Lima beans are an interesting crop of beans that grow in the warm season. They are native to Central America, but can be grown elsewhere. They are a very nutritious bean – high in protein, thiamine, riboflavin and iron.
So you might ask yourself, “How do I grow lima beans?” It isn’t too difficult. They are similar to snap beans if that helps. However, growing lima beans entails specific requirements culturally.
How to Grow Lima Beans
As a native to Central America, lima beans require a soil temperature no lower than 65 F. (18 C.), which helps the plants germinate. Plant lima beans about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm.) deep into the warm soil. Space your rows about 2 feet (60 cm.) apart, and then in the rows, space the seeds 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.) apart. After planting lima beans, watch for signs of germination because you will want to thin the plants to about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) apart.
Growing lima beans is done best at temperatures between 70 and 80 F. (21-28 C.), so summertime is definitely the time to grow them.
Lima beans may come in a pole variety or a bush variety. When growing lima beans in the bush variety, the Fordhook 242, Henderson’s Bush and Baby Fordhook are the easiest.
Watering should be done at a rate of about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) a week during the time blossoms and pods are developing, and whether the water comes from irrigation or rain doesn’t matter. If they lack water during the blossoming time, the flowers will drop prematurely and you won’t get many pods.
When to Harvest Lima Beans
Planting and growing lima beans is not difficult, neither is harvesting them. When to harvest lima beans depends a lot on the weather conditions in your area and also varies from variety to variety, with 65 to 75 days being about the average amount of time it takes to make a crop.
You can harvest your beans when the pods are bright green in color and well-filled.
Depending on your local temperature and other factors, you can have a great yield, with more lima beans that you can use. You can store fresh picked lima beans at about 32 F. (0 C.) with 90 percent humidity for about two weeks. You can also freeze them or can them, depending on your preference.