Although lima beans are considered good for your health, a handful of raw lima beans can make you very ill. Lima beans contain hydrocyanic acid, a cyanide compound, which is released when the the bean is chewed. Cooking lima beans neutralizes the poison. Lima beans are very easy to grow from seed and the seeds germinate quickly as long as their few, basic requirements are met.
Light and Temperature
Lima bean seeds require full sun in order to germinate. The air temperature should be between 70 and 80 degrees F. It is important to wait until you are absolutely sure the threat of frost is gone for the year, prior to planting your lima bean seeds.
Pay very close attention to the soil in which you intend to plant your lima bean seeds. The soil temperature must be no less than 65 degrees F. You may also need to amend your soil to provide the lima bean seeds with the proper nutrients and pH. Agriculturists at North Carolina State University suggest that you obtain a soil analysis prior to planting. Your county cooperative extension agency most likely offers this service, as well as some larger nurseries and garden centers.
Lima beans require well-drained, fertile soil. Aim for a pH of 6.5. Again, the county cooperative extension agent can recommend fertilizers and soil amendments that will best prepare your soil for planting lima beans.
Lima beans do not require a lot of water, except during the bloom and fruiting period. During that time you must water frequently, especially if the weather is hot and dry. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Other than during this critical stage in the plant's development, give the plant one inch of water a week.