Origin: Albert Lea, Minnesota
Improvement status: Cover crop cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~3/4 pound
Germination tested 11/22: 85%
Life cycle: Annual
When to sow: Early Spring, August/September, possibly later in the Fall in places with very mild winters
Coverage: 150 square feet
This fava bean cover crop is a tall, bushy annual/biennial legume that does best in cool, wet conditions. It does not like the heat! But luckily it's frost tolerant.
Great nitrogen fixer, favas can fix up to 140 pounds of nitrogen per acre. Their large taproots can break up compaction. Favas are also a great animal forage, and people can eat the shoots, flowers, pods, and seeds too! (Nate loves to boil peeled favas with pasta and then add butter or olive oil and stir well so the favas become the sauce!). Favas will need inoculant for proper nodulation and best nitrogen fixation.
In much of the country you can plant favas in March or early April for an early season nitrogen fixer/green manure. You can also plant them in August/September and expect them to eventually be winter-killed. In milder climates, say zones 8 or 9 (or even 7 in a mild year), you may be able to plant them in the fall and have them live through the winter. They're typically winter hardy to about 10 degrees F.
GROWING TIPS: Best direct seeded in the ground 1-3 inches deep, but can also be broadcasted and tamped down firmly in the soil. Plants could be 6 inches apart in any direction.