How to grow beans
The cultivation of fava beans is widespread in our country, especially in the south: it is in the southern regions, in fact, that these legumes are consumed to a greater extent, especially in combination with salted ricotta, salami and smoked bacon, or (especially in Puglia) in the form of of puree together with chicory (not forgetting mixed soups with spelled and lentils). We are dealing with annual plants from Asia, but by now consolidated in Italy for several centuries, able to reach one meter in height. Instead, the fruit looks like a pod between fifteen and twenty-five centimeters long, with about seven or eight seeds inside. There are two different types of cultivated beans, depending on the size of the seeds: the first is that characterized by large seeds, to the point of being considered a vegetable; the second, instead, has small seeds, and is therefore consumed as forage. The green saber, the Quarantina, the white Reina and the Super aguadolce are the most common varieties. The broad bean does not require particular climatic conditions to develop: it adapts without problems to the heat of the coastal areas to the less temperate climates of Northern Italy, even if the ideal conditions are those typical of the Mediterranean coasts. In short, although it can withstand cold (but not frost) without problems, it is at ease with the heat, but not with drought.
Land for cultivation
The ideal soil for growing beans is partially clayey, well drained and not very fertile (since it is the plant itself that helps to fertilize it for subsequent crops). The best solution, therefore, turns out to be a substrate without water stagnations and with a high content of calcium, which must be prepared specifically with a spade or a motor hoe. After digging at about forty centimeters in depth, the soil must be leveled with the help of a rake and weeds removed, a few weeks before the time when it is intended to proceed with sowing. The sowing period is indicated in the autumn season, or, in the hottest areas, in early winter. By doing so, the crop will be available in April. It is good to know, moreover, that the production cycle of the autumn sowing lasts twice as long as the spring sowing: in other words, six months instead of three.
From the operational point of view, the experts advise to carry out the sowing beans already in the final point, without requiring transplants or displacements. We need to create rows located at a distance of about sixty centimeters, so that the plant has enough space to develop naturally and that the harvest is facilitated. Each hole must be no more than five centimeters deep (you can help yourself with a wooden awl), and must contain at most three seeds. Essentially, each bush needs at least half a square meter. After about fifteen days have elapsed from the inside of the seeds, the plants will begin to appear: to make germination more rapid, however, the seeds must be kept for a few days in the bath. Immediately after the burial, irrigation must be carried out, paying attention to the distribution, which must not be altered. Obviously, the amount of water to be supplied depends on the weather conditions and the season. Another aspect that deserves to be taken into consideration is that of fertilization: in this respect, the beans are not particularly demanding, in the sense that they are satisfied with the residues coming from the fertilizations of the previous crops. It should also be noted that no further fertilization interventions are planned during the production cycle. It is worth noting that the nitrogen supply provided by the roots is very useful for subsequent crops, providing a significant nutritional contribution to the soil.
When the seedlings reach about sixteen or seventeen centimeters in height, it is necessary to carry out topping with a certain periodicity, so as to create a proper harmony between production and vegetation, limiting the proliferation of aphids that are used to take possession of the apex of the plant. A rather important role, instead, is covered by the earthing up, necessary for the elimination of weeds and the defense from the cold. In other words, as soon as the plant reaches at least twenty centimeters in height, a measure that allows it not to be damaged, at its feet must be accumulated soil taken between the rows, in order to create a sort of protective barrier, which between the other has the non-secondary effect of improving the permeability and oxygenation of the soil already present. In the case in which the cultivation area is very windy, nothing prevents the higher plants, possibly weighed down by ripe fruits, to be supported with suitable stakes. The harvest of the beans, in conclusion, takes place six months after the autumn sowing, and is of the scalar type. Every ten square meters of land they are able to produce, roughly, between five and eight kilos of fresh broad beans, which of course, after harvest, can be frozen. Instead, the field must be mown when the shrubs have become dry, in late summer.
Cultivation of beans: Growing beans
As mentioned, the cultivation of these legumes does not require special care, even if it is necessary to choose the most suitable soil to obtain good results. This type of crop is usually grown to begin a rotation cycle as it allows the soil to be enriched with nutrients, such as nitrogen. These plants, if they are grown in a place subject to winds, should be supported with appropriate elements that will allow their most adequate growth. It should be remembered that sowing must also be carried out in relation to the type of climate present in the area; therefore, in the hottest areas, where even winter temperatures are mild, it is possible to sow directly in open ground in November, while in the colder climate regions, it is necessary to wait for the temperatures to be more stable and mild, waiting for the end of 'winter. In case you want to have an early harvest it is possible to proceed with sowing in January not in the ground but in seedbed and then proceed with the planting of the seedlings from the month of March, waiting for the period in which there is no risk of late frost.