Pink Eye Butterbeans (Pole)
These are beautiful, creamy off-white butter beans with pinkish purple eyes and matching speckles. This is a vigorous grower, and so even when planted late, it was very productive. The beans turn brown when cooked (making a dark pot liquor) and have a creamy texture and flavor. One kindergartner said they were her favorite dish at our annual Thanksgiving meal! It is difficult to trace the history of this very rare bean.
Much of our seed came from Mike Bland of Valley Park, Mississippi, and he received them from Karen Faulk Williams of Faulk's Farm and Garden Supply in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Karen got them from someone named Frank Smith, also of Vicksburg. Some of our stock was multiplied from a single seed shared with us last year by Brendan Stehman, a rooftop farmer from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Days to maturity: 70
Seeds per pack: 32
Planting / harvesting notes
Plant in warm soil at least a couple weeks after the last danger of frost has passed. Sow directly in the ground at a depth of one inch, spaced every few inches in rows 12 inches apart (or on either side of a trellis). Thin to one plant every four to six inches. Provide a sturdy trellis as the vines can grow eight feet tall.
Seed keeping notes
Lima beans are self-pollinating, though it is best to isolate different varieties of P. lunatus by at least 150 feet to avoid unwanted cross-pollination from flying insects. For seed saving, harvest the beans when their shells have become dried and crispy on the plants. Lay out the pods in a dry, sunny place to dry down further. Shell the beans and lay out the seeds in a well ventilated place away from direct sunlight for at least another few days to a week before storing for next year.