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How to Grow Lima Beans

If you were one of those kids who actually ate their lima beans, you may enjoy growing your own.


  • Step 1: Determine type Determine which variety of lima bean you want to grow and decide whether you want to grow a bush or a pole plant.
  • Step 2: Start indoors Start your seedlings indoors 2 to 3 weeks before you intend to transplant them. Do not move the plants outside until after the last frost, and not until the soil temperature averages 65 degrees.
  • TIP: Use peat pots, since these can be transplanted whole without uprooting and potentially traumatizing your seedlings.
  • Step 3: Plant Plant your seeds 1 inch deep in loose soil that is compost-rich, spaced 6 inches apart in rows that are 2½ feet apart. If you're growing pole plants, add support at the time of transplantation.
  • Step 4: Thin the herd Thin your germinated seeds to an average of 5 inches apart, or space them this way when transplanting. Take care not to disturb the root systems when you're removing the weaker seedlings.
  • Step 5: Care for the plants Water your plants with 1 inch of water per week, but be careful not to disturb the flowers. Beans do not need nitrogen added to their soil, but you should keep the plants free from pests.
  • Step 6: Harvest Harvest your beans when the pods are plump and bright green, usually 70 days or so for bush plants and up to 90 days for pole plants. Expect up to three harvests if you pick the beans regularly.
  • Step 7: Enjoy Enjoy your lima beans, and, after all that hard work, don’t let anyone feed them to the dog.
  • FACT: Lima beans have been grown for over 8,000 years and are named after the capital city of Peru.

You Will Need

  • Lima bean seeds
  • A garden plot
  • Water
  • Support poles
  • Peat pots (optional)

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