Regrowth Cropping of Lima Bean

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist;

Lima beans have the ability to put on significant growth after harvest (pod stripping). New stems are produced from lateral buds and plants can flower and set a second set of pods. This provides the potential for having two crops from the same planting in one season. This potential has been demonstrated both in research plots and on-farm in commercial plantings.

 Plant stubble after harvesters have stripped the pods. Plant stubble after harvesters have stripped the pods.

A re-cropping system starts with an early May planting using a short season variety. Target the first week in May and use a variety such as Cypress, Meadow, or M-15. Cypress is particularly well adapted to early planting because it was bred to tolerate cooler soil conditions for Canadian production. Longer season varieties such as C-elite Select will not work in this system.

Because this planting will be flowering and setting pod during hot conditions in June and July, the first crop will be limited, with a high end potential of around 2000 lbs/A. Locating regrowth fields where temperatures are more moderate, (near the bay for example) and irrigating well during hot periods will help to achieve this yield. The crop will be ready to harvest the last week in July or first week in August.

 Regrowth near harvest Regrowth near harvest

At harvest, limit field activity to the harvesters and keep trucks off of the stubble to reduce damage to the plant stems.

Research has demonstrated that the regrowth crop has the potential to yield well over 3000 lbs. (in hand-harvested small plots we were able to achieve yields over 5000 lbs per acre on the regrowth). After harvest, Apply an additional 60-80 lbs of Nitrogen and cultivate the field to reduce weed populations and aerate the soil. We have also looked at applying fungicides to the new growth but this has not shown any positive benefit on yield. Post emergence herbicides will also be sprayed after cultivation. Particular attention to herbicide programs will be needed to avoid using the same herbicides in May and for the regrowth crop.

In two years of research, we have harvested the second crop by the second week in October. Because the plant is regrowing from existing plants, the second crop is produced much more quickly than if it was replanted.