Giant Peruvian Lima

fliptx(Houston 9)June 6, 2007

I have some Giant Peruvian Limas that I'll be cooking soon, and thought I'd save out a few to plant. I found a lot of culinary info on the web but my bleary eyes can't find much about cultivation.

Has anyone grown them? I assume they're pole type, but when should I plant them? Now? Or wait till about September? (My county's cooperative extension says limas can be planted in Sept, but I've never tried it.)

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Howdy fliptx!

I can't help you on planting time, though I suspect that the extension agent is giving good advise. Do you know if these were grown and produced in the USA, or were they imported? If they were imported I hope you have a very long growing season, as they may be day length sensitive. I have seed to some Mexican & Guatemalan limas which absolutely won't produce seed here in Oklahoma. They're only "thinking" of flowering when our first hard frost hits.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:45PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Ditto on George's comments. I tried to grow "Incan Giant" from Redwood City Seed Co. last year, which I presume is the same lima. They were started 3 weeks early in peat pots. I might as well have planted them in July for all the good it did me! They grew slowly, and did not even blossom until early Autumn. When the frost hit, the pods were only beginning to fatten.

FlipTx, they might succeed for you in your climate... but there are so many other limas that might do better. My recommendation would be to try one of the varieties from Southern Seed Legacy, or from the Seed Savers Exchange.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Seed Legacy

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 4:59PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Ooh thanks for the input, Zeedman and George. I always forget about things like daylength sensitivity. I have no idea if they were produced in the US or elsewhere. I bought a scoopful at a Whole Foods type store and that was that. :)

My thinking was that since my garden is so small, if I want to grow beans for shelling fresh or drying, I'd better choose something BIG to make it worth my while.

I'll check both SSL and SSE. Are there any limas I should pay special attention to? In the spring I mostly grow bush type legumes so they don't shade the rest of the garden, but if I'm planting in September I'll be able to use poles or teepees.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 6:58PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

For bush varieties, "Fordhook 242" has medium sized, but very fat seed of excellent flavor. "Burpee's Improved" has flatter, but much larger, seeds. I think that "Fordhook" is the more reliable of the two.

There are many good pole varieties. My favorite (when I lived in SoCal) was "King of the Garden". As a green shell, it was tender, with a honey-like sweetness and a smooth, creamy texture. The yield for me was very high.

"Christmas" has flatter, quarter-sized or larger, red-striped beans. It has a potato-like texture.

There are several crosses of the two, "Big Frosty" is, I believe, one of them.

I can get either of the above to mature for me here, in a good year - 1 out of 5. There are others I have not tried. "Dr. Martin" is one of the largest, and requires a long season - which should be no problem in Houston. It might be your best alternative to the "Giant Peruvian". Just be prepared for large vines.

Of course, there are many smaller limas that come in beautiful colors, such as the Hopi strains. I grew one last year, and it was medium-sized, fine-textured, and rich-flavored without being sweet. It bore very heavily - but unfortunately, just began to mature here before being killed by frost (although I did get some dry seed). It was a multi-colored Hopi strain from another SSE member, but I am attaching a link to another source. They carry many other arid-country beans as well... you could spend years checking them all out. ;-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Native Seeds/SEARCH

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 8:34PM
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I grow Flossie Powell an heirloom from KY which I received through the SSE from Harold R. Martin of Hopkinsville, KY; who in turn got it from an aunt named Ethel Martin. Ethel Martin received her start of seed from Flossie Powell in 1922. It's a medium sized bean (beautiful beige/white/brown mottled) and grows well on poles or corn. It's been productive for me in Mexico, in the high desert; NJ, and here in Oklahoma.

I also grow an heirloom which I received through SSE member, Jack E. Rice of Laurinburg NC back in 1985. It's called Calico Willow Leaf Pole Lima. It is quite prolific and of rampant growth. Seed is very small, maroon & black mottled. It was only last year that I can recall ever seeing it reoffered, and that, in spite of the fact that I sent seed to Decorah, IA when we first left the country.

I lost my seed while living in Mexico. Then in 1998, after 10 years, I was visiting my parents in NJ. My father had made a lamp ten years earlier, and filled the base with beans from my old collection. I managed to get about six of them. I took them back to Mexico, and planted them in 1999. Two grew. I was delighted! However, when the vines had green pods on them, I had to go away on a trip, and upon my return I discovered that some kid had yanked up the vines. After some looking (I actually tracked the kid through the corn fields!) I found a bedraggled vine, with a couple of pods still attached. Eureka! I saved about 10 seeds, planting them in 2003. Since then I've grown it a number of times. In the last couple of years I've sent out a number of samples. So hopefully it will get off of the "endangered list." It's a funny feeling to hold 6 old seeds in you hand and think "These could be the only ones of their kind in THE WHOLE WORLD!"

An anecdote from
George in Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 1:32PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

Thanks again, George and Zeedman! I think I'll try Christmas to start. They're certainly beautiful and with the size of them, even my small garden would be able to produce enough to eat and save.

George, I love your anecdote! You sound like the Indiana Jones of beans.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2007 at 7:37PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

*smacks self in the head*

I completely forgot that I had intended to plant limas in September.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 8:00AM
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i've successfully grown dr. martin limas & here in pa. too. yes, they are a pole grow them successfully, you must wait till the soil is thorouhly warmed, pregerminate them, then place them 3 or 4 seeds to a mound (good organic matter, well composted manure in the soil as they are nitrophiles). you onlyplace the bottom half of the seed in the ground(root side down)as the seed leaves are large enough that it can break the stem trying to push the entire seed pod up & clear of the ground. i planted 4x4 posts at ea. end of the row with plastic coated clothes line strung tightly from one to the other. then you dangle twine down to train each plant up to the clothes line. i watered w/ manure tea once a week throughout the vegative growth stage. i foliar fed with a high phosphurus liquid fertilizer after the pods started'll be amazed at how well they'll do.each lima bean bigger than a quarter!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 6:51AM
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I have a long growing season for Lima beans.
What does the Giant Peruvian taste like?
Where is the best place to buy them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 11:25AM
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