Fava Beans As Cover Crops

The season is changing and so are our crops. Distant are the days of tomatoes and cucumbers growing in our farm. Now we are focusing on preparing for our winter crops. During the fall season, a common practice is to plant cover crops to improve soil health, as the previous season’s plants exhaust the soils good nutrients.

What are Cover Crops?

A cover crop is a plant that moderates deterioration, improves soil health, throttles weeds, encourages biodiversity and bring a variety of other benefits to your food growing spaces.

There are 3 main cover crops:

  1. Grasses
  2. Legumes
  3. Broadleaf Non-Legumes
Nitrogen nodules growing on the roots of Fava beans

Fava Beans are are a type of legume that puts nitrogen in the soil when it is growing. After the plant starts to flower but before the beans begin to grow, cut the plants at the soil line to leave the nitrogen in the soil. The nitrogen grows as small balls on the roots of the plant. Leaving the roots in the soil while planting your next crop of desire will insure that your plants get the nutrients they need. Fava beans also enhance soil texture, stifle weeds, sustain microbials in the soil food web and attract pollinators with their purple flowers. Cutting up the remainder of the plant and leaving it as mulch is also a great practice for enhancing soil health.

Julie, our farm park manager, cutting fava beans at soil line.

Should I Grow Fava Beans as a Garden Member?

Our Garden Members have access to a lifetime supply of compost. The compost has all the nutrients you need for your raised garden beds, however if our gardeners would like to practice growing Fava Beans as a cover crop in their bed or grow fava beans as food, contact

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