I’ve been reading quite a bit about cover crops and the benefits of nitrogen fixing crops in particular. One crop that got a lot of praise during my research was Fava beans, which provide a delicious edible crop and if properly inoculated will take nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it on nodules attached to the roots. In order for this process to occur you need to innoculate beans with Rhizobia bacteria (or make sure your soil is rich in Rhizobia bacteria).
There are several ways to inoculate Fava beans. I chose the slurry method, and performed my inocoluation by tossing my Fava beans into a zip lock bag, putting in a small amount of non-chlorinated water and then placing some inoculant in the bag. I closed it up and then massauged the inoculant solution into the seed. After this nice looking mixture sat for 15 minutes I went to my garden and planted the beans 6″ apart. The beans went in a couple months back and are now going crazy:
I purchased my Fava beans and inoculant through Peaceful Valley Farms. Every time I look at the seedlings I get excited that they are producing food, fertilizer and mulch for the garden. Can’t wait to start harvesting some yummy beans next month!