When to harvest fava beans and honeyberries?

(Minnesota, Zone 3) This my first try at fava beans and the pods are big but when I gently squeeze one it seems to be filled with air! And this is the first year my honeyberries—also known as haskap—are productive and protected in a screened “crop cage.” The berries are blue. How long do I wait before harvesting them?

I know less than nothing about your local circumstances and the local weather. If you’ve got fava (I think they are what we in the UK call broad beans) that are empty, there may be other conditions but have you had a very dry weather? If conditions have been very dry, poss’ a regime of consistent watering may well swell them.
If not, I’m at a loss. Sorry to be of so little help.
Mine are quite late and have flowered brilliantly but I await the pods and the beans that I hope from them.
Others will have to assist re honeyberries - haven’t got a clue. Sorry.
Every good wish across the pond.

Honeyberry in the US is possibly what we call Baies du mai in France, Lonicera caerulea, or blue honeysuckle. I harvest mine from late May to late June, depending on the weather. A bit like blackcurrants, you just have to keep tasting evety three or four days until they have turned from tart to sweet. I’ve never had problems with birds taking mine, so have never bothered with a fuit cage for any of my fruit. Probably should for the cherry trees, every year the birds get in one day before me…
As for the broad beans (called feve here), it could be a mix of poor pollination plus lack of water meaning you have lovely, fluffy sleeping bags full of nothing. Open one up and check inside. Better to harvest them too early than too late.
Good luck with them both.

Thank you for your reply. We are in a colder climate than you so most of the berries are just turning blue now and still very tart. I will keep tasting them. Probably the same issue with the fava beans that I’m just too anxious for them to be ripe right now! Here in Minnesota we go from frost at the end of May to 90 F in the middle of June. Spring whips by us so fast!

I have just picked my first fava beans and I am in the UK but the zone I am nearest too is zone 5. If you feel the pods and the beans feel a little loose in them and move around a bit then they are ready to pick…

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Thank you, SusieH. That idea of “loose” in the pod is very helpful information for a first-time fava grower. I opened two pods today, one with four lovely beans and one that had two beans and two tiny undeveloped seed-looking things. Plenty of water, maybe not enough sun from being too closely planted. It’s all a grand experiment!

It is a grand experiment and at the same time you are getting lots of fresh air and exercise, nothing like gardening especially in such weird times…

HI raymart, I don’t know how close you plant your favas, but my husband knows all about them, having grown up growing and eating them (his family is Sicilian). He plants 3 beans to a hole, and about 18 inches apart. Favas do like cool weather though; they don’t produce well in the heat, we’ve found. Also they actually don’t mind part shade.

Well, I definitely planted those fava beans too close together. I did eventually get enough good-sized beans for one two-person meal, but most of them didn’t develop before the heat wave hit here. I have pulled them all and will plant more green beans in their place. Next year I will give the favas more space - social distancing for garden plants!?

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We ate half our crop last night, they were lovely, I think the thing is once podded you just don’t get that many, but they are a treat cooked straight from the garden…Apart from nipping out the tips to prevent blackly they are so easy, if you have a lot of spare space or an allotment they are wonderful as a filler…


I don’t know what you all make with your favas but we have a few favorites. Also note if you get the beans early enough you don’t actually need to shell them.

Maccu (pronounced like mock-you) is a traditional spring dish, basically a cooked fava mash made from the dried beans, served with fennel fronds coarsely chopped, mixed in at the very end of cooking. Serve it with a crusty fresh bread and drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the favas mash.

My husband also sautes them with some onion, and add fresh beans, peas and artichoke hearts and toss them with cooked long pasta, top with a grated hard cheese like Pecorino Romano.

Not traditional exactly, but I also made the fresh beans into a hummus.


Harvested a ‘meal’s worth’ of beans last week and - oh - it took me back 60+yrs when my Dad brought them home - the wife and I just grinned at one another across the table. After eating commercial frozen beans for some time, they were amazingly different! Not the same at all! Wow! Fabulous with some steamed fish, new spuds and parsley sauce. Today lifted all the plants and stripped them - got a colander full of Majestic Longpod and another of Karmazyn. Having some today and the rest are safe in the freezer. Planning to plant half as many again next season, (30 this year but 50+ in 2021) sowing the first batch of ‘earlies’ this November.


ShannonW! Maccu is going onto my list of What to Eat in the Hungry Gap! It sounds amazing! Improvising with different spices for variety. Wow. Where does this originate?
I make pasta primavera once the first vegetables start to appear and put new broad beans into that. A sprinkle of fresh lemon zest over the top and tuck in.

I’ve been looking at the variety Karmazyn. I seem to get quite a lot of Polish varieties of veg in my catalogue. It is the first brown seeded variety I’ve seen, how is the flavour compared to others? I’ve grown Sutton Longpod but have better results from Aquadulce. I think I’ll give a November sowing a go, we’ve not had a decent amount of snow over the winter here for three years now and I can always bung a hoop house over them if it looks like we might. I find successional sowing is important come Spring. The first ones are well on their way by the time the aphids hit the second lot and the ladybirds arrive to clean them up before the third and fourth sowings can be troubled.
But I’m interested to hear your take on the brown broad beans…

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Dear Alli - try Googling ’Premier Seeds Direct’ (UK) - they are a really decent seed supplier who are for gardeners as well as for profit and their prices may shock you (positively). I stick with them all the time except for the very rare occasion they do not have the odd thing that I’m looking for. Can’t recommend them enough.
Karmasyn look even tastier than the usual green bean - I love all the broad beans but these add to the aesthetics. They certainly ‘taste the business’! I’ve already got a supply for next year.
My others are Majestic Longpod from the same supplier which did equally well… My Imperial Longpod did nothing in the early stages and were abandoned.
Good luck in your search.

Hi AlliG, maccu – actually the full name is ‘maccu di favi’ – is very traditional Sicilian food. A little lemon juice over the maccu might be good and would also be a very Sicilian touch. The fennel fronds used in Sicily are actually the wild ones, from the plant that doesn’t make a bulb, but these are not easy to find, except here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here they’re invasive and are almost anywhere there is an empty plot of land. We actually forage them, which to me is hilarious in a metropolitan city. My husband will be happy to know that one of his favorite dishes his mom used to make may have a new fan.

I forgot to add, you can also put a sprinkle of pepper flakes over top too. I hope you enjoy it.

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Don’t know why but I didn’t see a single blackfly - black aphid - this year on the broad beans. It’s either luck or providence.

As for brown broad beans - rather maroonish - they are a bit old-fashioned but the texture and taste of fresh ones is well up to to par if not beyond. They taste yummy and the delicious taste is well up to date! Karmazym Recommended.
(I probably spelled it wrong)

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Don’t boast I thought that too, mine arrived this week in hordes!