Lima Bean Growth
The Facts on Lima Bean Growth
Lima beans are members of a family known as edible legumes coming originally from Central America where lima bean growth is part of the countries staple crops. They have been cultivated easily from seeds for hundreds of years and eaten as vegetables all over the world. They are commonly known as the lima or butter beans.
The earlier varieties of lima beans were tough. They were raised for the dried beans within the pods and required long cooking times. It was only during the mid-19th century that they were considered for green beans. They are also a good crop because of their nutritional value including iron.
Because they need a warm climate, these beans are not as tough as most other beans. They need to be planted in late spring-after the cool days/night and in order to get the full benefit of the summer warmth. Soil temperature for lima bean growth needs to be at least 65 degrees F in order for beans to get the full benefit of proper germination.
Lima bean growth is fairly easy. They grow best in fertile soil in temperatures between 70-80 degrees and should be bright green and round before harvesting. Each plant yields several dozen beans - take that into consideration when planting. Many people grow plenty because they pressure can and freeze well. Be sure to keep the beans picked from the plants to keep bean production at its peak.
Fertilize beans with a good all purpose 20-20-20 blend then avoid adding additional nitrogen. Lima beans as well as other legumes have nitrogen nodules built into their root systems and once established produce their own nitrogen. You will know that there is too much nitrogen when flowering is delayed and excess vine growth occurs.
Though lima bean growth usually requires the average amount of water, limas do prefer a well-drained soil. Water as usual but do not let water stand around the plants as their root systems are shallow. If bean plants dry out their flowers could fall off before producing fruit.
Lima bean growth takes roughly 70 days from planting to maturity when conditions are right-full sun is plentiful and seeds have been planted about 1½” deep, 2-5” apart. When plants begin to germinate, thin them to 4-6” apart. As far as pests go, lima beans are susceptible to root maggots and vulnerable to bacterial and/or fungal foliar disease. Cutworms have a preferable taste for the beans also.
Like most legumes, limas are a rich source of fiber. Fiber lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent blood sugars from rising too quickly after a meal has been eaten. Their fiber is water soluble and good for preventing such conditions as constipation and digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diverticulitis. They are an excellent source of protein, as well and free of animal fat, making it a good choice for people with certain medical conditions- such as diabetes. Because they have this ability lima beans provide a steady energy lasting several hours.