How to Grow Lima Beans in Your Vegetable Garden How to Grow Lima Beans in Your Vegetable Garden
Lima beans are a great addition to any vegetable garden. Native to Central America, these nutritious annuals should be included in every garden designing because of the ease with which they are grown.
Follow these steps to make them a part of your vegetable garden so you and your family can enjoy healthy lima beans or their smaller variety known as butter beans.
Step 1: Select Bean Variety
You can grow two varieties of lima beans in your vegetable garden: the bush and pole varieties. Select the bush variety if you have plenty of space, since this plant grows thick foliage on the ground, while the pole variety is ideal for vertical growth, especially if you want space for varied vegetable planting. Bush variety is ready to harvest 55 to 75 days after planting, while pole variety is ready 78 to 93 days after planting.
Fordhook 242, Baby Fordhook and Henderson’s Bush are bush varieties that are easy to grow, while King of the Garden and Christmas are pole beans preferred by home gardeners.
Step 2: Prepare the Soil and Plant Seeds
Make sure you sow your seeds a few weeks after the last frost and the soil temperature is at least 65 degrees F to encourage quick germination.
Select the part of your vegetable garden that gets full sun. Loosen the soil with a hand trowel and amend it with a mild liquid fertilizer.
Plant bush bean seeds an inch deep into the soil, and space them 3 inches apart. Plant the seeds in rows 2 feet apart from one another.
Plant pole bean seeds 6 to 8 inches apart and space the rows 3 feet apart. To encourage bean growing after germination, insert bamboo stakes deep into the soil. Plant five seeds at each stake to encourage an upward growth.
Step 3: Frequently Water
Water the seeds frequently to moisten the soil, since bean seeds are not drought resistant. Seeds will germinate 1 week to 10 days after planting.
Step 4: Thin Seedlings
Once seedlings are 1 ½ to 2 inches tall, cut them out at soil level to space them at least 4 inches apart, to encourage them to grow well.
Step 5: Seedling Care
Continue watering the soil around the plants, carefully avoiding the leaves to prevent mildew. Avoid letting the soil around the seedlings dry up, since lack of water may cause the flowers to drop prematurely once they blossom, without producing many pods. Add compost to your plants frequently.
Pests such as flea beetles, mites, caterpillars and aphids may be a problem. Avoid insecticides since you are growing edible vegetables. Tackle these pests by dousing them in water at the highest setting from your hose. Also clean your vegetable garden frequently and remove any debris and dead leaves.
Step 5: Harvest Lima Beans
Pick the seeds when they appear to swell in the pods, since leaving them longer than required will cause them to become tough. Remember to pick every other day to prolong production all through the summer months.