Winter Field Beans Growing Guide

Vicia faba

Winter Field Beans

Crop Rotation Group

Legumes (Pea and Bean family) 


Any average, well drained soil.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

A cool-season annual, winter field beans can tolerate frost but are killed by temperatures below 10to 15F (-12 to -9C). In the US, they are rated as hardy to Zone 8.


When using winter field beans to improve very poor soil, mixing a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil before planting will give better results.


Single Plants: 9" (25cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 7" (20cm) with 1' 3" (40cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Poke holes in prepared seedbed and plant seeds 2 inches (5 cm) deep. Winter field beans may be planted in late summer, or in very early spring.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Primarily grown to increase soil nitrogen. Easier to turn under using hand tools compared to other cover crops. Small-seeded varieties are best for cover crop use.


For maximum nitrogen gain, chop plants down and turn them under as soon as they begin to bloom. You also can pull up the plants and compost them.


Winter field beans attract numerous beneficial insects. Do not grow them just before potatoes or other root crops, because field beans can host rootknot nematodes.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Winter Field Beans