Lima Beans

rgressSeptember 3, 2010

I planted Lima Beans this year and I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I planted them kind of late (Early June) but they came up nicely. The problem is even though they have lots of blooms I am not getting any bean pods forming. As far as I can tell not a single one.

I have 2 hills of about 6 plants each with a tomato catch for them to climb. The hills are about 5 feet apart.



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organicdan(z5b Nova Scotia)

They will come Randy. I have 30 plants of Henderson Bush Lima with 69 day maturity. Lots of blossoms that are only now producing beans. They are self-pollinating so the blossoms were a positive sign. With Earl about to drop some nice rain, and hopefully low winds, I shall have a harvest in 2-3 weeks.

At least my rain barrels will be refilled for any further drought.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 8:41PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

My May planted limas produced a first crop earlier. They have been blooming and they are forming a second flush in the top.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 2:24PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Like Dan's, the pole limas I planted in June are starting to bear. They just take a while, but once they start to flower, the bean pods follow pretty quickly.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 7:59PM
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So Saturday morning when I went to the garden what did I find but bean pods on the vine. I guess I should have posted the message a couple of weeks earlier to get them to set.

As you can probably guess I have never grown lima beans before. So my next question is: When do I harvest them? How do I tell the are ready to be picked?


    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 4:04PM
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I squeeze them between my fingers, and pull the ones that feel "fat" enough. You may have to try a couple times to get it right, then you can do it by feel. I try to pick them when still tender and green, but the larger whiter ones are good too. If I let some dry out, I save the seed for next year.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 4:42PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

The pods should be 4-6" long, if I remember right, and "chubby" as veeta says. It's like harvesting peas. You can probably find some fresh limas for comparison at the farmers' market.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:00PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

For green limas I don't like them to get large and starchy. Also whitish ones seem always very starchy.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:47AM
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My Lima's are doing GREAT! ( planted 4 year old seeds, just for kicks to see how long they stay "fertile". 47 out of 50 seeds sprouted & are flourishing.)

I can pick 'em with my eyes shut. :) I feel the pod & if it is "hairy" & has a "certain sound", I know it's ripe & ready to pick. (It takes practice to know which ones are as ripe as they're gonna get, but not OVERLY ripe.) All the pods have a certain feel to them. You can learn from them. In fact, you can even turn them toward the sun & see the beans inside.

I leave some of the pods to turn brown for seeds for next year. I keep the seeds for next year, laid out on a paper plate, in the house, for a couple of weeks to make sure they're dried & then I put them in a small paper sack...fold it over & put them in a cupboard.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 6:41PM
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Well you just answered my question! Now I know what to do with the lima bean pods that are older and dried. I didn't realize that they came in pole and bush. All I can find here are Fordhook and they're 2' bushes. One question tho. This is my first year growing them so I don't know what to expect from them. They have flowered well and then formed pods, now they are flowering again and forming new pods. Is that normal? I don't know how much longer we will have nice weather. If it gets really cold, I guess I could pick them and dry them for use in soups etc.? Thanks. Marg

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 12:15PM
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They'll keep flowering until they get get frost bitten. It doesn't take much frost to do 'em in.

Yep, you can dry 'em & use 'em in whatever ya want. Heaven forbid...don't waste a LIMA bean. :)

I freeze most of mine, while they're still green. No, I don't blanch them, either. I lay them on a cookie sheet until they're frozen, then I put 'em in a freezer bag.

Have fun! :)

btw...I ordered my Lima poles from Henry Fields. From then on, I've always saved my own seeds and used them.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 10:57PM
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I planted the Christmas limas and a few are filling out, but most of the pods still seem very flat. This weekend temps are supposed to get down into the 30s. Can I pick limas after a frost or will the frost do enough damage that the limas will suffer in taste or texture?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 9:01PM
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We're to get to 33 degrees over the weekend.

I picked beans today & will, tomorrow, but...if it's a hard frost...ya might as well hang it up. The frost won't hurt, but it'll stop the growth for the most part.

You'll get lotsa baby lima's that way.

A double cover over them just may help, if you have one.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 10:28PM
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