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I grew fava beans this year for the first time and really liked them. The issue I had is that about half my seeds didn't come up, so I have a fairly small crop. If I started more seeds in July would they do well over the summer and produce a fall crop for me? I'm in New Jersey and my growing zone is 7A.

Update 10/12: As mentioned in the comments below I started a fall crop this year. The seeds were planted on July 25th after soaking for 2 or 3 days. They came up and started flowering near the end of August and still are. Despite all the flowers I haven't seen a single bean on any of the plants. I had other bean varieties that were flowering at the same time which I was getting quite a lot of beans from so this couldn't be due to a lack of pollinators in the area could it? In general I haven't had the best of luck with fava beans, mostly due to extremely low germination rates, but I at least got some beans off those plants.

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In "Seed to Seed" (Suzanne Ashworth), p 138 it says that favas are hardy annuals, tolerating frost but not hard freezes. The advice I've typically seen is to start them in early spring to harvest before it gets too hot.

You'll want to check the time to maturity on your particular variety, and your first frost date for wherever you are in NJ.

The couple of varieties I see are 85-90 days to maturity.

First frost for Trenton, NJ is mid to late October. So if you start them July 1st you might be able to get a crop by October 1st before you have frost, much less hard freeze.

The difficulty I see is that fava beans do not like growing in the heat, so you may have a hard time getting them through a hot July and August. If you don't get hard freezes before Nov 1, you might try seeding them in early August for a late October / early November harvest. If you're willing to give them some protection you could maybe even try for a little later.

If you're willing to experiment you could try some on July 1st, some on August 1st, and some on September 1st, and see which works best.

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Last year I never got around to planting a second crop, but this year I did. I forgot to write down exactly when I started them but it was around the middle of July. The first flowers are just starting to come out on a couple of the plants so it looks like I'll get a few before the season is over. Next year I plan on taking better notes and starting them around July 1st. Could be a good crop to put in after my garlic is harvested. –  Brian Surowiec Aug 26 '12 at 1:42

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