Lima beans are a type of legume often grown as a vegetable and are a fantastic source of protein, fiber, and vitamins. Lima beans can be grown in most parts of the United States. Keep reading to learn how to grow lima beans, from seeding to harvesting.
Choosing seeds or transplants
When choosing between transplanting lima beans and seeding them, there are many things to consider. One of the most important factors to consider is the climate. Lima beans do best in warm climates. If you are in a colder climate, you will likely have better success seeding them. Another factor to consider is the soil. Lima beans need well-drained soil to grow properly. If your soil is heavy and does not drain well, you will have better luck transplanting them. You will also need to consider your time commitment. If you have the time to transplant lima beans, they will likely have a higher success rate than if you seed them. However, seeding them may be the better option if you are short on time.
Lima beans come in many different varieties, each with a unique flavor and texture. When choosing which variety to grow, it is important to consider the climate and growing conditions where you live. Bush lima beans are well suited for cooler climates, while pole lima beans do better in warmer climates. Some of the most popular lima bean varieties include Fordhook 242, Henderson’s Bush Lima, Baby Lima Bean, Christmas Lima, and Speckled Calico. Fordhook 242 is a bush variety that produces large, plump beans with a creamy texture. Henderson’s Bush Lima is a small bush variety that produces tender beans with a sweet flavor.
Planting Your Lima Beans
To grow lima beans from seed, you will need to plant the beans in rich, well-drained soil. The beans should be planted in rows, and the rows should be spaced about 18 inches apart. The beans should be planted about 2 inches deep and about 4 inches apart. Once the beans have germinated, they should be thinned to about 2 inches apart.
When the beans reach about 3 inches tall, they should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer. The beans should be watered regularly, but do not overwater them. The beans will start to produce pods once they reach about 6 inches tall. You can purchase young plants from a garden center to grow lima beans from transplants. The plants should be placed about 18 inches apart in rows about 36 inches apart. The plants should be planted about two inches deep. The beans should be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer when they reach about three inches tall. The beans should be watered regularly, but don’t overwater them. The beans will start to produce pods once they reach about six inches tall.
Caring for Your Lima Beans
Lima beans are a warm-season crop and grow best in full sun. They also need well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Lima beans can be harvested as young pods or allowed to mature and dry. Once the lima bean plants have been established, it’s important to water them regularly, especially during dry periods. Make sure you fertilize the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two to three weeks. Mulching around the plants can also help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weeds from growing. Pinch off the tips of young pods to encourage more production and remove any diseased leaves as necessary.
Harvesting Your Lima Beans
Lima beans can be harvested when green or mature depending on what you intend to use them for. For eating fresh, harvest green beans when they are about six inches long. The beans will be tender and have a sweet flavor. For shelling, wait until the beans are completely mature and then harvest them by cutting off the entire plant at ground level. The beans will be larger and have a starchier flavor.
Lima beans are a great crop to grow in your garden, as they are easy to grow and produce a lot of beans. These tips should help new gardeners plant and harvest the best possible lima beans.