The first and second year of growing the Christmas butter bean, I had great sucess. Now I’m lucky to get enough to can. Can you help?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Debby: This is such a beautiful bean! Christmas lima beans, also known as butter beans in the south, are sometimes referred to as the chestnut lima because of its nutty flavor. These heirloom beans are usually terrific producers so there is something else causing them not to produce. Beans will only be happy if we can provide them with the growing conditions they thrive in. They require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day. They should be planted in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. It is always a good idea to rotate crops every few years to help prevent disease. You might try growing them in another part of the garden this season. If your plants were lush and flowered before, then this is more likely a result of Mother Nature. Hot and dry conditions like we had last summer can cause the flowers to drop, preventing the bean from forming. As the pods are forming/growing, it is important that the plants receive a bit of extra moisture or this can slow down their production. So, there are a few different factors to take into account for this growing season. You may want to have your soil tested so you can amend it if need be. You can have your soil tested through your County Cooperative Extension Service. The Logan County phone number is (270) 726-6323 or you can visit their Web site at ces.ca.uky.edu/logan.