All beans are very fond of heat, more than all traditional crops, and lima beans are even more thermophilic than all other relatives.
Temperature... For comfortable growth, the plant needs a temperature of at least + 18 ° C, lima does not tolerate even small frosts. But he also does not like the heat above + 30 ° C; in the heat, the formation of ovaries sharply decreases due to the practically sterile pollen.
Humidity... Air humidity during the growing season should be moderate. If it's too dry, the buds fall off.
And this culture does not like strong soil moisture. It reacts especially badly to stagnant moisture in the upper layers of the soil. Therefore, it is better to sow it on light soils with good aeration. On heavy soils, beans ripen more slowly.
The soil... Lima grows well in neutral or slightly acidic soil. It grows on other types of soils, including clay, mountain, stony, but in this case it is necessary to refuel with organic matter (compost), potash and phosphorus fertilizers. Nitrogen usually does not need to be added, because the beans themselves are able to create them and fill the soil with them. Very poor soils can be an exception. The best predecessors of beans are potatoes and other nightshades, cucumbers.
Growing conditions... For planting this culture, you must choose a well-lit area, protected from possible drafts. In the fall, the site is dug up and for each square. a meter of area is added to 30-40 g of superphosphate. If necessary, the soil is limed at the rate of 300–500 g of dolomite flour per square meter. meter. In the spring, the prepared ridges are loosened and fertilized with complex compounds at the rate of 30–40 g per sq. M. square meter.
It is possible to create conditions acceptable for the growth of this southerner in the open field only in regions with a milder warm climate, and in the middle lane it will be necessary to use film greenhouses or greenhouses, especially at an early stage of plant development, when young roots and shoots are most susceptible to a decrease in temperature.
Sowinglima bean seed
Lima beans are sown when the threat of recurrent spring frosts has passed, and the soil warms up to a temperature of at least + 15 ... + 16 ° C. This usually happens in the last days of May.
With a square-nesting scheme, seeds are sown at a distance of 50-70 cm from each other, taking into account the rapid growth and size of adult plants. When planting in rows, a gap of 30–45 cm is left between them, reducing the distance between plants to ten centimeters. Curly ones are placed wider: up to 90 cm between rows and up to 30 cm in rows.
Seeds are planted to a depth of 3 to 6 cm. Depending on the variety and sowing scheme, up to 250 g of seeds are used per hundred square meters.
Seeds germinate together, especially if the air temperature reaches + 25 ° C. Seedlings appear within a week. After the development of the first true leaf, they are huddled to help young plants withstand gusts of wind.
At the slightest threat of a sharp drop in temperature, cover the area with landings with nonwoven material.
Carefor lima beans
Lima beans are short-day plants. The cultivation of this type of beans differs little from the agricultural techniques of legumes, traditional for the Russian gardener. The main need of a plant during flowering, mass formation and ripening of beans is moisture. But the accumulation and stagnation of water in the soil for lima beans is destructive, the fibrous roots of the plant quickly rot, and the beans die.
Further care consists in shallow careful loosening of the soil, regular removal of weeds and top dressing on soils that are not too rich in nutrition. Under the bushes, 10 grams of superphosphate and ammonium nitrate are applied per square meter.
Twice a season it is necessary to loosen the soil in the aisles.
Curly varieties must be directed upwards using a trellis or stakes hammered near each of the plants.You can use for this purpose planting corn, which becomes a natural support for the beans. For normal development and fruiting, she needs a lot of sunlight. Therefore, it should be placed only along the edges of the planting. If corn is used as props, then one bean seed is sown for two corn kernels.
Pest and disease resistance... One of the most important benefits of lima beans is that they are quite disease resistant and unattractive to pests. Moreover, the scent of its leaves scares away insects from neighboring plants. On the Pacific coast of the United States, where this crop is cultivated over significant areas, it is considered a natural repellent and is widely used as such. So it is advisable to place curly varieties of lima near gazebos or windows of garden houses - they save from harmful midges, mosquitoes and flies. And if you plant another valuable leguminous plant, dolichos, mixed with lima, you can create a living protective "screen" of extraordinary decorativeness.
Harvesting Lima Beans
Lima bean plants live up to 125 days. After germination, depending on the variety and shape of the plant, harvesting begins in 18-14 weeks. On bush plants, the ripening of the crop occurs a little earlier than on tall climbing varieties. Usually, ripe beans of early ripening varieties begin to be harvested in 70 days, late ones - 90 days after germination. The ripening period of the lima bean fruit is extended in time, sometimes the fruiting period is extended for two months. Green seeds are harvested in a milky state - at the beginning of waxy maturity, until their skin is coarse and the pulp retains its juiciness. Therefore, the harvest is carried out in several stages. To check the readiness of the seeds, you just need to pierce the skin. If this is difficult, the beans are already overripe and taste worse. These fresh green seeds can only be stored for 10-14 days in a refrigerator.
After hulling, ripe dried seeds are poured into glass jars with tight-fitting lids. You can store beans in this form for up to 6 months, always in a cool, dark place. If the storage rules are not followed, beans can quickly lose not only their original taste, but also most of the nutrients.
The value of the plant for summer residents lies not only in the harvest of seeds with a delicate taste. Having grown lima beans on your site, the aerial part of this plant can be used as a green fertilizer. Nodules with nitrogen formed on the roots of beans enrich the soil with this element, indispensable for plants.
About useful properties and culinary uses - on the page Lima beans.