aka_peggy

Sieva (Carolina) lima's

aka_peggy
14 years ago

This week I picked my 1st mess of sieva lima, "butterbeans." I was pleasantly surprised at the creamy, buttery taste of these pole beans. They remind me of the "butterbeans" that my mom grew when I was a child growing up in the Tarheel State. (NC)

Sieva is a small, productive lima with excellent flavor. The vines aren't rampant like willow leaf lima's and the beans are smaller. They got off to a late start this year (planted June 6) but they generally mature in about 75 days. I've grown a number of lima's and IMO this one is the best.

Vgkg... how'd you likem? Anybody else?

Comments (28)

  • jimster
    14 years ago

    They are on my list for a future season, probably next year. I love beans and these have a great reputation.

    Jim

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    While I find the flavor of Sieva acceptable, it doesn't compare to large-seeded "potato lima" varieties like "King of the Garden" or "Fordhook 242".

    Unfortunately, large limas are very "iffy" for me. "Sieva" is very reliable for short-season areas, and is more tolerant of cool weather than most limas. I grew it last year here in Wisconsin, and it bore heavily (I still have some in the freezer).

    "Less rampant" is relative... less than many limas, perhaps, but more than most pole beans. I thin to 12-18" apart.

    Personally, I do not like to eat them as butterbeans. But they are excellent mixed with fresh sweet corn for succotash, or added to soups.

    It's easy to save seed, because you will always miss a few pods. Just watch out for the "beak" on the dry pods, it can be very sharp.

  • aka_peggy
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Zeedman, I've grown king of the garden, Florida speckled Christmas lima, willow leaf and henderson bush. I haven't grown Fordhook 242. I don't care so much for the larger lima's. I prefer the smaller size green ones.

    I think sieva has better flavor than any I've grown. I did like the henderson bush but they aren't as productive as a pole bean. And the willow leaf near took over my garden, LOL! I've been stabbed by those little "beaks" too and they do smart.

    Jim, I plan to save lots of seeds this year so I'd be happy to send you some in the fall. I'll only grow sieva lima from here on.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    There are many heirloom small limas that compare with "Sieva" in terms of size & maturity; often in unusual colors. This year I am growing "Hopi Pole", which is a dark red lima slightly larger than "Sieva". Lots of pods set, so I should get a good crop... but the jury's still out on flavor, have to wait for my first taste-test (which I will post on the Bean Forum this Fall).

    There is a red version of "Sieva" too, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.

    I hope "Hopi Pole" has good flavor; I have visions of red limas & "Ruby Queen" sweet corn mixed together for a striking red succotash!

  • aka_peggy
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi Zeedman, Hopi pole sounds interesting. I've never heard of a red lima, how intriguing. And a red sieva at that! I look forward to hearing what you think of the Hopi pole.

    Can you name some other heirloom small lima's? It's possible that I'm being a bit hasty when I say I'll only grow sieva from here on.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    AkaPeggy, there are small limas that are black, red, orange, yellow, brown, gray, white & many combinations. "Hopi Pole" is actually maroon & orange. There are other Hopi colors, including gray (which is gray & brown), all-orange, and tan (which often has black markings). Most of the Hopi beans are mottled and/or have variations in color from plant-to-plant.

    You mentioned that you had grown "Henderson's Bush"; there is a "Henderson's Red Bush". There is also a "Red Willow Leaf" pole. Other pole reds include "Johnny's Red", "Pennsylvania Dutch Red", "Red Calico" (red & black), and "Worchester Indian Red". "Old Time Fence" is black & white. "Black Butterbean" is just as it sounds.

    All the beans listed above are available through members of the Seed Savers Exchange.

    Limas are very attractive to bees & cross-pollinate easily, so you can normally grow only one if you intend to save seed; but I have two gardens 6 miles apart. Each year I grow two limas, usually one large & one small. The large limas often fail to mature in my Northern location, while most of the smaller varieties seem better adapted. I hope to work my way through many of them in years to come.

    But I must confess, my most reliable producer so far has been "Sieva".

  • aka_peggy
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I've considered becoming a member of the SSE for several years.

    I may have to cough up the 35 bucks and do it. Thanks Zeedman...:) BUT...it is for a good cause afterall and they do offer some unusual varieties. You've spiked my interest. I love beans and would like to experiment more with some of the types you mention.

    BTW, I'm picking almost 3lbs of sieva's every 3 days now from about 35' of row. I just love those little beans!

    You've

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    Peggy, my wife & I just returned from a 2-day visit to Heritage Farm (SSE's headquarters) to observe this year's growout. While they were not growing as many beans as usual, they were growing many heirloom limas. I was able to talk them out of some seed, one of which is a black (actually very dark maroon) _bush_ lima, called "Cave Dweller". I will be growing it next year, and should have seed to offer Fall 2007.

  • aka_peggy
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi Zeedman,

    I'd be very interested to hear more about "cave dweller." Since I intially posted this I've been reading up on some of the other lima's you mentioned. I've also visited Bill Best site @ heirlooms.org/beans. In fact, Bill Best name made it into my in my local newspaper today...not about beans but rather an heirloom tomato, the "Vinson Watts tomato."

    BTW, that last word in my last post that just says, "You've" should have said; you've inspired me. I don't know what happened to the rest of the sentence:) But I've decided I'd like to grow some of these little known beans and I'll be watching for your offer.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    14 years ago

    Hi Peggy, been away on vacation and missed your message. Sieva did/does well for us too. I used 4 - 8' tall poles with only 4 plants around each pole and we cannot keep up with picking these 16 plants. This was my first time with BBs and it'll be a mainstay from now on.
    The BBs were/are very good even when a bit big in size. Probably 2 poles would due us ok. Ernesto knocked over 2 of the poles as they were quite top heavy, the storm pretty much nuked the summer crops but the fall cole crops weathered it ok and are doing good so far. Got >7" rain from Ernesto after a 6 weeks of dryness.

    BTW, all the BTMelons turned out to be red & sweet, and quite productive too, thanks!

  • farmfreedom
    14 years ago

    anyone tried the "Greek giant limas " they are fat not flat they are shaped something like a kidney bean .

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    I have not seen the "Greek Giant" lima, nor do I know of a source. The description, however, makes me wonder...

    This year, I ordered 4 runner beans through seed exchanges; one was in reality a common bean, and the other ("Hija") turned out to be a lima. I have also previously requested limas that turned out, upon examination, to be runners. Various references cite "Gigantes" as either a runner or a lima, so it seems that confusion between limas & runners (especially for European varieties) is not uncommon.

    Since you are contemplating breeding, I assume that you have already grown this variety, and observed it. Are the cotyledons hypogeal or epigeal?

  • rodger
    14 years ago

    I don't know how I missed this post earlier. I also love limas, but my favorites are the colored or speckled limas. My grandmother always grew these. They make the best broth are pretty to shell and the dried seed are so pretty also. As a child of 6 in the early 60s My grandmother gave me some of her colored limas to grow, I was the happiest kid around. She always grew two types one was multicolored the other was a pinkeye lima. Now my grandmother is gone and it was the search for those multicolored Butter beans from my childhood 10 years ago that started me on heirloom gardening and my current bean collection. I have Black limas, pinkeye , multicolored in both leaf types red lima, red and black limas, tan limas, green limas, tan with black and the list goes on.. John Coykendal probably has the largest collection of Limas, and he will be talking about Limas at this years AHSC annual meet in Berea KY, I'm banking on him bringing lots of seed to swap.
    Hey Zeedman, I was up at SSE the middle of Aug. Brought back some of the purple podded pole beans. Rodger

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    Boy, this thread should be on the Bean Forum... it's really getting interesting.

    Rodger, I've got a hunch that we'll probably be swapping some seed in the future! ;-)

    You & Gardenlad have made me aware of the AHSC; sounds like they are doing great preservation work. Do they (or their members) do any seed exchanges outside of their meetings? From a website perhaps, or a newsletter? I'll have to learn more about that organization.

    First I've heard of John Coykendal, I've wondered if anyone collected limas seriously. They are so difficult to keep pure, compared to common beans; so to maintain a large collection is a noteworthy accomplishment.

    My lima bean growouts are "booked" for the next two years, but I may want to follow up on these leads in the future.

  • rodger
    14 years ago

    Zeedman, John Coykendal has an extensive listing in the SSE annual book. He is in Tenn. So you can look up his listing if your a member. He is also a member of the PASS along seeds at Southern Legacy Seeds with the Univ. of Ga. Below is there website each spring there is a seed swap in Athen Ga. John has an article on saving lima bean seed on the PASS website. AS a member of pass there is a resource book of other members whom you can request seed from for SASE and the seed bank maintained by Southern Legacy seeds are free to members. Send Gardenlad a line he is the director of The Appalachian Heirloom Seed conservancy and he can tell you more about how the seed bank and swaps work more than I can for AHSC. I will be more than happy to trade seeds. On being booked for Butter Beans. I have a net work of local gardeners and friends who are willing to grow out a variety for me when I need some Isolation and want the seed. You can also work with the schools for a history garden. And I am supplying seeds and plants this fall for an iterpretive garden at one the historic plantions nearby. I will also grow out some beans there this spring. So there are lots of possibilities to grow out many limas and other plants that need isolation. Or even if you lack garden space. Parks Historic places schools are more than willing to provide. Rodger

    Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Legacy Seeds.

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    Late response; I just went back to find this thread. Yes, John Coykendal is a listed SSE member (kicking self in head - wish you could see it). Don't know how I missed it, considering that he is the source for some of the limas I mentioned above!

    Rodger, nice link. If they don't mind a little help from a Yankee, I may participate in the SLS in the future. ;-) I could test the northern limits for some of those varieties. That's some good advice you gave on finding associate growers... I had a plan to do that this year, but it never got off the ground. I'll have to put more effort into it for 2007, now that I am building up a good collection of heirlooms.

    AkaPeggy, I thought I would post a photo of the Hopi Pole seeds. As I mentioned, there is considerable variability - even more than I expected! Quite beautiful.
    {{gwi:107990}}

    The camera I used seems to have poor color sensitivity, because the true colors are much more vibrant than they appear in the photo. The size of the butterbean is slightly larger than Sieva, with a rich beany flavor & fine texture. The plants bear _heavily_, numerous large clusters of up to 10 pods... wish I had taken a photo. They are much later than Sieva though, 110+ days for me. I'll need to start them in pots next time... but they are worth the extra effort.

  • rodger
    14 years ago

    Zeedman, I recieved some Hopi Limas from John Coykendal last week. He brought around tweenty varieties of Limas to the Annual AHSC meet. I brought home 6 new varieties and amazingly enough I had a lima he didn't, The Hopi I recieved from him is called a orange hopi the seed are a light orange in color with dark motling and some darker corlored seed. As you mention the quality of your picture is not that great but it seems your seed also have an orange tint. How is the taste? I also got a red lima from the carribian and Christmas pole lima not the regular christmas lima this one was a natural cross between christmas lima and king of the garden lima. The seed are simply beautiful. They are beige with lavender air brush marks on one half, Stunning. I brought home nearly 30 varieties of seed between Peas, Beans, limas, Tomatoes and Melons. I also had the opportunity to meet a talk with Ira Wallace the manager of SESE(Southern Exposure Seeds) She is a wonderful person. too bad everyone else missed out. I have my seed for next year and it only cost me a outstanding weekend in the heart of kentucky complete with good speakers meeting my Butter bean Idol now good friend John Coykendal, Ira Wallace, and Merlyn Neidens a commercial grower for Bakers Creek and Southern Exposure plus many others. Wow This makes the second time I came home happy from the AHSC conference. Rodger

  • rodger
    14 years ago

    Here is a picture of John and some of his Limas at the Annual AHSC a couple of weeks ago
    {{gwi:107991}}
    Here is a closer picture of some of John's seeds Note lower right corner is Hopi Orange. In the Picture is Ira Wallace Manager of Southern Exposure Seeds in Virgina and Gary Millwood of Ky a Choptag member Tomato grower extrodinare
    {{gwi:107992}}

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    Rodger, I've got to make it down there one of these years! Both to swap seed, and to see in person some of the people I've met on GW. It should make for pleasant conversation - as in the _spoken_ word!

    My source for the Hopi Pole said to continuously select for the darker seeds, or it would eventually revert to the orange. I'm assuming orange with red speckles is the dominant form.

    The flavor is quite good, but rather hard to describe. They cook up tender, and keep much of their dark coloration. The flavor is not especially sweet, but very rich, with an elusive flavor I can't quite pin down (kind of like they were cooked in green-bean water). Smooth-textured, and very pleasant.

    Rodger, you have so much more "latitude" (pun intended) in your lima selection. While I have had real success with only Sieva & some bush baby limas direct-seeded, all is not lost... started in pots, many smaller limas will mature for me, at least enough to save seed. I actually threw a 30-foot tarp over "Hopi" twice as frost threatened... with good results.

  • jimster
    14 years ago

    zeedman,

    I adjusted the color on your picture of the Hopi beans. I hope it meets with your approval.

    {{gwi:107993}}

    Jim

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    14 years ago

    Thanks, Jimster, it is an improvement. You managed to recapture some of the more subtle shades. How did you accomplish it?

    My first foray into digital photography hasn't impressed me - the color sensitivity (at least for the Kodak I used) leaves much to be desired. I borrowed my son's camera for all the photos I currently post. When I purchase my own (hopefully before next season), I will test them extensively, much as I did when purchasing a printer/scanner (big color differences there also).

  • jimster
    14 years ago

    zeedman,

    I used PhotoShop to remove an overall yellow color cast from the picture. The yellow cast was probably due to its being taken with incandescent lighting.

    Digital cameras can be set to compensate for different colors of light -- daylight, flourescent light, incandescent light, etc. The setting is called 'white balance'. Usually there is a custom setting also, which can be used to make white appear as white under any color of light. That's useful with indoor light because different artificial light sources have so many different colors, even if they appear white to the eye.

    Often you get a picture like that where the white balance is off. Then, it is possible to fix it after the fact, as I did, with the PhotoShop program. If you compare the before and after pics, you will see that the table beneath the beans is yellow in the first one and white in the second one.

    BTW, Bill shoots all of his excellent pictures with a Kodak digital camera. I think he gets very nice color. He may have some suggestions.

    Jim

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    13 years ago

    I noticed that Sand Hill Preservation has "Carolina Red" (which is the red version of "Sieva") listed in their 2007 catalog... which might be of interest to those who posted on this thread previously.

  • Violet_Z6
    13 years ago

    Anyone eating limas now?

  • Jerry Murphy
    13 years ago

    I'm eating Dixie Speckled Butterpea now. It's a small bush type with red beans speckled with maybe purple. It's a very productive bean that will self-sow if allowed here in the south.

  • rodger
    13 years ago

    I not picking yet but very close. The Carolina Sieva's take around 80-90 days, other limas 90-100 and the very large seeded such as Ford hook and Christmas lima 100 days. my first planting was April 18th and here is a picture today. Will be about another week to 10 days.
    {{gwi:107994}}
    And the row with buckwheat. This is the Lynch's family Butter Bean a non sieva type multi colored with several color patterned seeds I have two 125ft rows. I should get about 4 bushels on the first picking next week then about eight bushels on the secound picking end of Aug and another 6-8 bushels mid Oct. Not the nice clean folage, my garden is all natural no chemical no sprays a good balance of good and bad bugs results in an bountiful harvest.
    {{gwi:107996}}
    I am picking loads of green beans I picked these this evening to dry and make into Leather Britches. This is Childers Family cutshort bean from Tenn. an appalachian Heirloom
    {{gwi:107999}}
    Beans ready to lay out on a screen with a fan to dry.
    {{gwi:108000}}
    ain't life good. Rodger

  • zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin
    12 years ago

    This was such a great thread, I didn't want it to slip into obscurity... in particular, Rodger's great photos. Hopefully, there will be more updates this year.

    I wonder, is there any chance of moving this thread into the Bean Forum???

  • aka_peggy
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Hey Zeedman,
    Glad you brought this up. It was indeed a great thread and I love the pics. I'll be growing the red sieva's this year from Sandhill. These are a little smaller than the green variety. I noticed you have them on your 'want' list. If you're interested, lmk.

    ps...GW email doesn't always work;)