Lima beans are one of the popular crops for self-growing. So if you like to tinker with the vegetable garden and enjoy homemade tasty food, welcome to this blog article where I will tell you what lima beans are and how to grow them properly.
What are lima beans?
Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus), are very similar to the butter bean and chad bean varieties. They are all legumes of the Fabaceae family. The lima bean is an herbaceous annual plant native to Central America. The plant has an erect stem and can reach a height of 2-3 m. The leaves are compound, where triple oval leaves are present. The lima bean also has loose inflorescences, which most often have to be harvested. This kind of bean is most often planted, due to its fast growth, nutrients and ease of cultivation.
The benefits of lima beans
The benefits of the lima bean are numerous, as it is considered a valuable source of nutrients. It helps regulate blood cholesterol levels, so people with this problem should include lima beans in their daily diet. It also stabilizes blood sugar levels, which is why it is picked up by people with diabetes. Lima beans are a great choice for women on a diet. The legume satiates quickly and at the same time does not recoil in the form of fat. The substances in beans help strengthen teeth, increase visual acuity, improve intestinal motility, strengthen the immune system, and help flush toxic substances out of the body.
Types of lima beans
There are several types of lima beans:
- Jackson’s Miracle – have a brown color with yellow streaks or spots. They are very fond of heat and yield, 66 days after planting;
- King of the Gardens – have a white color and mature 88 days after planting;
- Christmas – matures 90 days after planting and the color of the beans is a rich burgundy color with white scattering.
How to grow lima beans?
The most common question newcomers ask is: When to plant lima beans? They are usually planted in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. The plants grow best in a sunny location with well-drained soil. And all because this kind of legume belongs to the heat-loving crops and it is important to avoid frosts after planting. The soil must not be colder than 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the seeds to germinate.
Place of planting
Lima beans can be planted outdoors and in greenhouses. If you plan to grow them outdoors, you need to choose a place where the sun shines most of the day. The soil should also be loose enough so that the roots can develop properly. Lima beans should not be planted next to Christophe onions, scallions, and alliums. This type of onion and other crops that belong to the Allium family, as they can stifle seed growth and in other cases interfere with the development of the root system.
It is important to plant the seeds 2 to 4 inches apart so that the seeds do not interfere with development. It is important to place the rows themselves 2.5 or even 3 meters apart. Bean seeds should be buried 1 inch deep, and seedlings should be thinned 3 to 6 inches apart. The first shoots should appear in a week or two with proper seeding and good sunshine.
Lima beans need a lot of sunlight to grow properly, so it is necessary to ensure that they receive at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. If you live in an area with very hot summers, it is best to plant your lima beans in partial shade to prevent them from burning out in the heat.
Lima beans grow best in loose, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. The soil should also be rich in organic matter to help the plants retain moisture and nutrients. If your soil is not suitable for growing lima beans, you can improve it by adding compost or other organic matter. It is worth understanding that lima beans will not grow properly in heavy clay soil.
Lima beans need regular watering, especially when young and during flowering and fruiting. The soil should be moist, but not waterlogged. Water lima beans at ground level to avoid getting the foliage wet, which can lead to fungal diseases. Watch for the first seedlings to emerge, this is the moment that will tell you when it’s time to water the beans more. If it suddenly senses a drought, then the beans will drop the pods/flowers and there will be no harvest.
Temperature and humidity
Lima beans are heat-loving plants and need temperatures of at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. The ideal temperature for growing lima beans is between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Lima beans can tolerate light frosts, but they will not produce pods if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lima beans do not need a lot of fertilizer to get a good crop. However, they will benefit from a light application of nitrogen-rich fertilizer at planting and again when they begin to bloom. You can also feed lima beans with compost or other organic matter during the growing season.
Popular Questions and Answers
How long do lima beans take to ripen?
Lima beans are a warm-season crop, meaning they grow in hot weather and do not tolerate frost. In general, lima beans take 60 to 90 days to mature, although some varieties may mature a little faster or slower.
What is the taste of lima beans?
Lima beans have a starchy, nutty taste. They are often used in dishes that also include other strong-tasting ingredients, such as bacon or tomatoes.
How to cook lima beans?
Lima beans can be cooked in a variety of ways. They can be boiled, baked, or fried.
Are lima beans an annual or perennial plant?
Lima beans are an annual plant. This means that they grow for one season and then die. Each year, farmers must plant new lima bean seeds if they want to harvest a crop.
What diseases and pests are lima beans susceptible to?
The main diseases and pests affecting lima beans are:
- Bacterial wilt;
- powdery mildew;
- Leaf spotting;
- Bean weevil.