The Q&A Archives: Better Yield on Lima Beans

Question: My yield on the large Fordhook lima beans is poor. The vines grow very well with much foilage, but I do not seem to get many beans. In contrast, the yield on the Baby Fordhook lima bean is excellent. What should I do to get a better yield with the large lima beans.

Answer: Lima beans require more heat to mature than snap beans, and are generally grown in the Southwest states. If your baby lima's are producing well, but the larger, meatier, 'potato' type beans are not, it's probably because the summer weather just isn't warm enough for a long enough period of time for the beans. There's not much you can do to control the weather, but you may be able to trap some heat inside a floating row cover. Try spacing several hoops over your row of large lima's and draping a row cover (like Reemay) over the hoops to help hold in the heat. You can leave the ends open, but anchor the edges to the soil so it doesn't blow away. Better luck in the coming season!

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