Overwintering Garlic and Fava Beans

Honestly. I am glad I got my act together with the garden here in September-October. Having a week off to work on it was really what I needed, and now I am able to just get things into the ground that will overwinter. And the free compost I got from work was exactly what I needed! I was able to get two truckloads for free!


Below are the beds I prepped for garlic. They are 4×12 and 4×8 feet. I layered a good amount of compost on top and used my electric tiller (a very good investment!) to completely worked the soil. The garlic filled up about two-thirds of each bed, and I seeded one row of fava beans in the back (left side) of the bed.


I bought a total of two pounds hardneck garlic from Sow True Seed, up in Asheville NC, and this equated to approximately 100 cloves. The varieties I got are German Red and Music. I have purchased from them and have been happy with most of my purchases. Why all hardneck? All the softneck were sold out… I don’t really care actually.

I have only grown garlic once and that was two years, and I chose the German Red as well. It was tasty, but it did not grow very big and I was disappointed enough not to grow it last year. I realized my negative experience was due to my inexperience though. I put them in a bed that did not get a lot of sun, and I did not prune the stalk (or scape) that for flower (or bulbils). Pruning this helps to improve bulb production. So, I have decided to give it another shot, and if I like the flavor, to keep about 7-8 bulbs of each variety to propagate garlic year after year.


From the website on German Red:

A staff favorite! This lovely hardneck garlic has a bold, full-bodied true “garlic” flavor. Consistent producer of large bulbs with with fat cloves and red streaked inner wrappers. Smaller cloves than most hardnecks. 50-60 cloves per pound / 25-30 cloves per half pound.


From the website on Music:

A very cold hardy, slightly spicy, incredibly flavorful garlic. Huge, easy-to-peel cloves per bulb with a shiny-white sheath and pink-tinged clove skins. 20-30 cloves per lb.




A new vegetable for me are Fava Beans. For full disclosure, I have never eaten fava beans, but I have read the are delicious. You can also eat the leaves and they are just as delicious. The Garden Betty has a great post here on them – growing, harvesting and cooking. This spring I will discover just how delicious they are.

Mediterranean native that is quite different from ordinary beans. Prefers cool weather, tolerates frost. Can be early fall-sown in Zone 6 and higher. In very cold-winter regions, plant in late winter or early spring. Sow the seed 1 to 2 inches deep in full sun. For beans, allow 8-12 inches between the plants.

I am in zone 7, so I am sowing here in early fall, but I may be a little late. I am not sure what to expect with these. They are very cold hardy… but will I get beans in January? I am now, as I write this, starting to second guess whether these were planted too late… But this post says the following, so I am going to wait and see. 🙂

Broad beans, also called fava beans, are a cool-season crop that grow best in temperatures ranging from 60° to 65°F, but fava beans will grow in temperatures as low as 40°F and as warm as 75°F. Sow broad beans in spring as soon as the soil can be worked for harvest before the weather warms. Broad beans require 80 to 100 days to reach harvest. In mild-winter regions sow broad beans in early autumn for winter harvest.

Below are pictures of the seeds I got from Baker’s Creek. One is the Broad Windsor and the other the Extra Prococe a Grano Violetto variety.

75 days. Yields gourmet high-protein beans on upright nonbranching plants. An old English favorite.


This extra early variety produces long pods that are filled with 6 large beans that are a pretty purple color and are sweet tasting. A unique and colorful variety from Italy.


Thanks for stopping by – Happy Gardening!


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