Thursday, December 22, 2016

Lima Beans - Not a Complete Failure

I'm finally getting some lima beans, so this experiment hasn't been a complete failure. The vines started out growing well and looking great. Then they flowered quite heavily and started producing little pods, but they all aborted or were empty. No lima beans. Then the rains stopped. For five weeks the farm saw very, very little rain. 

I had already lost interest in the limas by the time the rain stopped. I never gave them a thought. But after a couple weeks I did notice that the vines looked dry and started dropping leaves. Why waste good water on non-producing vines, I thought to myself. Plus, a friend gratefully gave me a few dozen fresh beans so that I could plant them down at the seed farm, where I hoped they would do better. 

By the end of the dry five weeks, the plants looked pathetic, mere shadows of their former lush selves......
Then the rains returned and the vines started sprouting fresh growth. 

Today I finally got around to those vines. I figured I'd cut them way back and let them regrow and see what happens. Would the vines continue to live? Or since it is wintertime, would they die off? 

Surprise! I found some pods....with beans! Not many, about four dozen pods. But they definitely have beans in them, ranging from 1 to 3 per pod. 

Carefully opening up one, I discovered a mature limas. Wow! 

Soooo, limas will indeed grow here. But obviously I've got problems. Now I need to figure things out and find out how to actually grow these buggahs. 

Questions to mull over...
,..was there too much rain? they need dry to set pods?
...did a pollinator move in during the dry spell? 
...was there too much lush growth? the soil fertility off? 
...was the lack of daily sunshine a factor? 
...the tradewinds had returned. Was that a factor affecting pollination? 
...was stressing the plants a factor? I missing something? 


  1. I love these kinds of surprises! Pretty amazing, actually. My one try at limas yielded about half a dozen, so I never tried it again. Maybe I should.

    1. Give it another try...who knows. Perhaps they will find this year's weather more to their liking,

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  4. They tend to be perennial where it doesn't freeze so they may just get better and better as they build up the underground storage bulb.

    1. Glad the hear that they might be perennial in my region. So I'm going to clean them up and pay better attention to them.

  5. George, thanks for all the info!!! It has given me a lot more to think about and explore. My knowledge of Lima beans is next to nil, so every bit of information is appreciated. Thanks!