen.  I didn’t have a lot of green materials, so I will be sure to chop them up (after harvest) and mix them back in.  Also, I may plant clover, oats, harry vetch, etc., as an over-winter ground cover, and then turn it under in the Spring.  BTW, you can see my four garden boxes in this view.

The Corn is Growing

As you can see, the corn is growing.  I have discovered that it probably wasn’t a very good idea to start the corn in Jiffy Pellets (well, we already knew that).  The roots are very shallow, and it tends to fall over with our Kansas winds.  Maybe it is just the winds, but farmers around here don’t seem to have too much of a problem with it.   Maybe they do but it’s not something that you notice when you are whizzing by on the highway.  Sounds like something to investigate.  I could ask some farmers at the farmer’s market, for some advice. 

In addition to corn, I have two pie pumpkins.  They are doing really well, but I am concerned that they will not have enough room.  I’m not sure how big they will get.  After they are really growing well, I could cut back to one plant, but I want to wait, just in case some cut worm takes one of the plants out.

Tall Fava Beans

As you can see, the fava beans have gotten very tall.  All of them are flowering, and some of the flowers have wilted and turned black.  The ants are still there, but not bothering anything.  And joy or joys, some of the beans have begun to form.  See below.

Baby Favas

There are two beans in the picture above, sticking out from the stem.   They are a little bit yellowish, compared to the leaves.  These beans are about the size of quarters, so they have a lot of growing to do.

The Amish past tomatoes are growing well in the SWCs.  Some of my tomatoes are starting to have buds!

Amish Paste Tomato in SWC

  My Meyer lemon is putting on a nice new flush of growth and blooming once again. 

Meyer Lemon

I moved several plants in the side garage garden, including a rose, some Shasta daisies,  and a big swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata  L.), a perennial Kansas native plant.  Last year, I didn’t realize how big this milkweed would get (up to 8-feet).  It was HUGE.   Also it needed some support.  So, I moved it away from the garage wall, and put a tomato cage around it.  It is pretty happy, and the rose is ok, but the daisies aren’t very happy.  Hopefully, they will survive.

Swamp Milkweed

We also have some common milkweed, but I don’t have any photos.  The lawn guy weed-wacked it, thinking it was a weed.  Well, it is; but I want to keep it anyway.  So, I moved it where it won’t get weed-wacked, and it is growing back.

Happily, my DH pruned (i.e., hacked back with a machete) a volunteer peach tree that was hanging down into my gardens.  I had about six thin trunks (since it is a volunteer, it had been mowed over several times many years ago) that couldn’t support themselves.  It has that pink peach leaf curl fungus, and bugs in the trunks.  Since my DSIL loves this tree, DH cut down only two of the trunks, and the lowest branches of a third trunk.  Now, I don’t smack my head into it when I’m walking between it and my gardens, it isn’t actually IN the gardens any more, and there is more sun getting to the gardens.  I hope that my DSIL understands, cause she really likes that tree.

Other than that, I put up a bunch of little pots with new starts for summer, including two kinds of rudbeckia, two kinds of cone flowers, and probably some other stuff, but I can’t remember what.  They are out in the sun, so they will learn to live with our fabulous Kansas weather. 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend.  I know I did. 🙂

After diner, I went out to see how my garden grows.  It has cooled off because there is rain on the way.  The fava beans all seem to be blooming.  They have pretty white and black flowers that remind me of snapdragons.

Fava Beans In Bloom

The strange thing was that there were black ants all over them.  The bean plants had some black spots on them, at what looked like some kind of flower bud, and the ants were going to those black spots.

What the heck is going on?  Could the ants be getting nectar?  Are those strange hat-like structures some sort of nectar container?  The ants didn’t seem to be harming the plants in any way.  If any body knows what was happening, please let me know.

While I was looking at the fava beans, I noticed some beneficial insects.  There was a lady bug, but I didn’t have my camera.  I guess I’ll have to take it out with me when ever I go.  Seems like you never know what interesting happenings you will find out there.  Here is a green lacewing that was on the fava beans.  If there was one, there must be more. Yay! 🙂 

Sorry if the photo quality is poor.  The camera had a really hard time focusing on that little guy.

Last but not least, one of my David Austin roses has just begun to bloom.  I just love it.  I think I’ll take a couple of blooms to work with me tomorrow.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

First Yellow Rose of 2010