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Gardening: Knowing The Difference Between Pole And Bush Lima Beans

665 words - 3 pages

Knowing the difference between pole and bush lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) is essential before starting the seeds in your garden. Hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to11, these beans differ in yield and growing methods, which might make you prefer one over the other. (See References 1) Regardless of which type you grow, both are a nice addition in soups, stews and casseroles.
About the Yield

Bush and pole limas differ in that bush limas mature about 10 to 15 days earlier. The crops are produced all at once, making them ideal for freezing, and they mature in just 65 to 75 days. Pole limas produce a small amount each day and will continue to do so until the frost, as long as you harvest regularly. It takes pole beans about 85 to 110 days to mature. (See References 2 and 3) Although bush types tend to require less work, pole types produce more. A 10-foot row of bush beans can yield about 8 pounds, while a 10-foot ...view middle of the document...

(See References 3)
Inoculating Lima Beans

Beans fix their own nitrogen, but if you've never grown lima beans before, the bacteria needed for them to do this is most likely not present in the soil. Inoculating the seeds with nitrogen-fixing bacteria before sowing can introduce the essential bacteria to the soil, benefiting the plants during their critical growth stage and increasing your yield. Although pre-inoculated seeds are available, you can also inoculate the lima bean seeds yourself with their designated rhizobium bacteria known as Bradyrhizobium sp. (Vigna). (See References 2, 5 and 6)
Starting Lima Beans

Start lima beans after the last frost date, when the soil has warmed up to at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit. Sow the seeds at least one inch deep. If you're planting bush limas, space the seeds at least 2 inches apart in rows that are at least 18 inches apart. If you're growing pole limas, space the seeds at least 4 inches apart, in rows that are at least 30 inches apart. If you're using a teepee-style support, sow 4 to 6 of the pole bean seeds in hills that are spaced 30 inches apart and keep a distance of 30 inches between the rows. (See References 7)
Key Concepts

lima bean production
growing lima beans
pole bush limas

References

Floridata: Phaseolus lunatus [http://www.floridata.com/ref/p/phas_lun.cfm]
Arizona Cooperative Extension: Vegetable Garden: Selected Vegetable Crop [https://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/beans.html]
National Gardening Association: Bush & Pole Bean Varieties [http://www.garden.org/foodguide/browse/veggie/beans_getting_started/442]
Gardening: The Complete Guide; Miranda Smith [http://books.google.com/books?id=9bJBjJPRseoC&pg=PA83&dq=growing+lima+bean+pounds+per+plant&hl=en&sa=X&ei=azxPU-rdM4-qyATp0YGwBg&ved=0CFYQ6AEwAzgK#v=onepage&q=growing%20lima%20bean%20pounds%20per%20plant&f=false]
San Diego County Master Gardener Association: Beans [http://www.mastergardenerssandiego.org/guides/index.php?season=1&ID=21&tab=1]
INTX Microbials: Which Inoculant for What Legume... [http://intxllc.com/files/5327/WhichInoculant.pdf]
University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Home Gardening Series - Beans [http://www.uaex.edu/publications/pdf/FSA-6003.pdf]

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