Bean and Pea Cool-Weather Crops for Home Gardeners

Lentils, chickpeas, fava beans and soup peas are perfect bean and pea cool-weather crops for home gardeners who want pure food and self-reliance.

| October/November 2002

Try these cool-weather bean crops for a great harvest on the homestead.

Cool-Weather Bean and Pea Recipes

Fava Bean Salad Recipe
Loving-Kindness Hummus Recipe
Fava Bean Soup Recipe
Sprouted Chickpea Salad Recipe

Lentils, chickpeas, fava beans and soup peas are perfect crops for home gardeners who want pure food and self-reliance. Virtually fat-free, these crops are rich in protein, fiber and minerals. All four crops are easy to store (no canning, freezing or drying required!) and best of all, they taste great in a variety of soups, casseroles, salads and other dishes. If you're trying to reduce your meat intake, beans and peas are excellent alternatives. (See the chart in the image gallery.)

These beans thrive in cool weather and should be planted earlier than snap, soy or lima beans. They all produce attractive, carefree plants with pods full of seeds that are easily dried and stored. As legumes, their roots host beneficial bacteria that produce nitrogen needed for plant growth and protein production. Although these dried beans will keep indefinitely, you'll find that fresh homegrown dried beans and peas will cook quicker and be easier to digest than their supermarket counterparts.

Fava Beans

Fava beans (Vicia fava) were grown by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, as well as by the Greeks and Romans. They were a mainstay of the European diet until Columbus introduced warmer-weather beans. Millions of people in the Middle East, India, Burma, Mexico and Brazil include them in their daily diet.

Fava beans are a tenacious and trouble-free crop that succeeds where the growing season is short and other beans fail. With good spring rains, they can survive frosts and require minimal or no watering Easy to grow, they also produce abundantly.

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