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Vicia faba
( Loreta Fava Bean )

'Loreta' has unusually large seeds, and tolerates hot conditions better than some other cultivars. An annual legume introduced by the Spanish for cool season growing. The large beans are eaten fresh and green or dried. Broad beans are the hardiest of the bean family, and can overwinter outside. This is a good thing for the garden, for these plants fix nitrogen in the soil throughout the winter, and working the plants into the soil in spring will add organic matter as well. Deep, heavy soils are the best for broad beans, but the soil must drain well. Rotate these crops yearly, otherwise you will run the risk of building diseases in your soil. Plant in fall or early spring, 1 inch deep and 6 to 8 inches apart. Thin to 10 inch spacing. Plants generally reach 2 to 3 feet tall, often with many side shoots. Mostly self pollinating. Hot weather can keep the plants from fruiting. Try to provide plenty of water and some shade if possible until things cool down. Although they are a nutritious food for most, some people have a rare enzyme deficiency that makes fava beans dangerous for them to eat.
Important Info : A small percentage of people suffer from 'favism' an allergy to the 'fava' or 'broad' bean, which can be fatal.


How to Grow this Plant:


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Characteristics
Cultivar:Loreta  
Family:Fabaceae  
Size:Height: 0 ft. to 0 ft.
Width: 0 ft. to 0 ft.  
Plant Category:annuals and biennials, climbers, edibles,  
Plant Characteristics:low maintenance, seed start,  
Foliage Characteristics:small leaves,  
Foliage Color:green,  
Flower Characteristics: 
Flower Color: 
Tolerances: 
Requirements
Bloomtime Range:not applicable  
USDA Hardiness Zone:3 to 11  
AHS Heat Zone:Not defined for this plant  
Light Range:Sun to Full Sun  
pH Range:5.5 to 8  
Soil Range:Some Sand to Some Clay  
Water Range:Normal to Normal  

Plant Care



Fertilizing
Light
Conditions : Full Sun

Full Sun is defined as exposure to more than 6 hours of continuous, direct sun per day.

Watering
Conditions : Dry Plants

Dry plants do not tolerate water logged soils and require very little water. Many cacti and succulents fall into this group. Water only when soil becomes completely dry. When watering, do so slowly for a long period of time so that topsoil does not wash away and so that soil has ample time to become moist enough to accept water. It is much better to water for a long time and less frequently allowing soil to dry out completely between waterings.

Conditions : Moist and Well Drained

Moist and well drained means exactly what it sounds like. Soil is moist without being soggy because the texture of the soil allows excess moisture to drain away. Most plants like about 1 inch of water per week. Amending your soil with compost will help improve texture and water holding or draining capacity. A 3 inch layer of mulch will help to maintain soil moisture and studies have shown that mulched plants grow faster than non-mulched plants.

Conditions : Normal Watering for Outdoor Plants

Normal watering means that soil should be kept evenly moist and watered regularly, as conditions require. Most plants like 1 inch of water a week during the growing season, but take care not to over water. The first two years after a plant is installed, regular watering is important for establishment. The first year is critical. It is better to water once a week and water deeply, than to water frequently for a few minutes.

Planting
How-to : Preparing Garden Beds

Use a soil testing kit to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the soil before beginning any garden bed preparation. This will help you determine which plants are best suited for your site. Check soil drainage and correct drainage where standing water remains. Clear weeds and debris from planting areas and continue to remove weeds as soon as they come up.

A week to 10 days before planting, add 2 to 4 inches of aged manure or compost and work into the planting site to improve fertility and increase water retention and drainage. If soil composition is weak, a layer of topsoil should be considered as well. No matter if your soil is sand or clay, it can be improved by adding the same thing: organic matter. The more, the better; work deep into the soil. Prepare beds to an 18 inch deep for perennials. This will seem like a tremendous amount of work now, but will greatly pay off later. Besides, this is not something that is easily done later, once plants have been established.

How-to : Planting and Removing Annuals

When planting annuals, begin by preparing the soil. Rototill rotted compost, soil conditioner, pulverized bark, or even builders sand into the existing soil and rake it smooth. Annuals grow quickly, so space them as recommended on plant tags. Remove plants from their containers or packs gently, being sure to keep as much soil as you can around the root ball. If the rootball is tight, loosen it a bit by gently separating white, matted roots with your fingers or a pocket knife. Plant at the same depth they were in the containers. Gently fill in around the plants, providing support but not cutting off air to the roots. Water the plants well.

Through the season, be sure to fertilize for optimal performance. Take special care to cut back or completely remove any diseased plants, as soon as you see there is a problem. At the end of the season, be sure to remove all plants and their root balls. Rake the bed well to prepare it for the next season's planting.

Problems
Pest : Aphids

Aphids are small, soft-bodied, slow-moving insects that suck fluids from plants. Aphids come in many colors, ranging from green to brown to black, and they may have wings. They attack a wide range of plant species causing stunting, deformed leaves and buds. They can transmit harmful plant viruses with their piercing/sucking mouthparts. Aphids, generally, are merely a nuisance, since it takes many of them to cause serious plant damage. However aphids do produce a sweet substance called honeydew (coveted by ants) which can lead to an unattractive black surface growth called sooty mold.

Aphids can increase quickly in numbers and each female can produce up to 250 live nymphs in the course of a month without mating. Aphids often appear when the environment changes - spring & fall. They're often massed at the tips of branches feeding on succulent tissue. Aphids are attracted to the color yellow and will often hitchhike on yellow clothing.

Prevention and Control: Keep weeds to an absolute minimum, especially around desirable plants. On edibles, wash off infected area of plant. Lady bugs and lacewings will feed on aphids in the garden. There are various products - organic and inorganic - that can be used to control aphids. Seek the recommendation of a professional and follow all label procedures to a tee.

Miscellaneous
Glossary : Annual

An annual is any plant that completes its life cycle in one growing season.

Glossary : pH

pH, means the potential of Hydrogen, is the measure of alkalinity or acidity. In horticulture, pH refers to the pH of soil. The scale measures from 0, most acid, to 14, most alkaline. Seven is neutral. Most plants prefer a range between 5.5 and about 6.7, an acid range, but there are plenty of other plants that like soil more alkaline, or above 7. A pH of 7 is where the plant can most easily absorb the most nutrients in the soil. Some plants prefer more or less of certain nutrients, and therefore do better at a certain pH.

Glossary : Edibles

An edible is a plant that has a part or all of it that can be safely consumed in some way.

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