Fordhook Lima Bean, also known as a Butter Bean, has been a consistent performer in vegetable gardens for over 60 years. Plants have a bush-style growing habit and may be densely planted to maximize growing space. It is adapted to a wide-variety of climates and is especially heat-tolerant for southernmost states. It also performs well in periods of dry weather. Plants produce large, 4″ pods that are easy to shell. Pods contain 3-5 large, plump seeds per pod. Fordhook Lima Bean was an All-America Selections winner in 1945 for it’s production and eating quality. The white beans have an excellent, nutty flavor that’s great for fresh eating. It is also a great variety for preservation. It retains flavor well when pressure-canned or when blanched and frozen.
Beans should be planted in spring after the last frost has occurred. Beans will germinate best once soil temps have reached 65 F or higher. Optimal germination temperature is around 77 F. Seeds can require 8 to 16 days to germinate, depending on the soil temperature. For continual production, succession plant every couple of weeks throughout the spring and early summer. Plants will drop blooms or cease production in the heat of summer. Subsequent succession plantings may be made in late summer/fall, as long as enough time is permitted before the first frost date.
Direct seeding is recommended. Beans should be planted relatively thick along the row and thinned to the desired spacing. To maximize garden space, consider using a double-row spacing on buried drip irrigation. For double-row spacing, rows may be planted as close as 6″ apart with 3′ spacing between double rows. For single row spacing, 2′ to 3′ spacing is recommended.
Fordhook Lima (Butter) Bean Planting Information
Planting Method: direct sow
When to Plant: after last frost
Planting Depth: 1″
Seed Spacing: 3-4″
Row Spacing: 3′
Days to Maturity: 50
Disease Resistance: None