Lima Bean Container Growing Tips
The Lima bean, which has its origin in South America, is commonly grown by households in the backyard for their nutritional and medicinal purposes. The domestic variety is smaller than the wild one, and can be easily grown in containers.
Lima bean plants need optimal growing conditions, especially when you are growing them in containers. Using well-drained soil and preparing a suitable potting mix are equally important to obtain a good yield of lima beans. Following are some of the tips for growing lima beans in containers.
Choosing the Right Variety
When containers are used for planting lima bean plants, the seeds of the bush-type lima beans are usually preferred to those of pole variety. Pole-type lima bean plants usually grow up to a height of 10 to 12 feet. Moreover, they require more space, water, and nutrients to yield sufficient harvest. All these requirements cannot be met when they are grown in a container. Always use certified seeds of the bush variety, which are already treated with pesticides. Lima beans grow optimally in warm climate; hence, it is advisable to sow them during late spring.
Choosing the Right Container
Plants require sufficient space for their roots to grow. Ideally, 3 to 6 seeds should be placed per square foot in soil. Every seed should be planted at a depth of at least 1 inch so that the roots grip the soil properly after sprouting. Consider using at least 6 to 8 containers for planting so that an optimum yield is obtained.
For lima beans, the soil should be medium to light loamy type soil, rich in organic matter, and well drained. Avoid using garden soil as it may already be contaminated with fungi and bacteria, which may hamper the growth of the lima bean plant. Instead use sterile soil, which is easily available in the market.
Lima beans require adequate sunlight for proper growth and yield. These plants require warmth, but excessive or deficient temperatures are likely to cause damage to the plant and hence affect their yield. Put them near windows or open spaces where there is ample sunlight. Temperatures ranging from 70 to 90°C (158 to 194°F) are most ideal for the germination and growth of lima beans.
Water and Drainage
The plants should be watered once a week. However, in dry and warm climate, the frequency can be increased. The container should also contain well-drained soil. Holes can be made at the bottom of the container so that the excess water drains out of it.
Lima bean plants are susceptible to infection. Therefore, it is advisable to spray the plants with pesticides as well as soapy water to protect them from disease causing organisms. Gardeners should also ensure that no weeds grow along with the plants in the container. Weeds usually draw the nutrients and moisture from the soil, which are essential for the growth of the lima bean plants. This can slow the growth of the plant, eventually leading to low yields.
The beans are ready to be harvested in matter of 70 days after planting. Make sure that the pods are full. Pluck them while they are still tender. Harvest the plants periodically so that new beans can grow on plants.