April 24, 2010
I've gotten a few questions on pruning fava beans lately. I usually do tip-pinch my fava beans. Sometimes, your fava beans will flower and flower away, but you won't see fruit. Often, if you'll tip-pinch the stems, it relieves what is called "apical dominance" and triggers the plant to go ahead and set fruit. There are special cells in the tips of growing stems of plants. Once you remove them, they are triggered to develop different structures, such as lateral shoots, fruits, etc. You don't need to pinch off much, just that very first internodes worth of growth right at the top of the stem. Make sense?
You can harvest the bean pots when they are only 2-3 inches long if you'd like to cook the whole pod as you would a green bean. Or, wait until pods are about 6-8 inches long to harvest the seeds (shell the bean). Go Here for more info on fava beans.
By the way, fava beans are beautiful plants. The leaves are edible in salads and the flowers are lovely and fragrant.