Harvesting lima beans

adrock430(6A)September 14, 2011

Hi, this is the first time growing lima beans and it looks like they are quite productive. Just having a hard time deciding how to harvest. Should I wait until the pods get rubbery to harvest, or do you pick as they plump? It's been hard to tell which are big enough. Alternatively, do some just let them dry on the bush? Thanks, Adam

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farmerdill

Depends on whether you prefer them as green shellies or dried limas. For green shellies, shuck out a couple as the pods plump up, Then pick as they reach the size and plumpness you want. Some folks like them half size and ultra tender, others wait until they are full size. Of course if you want dried beans or are saving seeds just let the pods dry on the vine.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:44PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Nice looking beans, as always, farnerdill! Are those bush? I read cangreen is bush. Are they pretty easy picking?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 1:14PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I pick green limas every 2 days...3 at the most as I love the greener and more tender ones rather than the larger starchier ones. I raise Fordhook 242 bush

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 2:49PM
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farmerdill

Cangreen is bush, no more difficult to pick than any other bush lima. The smaller the lima , the more difficult to pick, but the major difference in effort is in the shelling. Cangree is average size for a baby lima. Baby limas are much less starchy at all stages than potato limas like Fordhook. Even Baby Fordhooks are less starchy than Fordhooks, while still falling in the potato lima category.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 4:24PM
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perrynewbegining

Planted limas for the first time this year. (Fordhook 242) Mine were slow to grow, and started falling over when they were 6" to 8" tall. Got annoyed with them and just let them go. The plants at the ends of the rows grew up through the fence, and flourished. The directions on the seed packet said nothing about support. We like the larger limas, but are apprehensive about trying them again next year. A lot of work for the few we got, but they sure were good!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:29PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I just let the plants lean over. Mine have produced pretty well and are still going strong. The early ones are large plants now.

The bush beans have produced far better for me than pole beans which quickly "top" out, but the bush beans are more indeterminate.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 8:15PM
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caroliniannjer(ColumbiaSC)

About support for bush lima beans: down here in SC ours seem to be growing much bigger than expected (well... certainly much bigger than they used to up in NJ).

So a little support is helpful, unless the rows are very widely spaced.

But they don't need much support--a bit of netting strung between posts is enough.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 12:07PM
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ltilton

Bumping this thread. My first time growing limas, and they're getting ripe to pick now for fresh beans, but getting the pods open is a trial. They don't pop like pea pods, they don't zip open.

I'm beginning to dread the prospect of shelling all those beans.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 3:56PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

You can get pretty good at it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 7:01PM
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ltilton

HOW?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 8:03PM
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farmerdill

Don't follow you? Most varieties of lima beans shell easily when full, certainly easier than an English pea, southern pea. or green shellie. There are a few varieties that have a shell that resembles shrink wrap but not many.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:02PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I just press my thumb into the middle of the non-curved side and open it apart.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:02PM
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ltilton

OK, perhaps my difficulties in shelling these things indicate they aren't quite ripe to harvest yet. Although the beans do look ready once I extract a few. I want them as green shellies, not dried beans.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:17PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Well, I am reposting how to shell those green limas after picking and shelling some today. Twist the pod and it will open some...pick the beans out. I pick every 2 or 3 days to keep them tender. Nickle sized beans are great in the Fordhook 242.

The first set is near the base and I notice that young one are setting on the top as a second set.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 12:34PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Sorry, I or it made a duplicate.

This post was edited by wayne_5 on Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 12:42

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 12:39PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Some lima varieties are much easier to shell if you cut a narrow strip of the curved edge of the pod away with a sharp knife.

Don't eat limas raw. Like many legumes, they have toxic properties when raw.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 5:36PM
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ltilton

These Jackson Wonders are more like dime sized, which I think they're supposed to be. I'll go out tomorrow and see if I can extract any,

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 6:10PM
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ltilton

So these are the limas. I'd rather have them on the smaller side, as baby limas, but it's a lot easier to shell them when they've grown larger.

Still have to say they're harder to shell than peas.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 2:34PM
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