Field Beans, cover crop (Vicia faba)


Common Name: Field Beans, Broad Beans - agricultural



Forage for Pollinators: Produces Nectar for practically all Long and Short-tongued Bumblebees, including Honeybees. The nectar is so prolific and popular that even though the long-tongued bumblebee are the only ones able to feed from the front of the flower, short-tongued bumblebees will bite holes at the flower base (‘primary nectar robbing’) and honeybees will take advantage of these same holes (‘secondary nectar robbing’). Extrafloral nectaries are also to be found beneath the small leaf-like stipules indicated by two dark spots, and these secrete nectar in abundance starting two weeks before flowering and continuing right through the flowering season. In sunny weather, honeybees can store a large surplus from broad beans (and field beans).
Flowering time: March, April, May, June, July

Growing information: ANNUAL FODDER CROP, able to stand on its own field-scale. Prefers medium to heavy soils (as drought-stress can be a problem on light soils) and a pH of 6.5-7 (alkaline) is essential. The three main diseases of the Faba Bean crop, namely Chocolate Spot, Ascochyta Leaf , Pod Spot, and Downy Mildew are all diseases of cool, wet, humid conditions, hence the importance of reasonable air circulation within the growing crop. Birds are the major threat to beans for the first few weeks after sowing, so proper sowing depth & early vigilance is vital. Black Bean aphids appear in crops every season, do not be alarmed as before you know it (if you grow organically and have plenty of wild margins left uncut) there will be plenty of other insects eager to gobble them up and the problem will be solved.