Author Topic: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses  (Read 721 times)

S.Simonsen

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Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« on: 2020-06-03, 03:46:57 PM »
I recently got my hands on some greater diversity of lima beans. We mostly have the large seeded/low land form called madagascar bean, which has very large seeds which are mostly white with red flecks. I picked up what looks like the reverse colour form, mostly red with white flecks. Alongside them I got some small seeded/high land forms, a dark black-red, a white with black flecks and a mottled pale brown, along with a large white seeded bush type (probably Hendersons by the look of it).

I am finding Lima beans to be the only reliable staple legume for my area. We have a native insect called a pod sucking bug that destroys pigeon pea, cow peas and common vulgaris beans as well, but mostly leaves lima beans alone for some reason. The limas also seem to avoid the worst of mold/rot in the pod here, probably due to podding in early winter when things are usually drying out.

Lima bean diversity in Australia is pretty limited since we cannot import easily any more. So I am keen to create my own. Any advice on how to to hand pollination? We have a very active and diverse solitary bee population here so maybe just interplanting all the varieties and letting them do the job would work? Do large and small seeded forms cross readily (they are different domestications of the same original species apparently).

Andrew Barney

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #1 on: 2020-06-04, 09:42:44 AM »
Where would one find greater Lima bean diversity even here in the states? I am only really aware of Christmas limas and maybe a white "butter bean" in the south. It seems like with the increase in popularity of putting soy beans in food Lima bean use has dropped dramatically commercially.

Andrew Barney

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Ferdzy

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #3 on: 2020-06-04, 12:59:43 PM »
Lima beans are hard to get hold of. We have been growing them more and more because they have decent to good resistance the anthracnose which blights our garden. It's been hard to put together even our little collection, and I think we are planting 7 types this year, after looking out for all the pole Limas we could find. Christmas isn't one of them; the one time we planted it, it did not survive our cool summer.

We're growing Potawatomi, Alabama, King of the Garden, Flossie Powell, North Star, and Hort's Climbing (Pea). The last three all came from Great Lakes Staple Seeds, along with Dixie Speckled Butterpea (bush). Not getting great germination from that last one and none of them have more than 2 leaves at this point. Sherck's was the other seed company we got Lima beans from, except for the King of the Garden which came from Stokes a good few years back. We had to grow it for 5 years before we had it adapted enough to our garden to get enough to cook and eat any.

This is the third year (so 2 complete seasons) growing the first three listed together. Thus far, no crossing observed.

reed

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #4 on: 2020-06-04, 01:02:37 PM »
There are several available at places like Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Baker Creek and Sandhill Preservation. I'm pretty sure that they cross pollinate fairly easily, at least I hope so as I grew several last year all mixed together. Suzanne Ashworth in her book, "Seed to Seed" says "All varieties of both small-seeded and large-seeded limas will cross with one another". She goes on to recommend a full mile of separation to keep a variety pure, which of course is the last thing I want to do.

They don't do all that well here so I'm in hopes some more productive ones will show up in the crossing. Also hope to find some intermediate sized vines, maybe in the range of 4 or 5 feet instead of the giant very long season ones that I'm used to seeing.

S.Simonsen

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #5 on: 2020-06-04, 02:15:58 PM »
Good to hear other places overseas are preserving a decent amount of diversity in the species. And a pity us Aussies can't tap into it (as is often the case). I think I have enough diversity to start my population, and it is a relief to learn they all cross pretty readily with natural pollinators. I will be able to save my energy and just interplant all the strains I am starting with. I really like the giant rampant forms since they can quickly form a dense canopy that reduces my weeding requirements. Perennial for a few years is also a useful trait since that lines up with my rotations. I don't mind that they are a bit time consuming to harvest and process if those other duties are reduced.

Diane Whitehead

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #6 on: 2020-06-04, 08:38:38 PM »
Ones being sold currently in Canada are

Baby Bush, Early Bush, Early Thorogreen, Eastland, Fordhook 242, Henderson Bush / Henderson's Dwarf, Jackson Wonder, King of the Garden,
Willow Leaf White

The only one I've grown is Christmas, from Reimer.  I don't think I ate any, as I don't like lima beans, but they were very pretty.

 Reimer has several kinds and will export anywhere in the world.  I have sent packages of seeds to Australia, after checking first that they were on the approved list, of course.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
cool mediterranean climate  warm dry summers, mild wet winters,  70 cm rain,   sandy soil

Ferdzy

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #7 on: 2020-09-21, 11:22:10 AM »
This is the third year (so 2 complete seasons) growing the first three listed together. Thus far, no crossing observed.

Okay! Well, that was then. This year, I think I'm seeing some crossing. In the photo: NorthStar in the top right (grown for first time this year and neither a parent nor a cross); Potawatomi in the bottom middle, with a little group of what I believe to be a natural fluctuation in the colour a little to the upper right of it; directly above it what I believe to be a cross, and above that what I also believe to be a cross, maybe even the same cross; and finally to the left side we have Alabama the original and Alabama in a slightly different colour. Is that the result of a cross? Or was Alabama always kind of variable and I just never noticed? There are cream coloured ones with an eye that goes from non-existant to strongly marked, and there's a more taupe coloured one that seems to have consistent eyes.

Can anyone comment on these? Especially anyone who has grown Alabama. Which one (or both?) is the original?

I should add that we also grew King of the Garden during this time; it is later to ripen so I have not picked any yet, but it is a contender as a parent.
« Last Edit: 2020-09-21, 11:24:08 AM by Ferdzy »

Ferdzy

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #8 on: 2020-09-23, 09:51:07 AM »
Yesterday I asked a question about Alabama, and today I got the answer; the pink hued ones are undoubtedly a cross with Potawatomi. I opened up a pod of three beans where 2 of them were the typical "pink hued Alabama" beans, and so was the third - with the addition of some of the darker patterning from Potawatomi. Since it was only one bean out of the three, there isn't much question, I don't think. So I guess that means the cream coloured ones are the originals. Possibly this means that some of the ones I consider to be less strongly patterned Potawatomi may also be crosses.
« Last Edit: 2020-09-23, 09:53:06 AM by Ferdzy »

S.Simonsen

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #9 on: 2020-09-23, 02:35:22 PM »
Do you have any idea what pollinators might be doing the job? I am in a totally different region to the USA but we have lots of honey bees plus plenty of diverse solitary bees. I have never noticed anything on my lima bean flowers though.

Olaf Nurlif

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #10 on: 2020-09-23, 03:36:15 PM »
Do you have any idea what pollinators might be doing the job? I am in a totally different region to the USA but we have lots of honey bees plus plenty of diverse solitary bees. I have never noticed anything on my lima bean flowers though.

I observed that carpenter bees (don't know the exact species, the big black ones) often visit Lima beans.
I never saw any at the low growing bush forms (ie Jackson's Wonder), maybe because the flowers are often hidden in the foliage canopy? I never sat in front of them for hours to see what insects visit them tho!

Our honeybees are not that interested (in Phaseolus in general) in my experience. I'm pretty sure my natural outcrosses in phaseolus are made by bumblebees and some wild solitary bees!

S.Simonsen

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #11 on: 2020-09-23, 04:00:05 PM »
We have plenty of carpenter bees, so hopefully if I plant big enough blocks of lima beans they will figure it out for me. Thanks for the info.

Ferdzy

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #12 on: 2020-09-23, 06:26:57 PM »
I really don't know what pollinates any of the beans, but we do have both carpenter bees and bumble bees here. Both seem possible.

reed

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #13 on: 2020-09-24, 06:40:12 AM »
Bumblebees are extremely active on my common beans as well as about everything else in my garden and we have several different kinds of them. A big variety of small bees and flies are also common. Honey bees especially like fruit trees, berry vines and white clover but I rarely see them in the garden except on corn tassels.

I haven't really observed what visits the Lima beans and I'm not sure if I have crossing in them or not cause I have lots of kinds and I've noticed they have a lot of color reversals and the like anyway. For example if a solid red one shows up in some that are normally white with red frosting I don't know if that is a cross or just a color variation. We only use Limas as dry beans so it is easy to drop any odd looking ones, cross or not, in the seed box instead of the cook pot.

With Limas I'm hoping by growing bush types next to pole types to eventually find some intermediate sized vines but no luck so far.
« Last Edit: 2020-09-24, 09:26:21 AM by reed »

Garrett Schantz

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Re: Lima bean- Large x small seeded crosses
« Reply #14 on: 2020-09-24, 08:21:48 PM »
With pole types I usually allow different species / varieties to vine up a pole or trellis and eventually they start growing up each other as well. Then when the flowers come bees just pollinate everything in sight because the flowers are so close together. Seems to be mostly just bumblebees for me. Scarlet runner beans seem very attractive to bumblebees here. I haven't tried growing lima beans before, but I will attempt them next year.