lima beans

Every year we plant lima beans (which we love) and rarely do we get more than a couple of meals worth. We have a short growing season (most years June 1 - October 1, but this year 5/15-10/15)) and it is often not too warm and pretty wet in the summer (but this year hot and dry). Regardless, the limas do poorly. This year the plants flourished and looked better than they ever have, often the seeds don't even germinate, but they blossomed late and did not set properly. Other beans in adjacent rows did great. We have always planted Fordhook.
Does anybody have any advice? I would kill (well, no not really) to be able to grow lima beans successfully.
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according to some things I have read, limas require more heat and a longer growing season than other beans. Maybe that is your problem in general. Unfortunately, beans don't usually transplant well, so I don't know if starting them early indoors would do any good in your climate.

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Try putting black plastic over the garden row a month ahead of time to warm the soil, and then plant two weeks earlier. I had the same problem here in upstate NY (zone 5), so I'll be trying this trick next year.

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Clear plastic provides more heat to the soil than black plastic. However, it also lets the weeds grow underneath. I've used a combination over melons in New England and had good results. Start with the black plastic. Place hoops of wire with clear plastic over them over the black plastic. I use a slitted plastic so when I put the plants in there is some ventilation. The melons like temperatures in the 100's, but not sure about limas.
I've had good luck transplanting things that "don't like to be transplanted" by using peat pots. I haven't had much luck with the peat pellets, but the pots work well.
When the melons [limas] are ready to be planted (3 true leaves or thereabouts) slide back the clear plastic, punch holes in the black plastic, make some mud in the hole and press (gently) the peat pot into the mud. Then put back the clear plastic.
I take the clear plastic off when the plants start to grow out the slits.
This works on melons. I haven't tried it on limas. You can push the season by two or three weeks.
Tom J wrote:

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On Fri, 21 Oct 2005 12:00:12 GMT, "Doug Kanter"

Chinese peasants used to run a pipe from their kitchen/cooking equipt/whatever, under ground. Warmed the soil very nicely. Would this be do-able in any way?
--
Persephone


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