|'Dr. Martin's' is a famous heirloom lima bean with 16 to 20 foot long vines which bear large, flat pods with 3 seeds each. The young leaves are striking, with dark and light green mottling, like a watermelon's skin. The seeds can be up to 1 1/2 by 2 inches, and are pale green when ripe.
Lima beans are an ancient group of beans which grow well in southern climates with warm summers. They can be grown as bushes, or vines, depending on the cultivar. Climbing varieties need at least 80 days for maturity, but the bush varieties tend to mature faster.
Seeds need at least 65 degree Farenheit soil to germinate. Soil should be well drained, sandy loam. If your soil is heavy, these beans will be best reared in raised beds. Soil should be neutral, or slightly acidic. Sow in late spring, 2 weeks after the last frost. Seeds should be 1 inch deep and 4 inches apart, rows 3 feet apart. Climbing types will need stakes or trellises.
Watering will increase the yield, and is especially beneficial when the plants are in bloom. Don't apply too much nitrogen or you will get all vine and no fruit.