The lima bean (Phaseolus limensis) is also known as the butter bean due to its starchy texture. The bean pod is flat and contains kidney-shaped seeds that are generally cream or green in color. White, red, purple, brown and black lima beans are also available. There are two varieties of the lima bean: the bush type and the pole (vine) type. Although originally cultivated in Peru for thousands of years, lima beans are largely grown in Europe, Asia, and South and Central America.
Before Planting the Seeds
Before growing the lima bean plant, which is a tender annual, remember the following basics:
- Buy good quality starting seeds and sow them in moist soil, which is exposed to good sunlight and organic matter.
- The sowing depth should be at least 1 inch.
- Preferable soil pH is 6.0 to 6.8 and the soil temperature is 65 degrees F.
- Planting should be done only after the frost is over and gone.
- The germination time required is 6 to 18 days.
Best Time for Transplantation
It is advisable to grow the lima bean indoors before transplanting outdoors in your garden. Transplant the plants in the organically rich and moist soil with adequate sunlight. The plants will be fit for transplantation after 3 to 4 weeks from germination. Remember to transplant them 1 to 2 weeks after the last spring frost is over.
The bush variety grows up to 2 feet, while the pole variety grows 10 to 12 feet tall. While transplanting, make sure that there is sufficient gap between the plants to allow for proper sunshine and air circulation. The spacing between the plants should be 3 to 6 inches, and the spacing between the rows should be 18 to 36 inches.
For pole-type lima beans, plant the seeds 3 to 6 inches apart, and the spacing between the rows should be 24 to 36 inches.
Other Tips for Transplanting Lima Beans
Following are some other tips to avoid damage to the lima bean plant during and after transplanting outdoors:
- Ensure the starting seeds sown are disease-resistant. This will prevent most infections. Buy the good-quality seeds from authentic sellers. The seeds should not be sprayed with high doses of harmful pesticides.
- Crop rotation – this is necessary for most of the plants in your garden. Depending on the growth of the lima bean plant, do the crop rotation once a year to prevent rotting of the roots.
- The soil should be well drained and moist. It is better to prepare the soil properly before transplanting the lima bean plants.
- Remove spoilt plants, if any.
- Clear the area around the plants to keep away insects and other pests.
- Frequent and careful watering of the plants is also important.
Lima beans are rich in dietary fiber, folate, and iron and magnesium content. When combined with a variety of vegetables or grains, the beans become a rich source of protein. Lima beans also help in naturally maintaining the blood sugar levels and thus form an important part of a healthy diet. Properly transplanting the lima bean plant can go a long way in obtaining a good yield.