Hopi Lima results

carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)November 4, 2011

Zeedman sent me some Hopi limas in a trade a while ago, and this year I felt like my garden was free enough of virus problems to plant some of them.

Production during hot weather:

I didn't plant seeds until June (so I could check for disease development in the garden). They came up readily in hot soil. I watered them more than you would water bean seeds in cool soil. The vines climbed my 4 foot fence quickly but were not particularly rampant. They set pods in the hottest part of summer - not like my usual Forhook 242s. It's like the plants settled into producing pods very quickly, as would be necessary in a desert climate.

Use as shellies:

The pods were smaller, smoother and much less fleshy than Fordhooks. I picked some in September - some already dried on the vine and some at the mature green shelly stage. I cooked the shellies. They were somewhat mealy and slightly sweet - with a flavor closer to chestnut than to the typical, distinctive "lima" flavor. Shellies are much easier to shell than green Fordhooks.

Dried Limas

I picked another batch of dried-on-the-vine pods yesterday in anticipation of rain. There are still green pods at various stages of growth on the vine, as well as blossoms. Some of the dry pods shattered in my hand as I was picking them. I expect that in the desert they might throw seeds a short distance from the mother plant. If you had a large batch of beans, I think it would be easy to crush the thin, smooth pods and winnow the pod fragments out of the beans on a breezy day.

The dried beans displayed a variety of sizes and colors. Some looked like an over-grown black-eyed pea, but most were flatter. Some were about the size of the typical dried baby lima you buy at the grocery store, but not as broad from scar to the opposite edge and sometimes a little thicker from side to side. Colors ranged from cream (usually with a dark eye and/or markings) to combinations of a creamy rust color to dark russet to black. The dark seeds had a sooty appearance upon opening the pods, but became shiny with even slight handling.


Some of the seeds were eaten by a burrowing insect which drilled through the pod and ate part or all of one seed inside. I found a weevil-like insect in one pod (much larger than a flour weevil and lighter in color) and one fat little spider which was probably looking for insects which were eating my beans. I found one wooly caterpillar on a plant -- probably a Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar.

A few of the beans developed split skins - particularly on the light-colored beans. Inconsistent watering might have contributed to this.

Bottom Line:

A beautiful small lima with a range of interesting colors. I especially liked the black ones and the patterned dark ones. Chestnut flavor, a little mealy as a shelly bean - could be especially good mashed like potatoes. Easy to grow, harvest and shell. A good variety to have on hand in case of serious drought. Produces quickly in hot weather, unlike limas which won't set until fall. Keeps producing even after some beans dry on the vine. Thanks for the seeds, Zeedman.

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Thanks for this report. Now I really want these. I am in Texas, and the state climatologist says the exceptional drought we have been in since last year will probably continue through next year. I didn't get any beans this year, so I would love to find some that could take the heat next year.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2011 at 2:34PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

I could send you samples of the color variations, but I don't have enough seed to produce a real crop. I only grew out a few plants. I saw some individual color selections of Hopi Lima online. I think one type was available in bulk.

We've had some light frosts now (not killing frosts) and I may still get a few shellies off the plants if I'm lucky. If you decide to grow these, I would recommend growing on a vertical support if at all possible.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:55PM
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