Simmon's Red Streak Lima Bean (Semi-Pole)
During our winter bean tasting, this pretty mottled lima (like a white butterbean dipped in blood-red wine) was a favorite, receiving 10 out of 10 stars for its delicious, buttery, smooth flavor. This is also a great bean for small gardens - the semi-pole runners grow only about 4 feet long with most of the pods towards the bottom. With crinkly, waxy leaves and white flowers, this plant is much shorter than most pole varieties. While mostly used as a dry bean, the fresh shelly bean is also good when picked young. According to William Woys Weaver, who gave us this seed originally, this bean is also known as John Harmon Lima, a Pennsylvania Dutch variety taken to West Virginia where it has been preserved. Dr. Weaver received the seeds from Seed of Change in the early 1990's.
Days to maturity: 65
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. Thin to one plant every four to six inches.
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.