Growing the Desert Garden

Welcome to the Desert Garden, with garden coach Tyler Storey, where we talk about everything having to do with gardening and landscaping in the Desert Southwest. From composting to Cercidium and agaves to arugula — we'll cover everything you want to know to grow your own beautiful Desert Garden.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stop-Action Broad Bean: Episode 3

Broad Bean Sprout© Tyler Storey

In this Winter's Stop-Action series, we'll follow the life and times of a Broad Bean, commonly known as the Fava Bean. You'll notice we're jumping right in with Episode 3; the first two weekly episodes consisted of fairly uninteresting photos of a blank bit of soil and mulch. All sorts of interesting stuff was going on out of view underground, but to the casual observer it still looked pretty much like a blank bit of soil and mulch, so we're jumping forward to the action shots.

In the Desert Garden, our Fall and Winter vegetable gardens consist for the most part of the "true" vegetables, those plants such as lettuces, carrots, spinach, etc., of which we eat a part of the plant itself (leaves, roots, stems). The two notable exceptions are English Peas and Broad or Fava Beans; in the case of these two "vegetables" we eat not the plant, but the fruit (peas and beans, respectively).

In Italy, the traditional date for planting Fava Beans is All Souls Day, November 2, and that date works well in the Desert Garden, though I wouldn't hesitate to try them earlier or later. The seeds take between 10 and 25 days to emerge from the soil, so the little sprout pictured above is right on schedule. At the moment it looks like nothing so much as a well-chewed wad of neon-green gum, but in the next few days, all those ridges and bumps will resolve into tidy stems and leaves. Just wait: that wad of gum is going to turn into a very pretty plant.


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