30yeargrower
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Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:08 pm

Butterbean failure

I have been gardening in Florida since 1981. I’ve seldom ever tried to grow butter/lima beans because of space limitations. But this past July I planted most of my garden in butterbeans.

I am using compost that I got from a landscape contractor so I am not growing in Florida’s worthless sand. I have applied a 20-20-20 liquid plant food at least every 2 weeks ever since the plants came up and bugs haven’t been a problem.

The plants came up and grew and easily reached their normal size. The plants bloomed like crazy. But it seems that most of the flowers never set fruit. The plants haven’t produced enough bean pods to be worth the effort of harvesting them.

Is it possible that butterbeans require bees or other insect pollinators? Bees are generally plentiful in my yard during the spring when my blueberries and azaleas are blooming, but I seldom see any over the summer. Could the crop failure be due to a lack of bees?

imafan26
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Posts: 11384
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Butterbean failure

It could be lima beans main pollinators are honeybees and solitary bees. You can also grow some nectar plants in your garden to attract the pollinators and there are simple hives you can make for the solitary bees. Just place them in a shady spot away from traffic. The best thing you can do to save the bees is to avoid pesticides especially systemics and create a habitat by planting a variety of flowering plants to provide nectar.

Many people are afraid of bees, but I have bees in my yard (I used to have more), and we share the space. I can get within 6 inches of them and I work around their foraging schedule. If I have to work in the garden I move them with a gentle spray of water and I can get within 6 inches of them when before they will give me a warning buzz. Oh, yeah it helps not to wear bright yellow, orange-red, or pale blue in the garden. Black and brown are usually safe.

https://www.foxleas.com/bee_house.htm
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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