Rough start for the Lima Beans

So far, the lima bean experiment hasn’t gotten off to a very good start. The seeds germinated and many of the plants emerged well enough. Trouble came shortly after when some type of insect decided that the main stem of the plant looked liked a tasty treat. After eating up the sides (see image below and click for detailed view), the poor plant shrivels and dies. I’m writing off this first planting and have put in a second set in one of the new beds. I’ll pay closer attention to this next set and treat the plants as they emerge and see if I can get them off to a better start.


Lima bean with bug damage on stem


4 thoughts on “Rough start for the Lima Beans

  1. Pingback: First harvest of the season « Matt's Garden Blog

    • Did you ever figure out what caused the stem damage to the beans? I have had some very similar damage to my green beans. I am picking green beans now, but I lost one plant, and a few more have the same brown scars on the stems at ground level. I am afraid these plants will die shortly. Last year my green beans got the same thing shortly after they sprouted, and I lost all of them.

      • Unfortunately, I never did get a firm identification on what the pest was. This year I have had a problem with pill bugs, but comparing the damage this year with what damaged the lima beans last year, I’m leaning towards something other then the pill bugs. The pill bugs seemed far more interested in the leaves of the small seedlings and have left the plants alone once they get up and off the ground. My money is on some worm or grub. Cutworm seems to be a likely culprit based on where the damage is located. Last year, when I replanted, I carpet bombed the area with seven. It seemed to work, but would like to find a less toxic option if it happens again. This years lima beans are off to a great start, but I better keep an eye on them as they are about the size of the one in this picture.

        Good luck with your green beans.

      • Thanks for the reply! I was wondering if it might be cutworms. I saw one online suggestion to cut plastic straws long-wise and cut two inch sections. Put these around the stems, burying part of the straw under the ground. I might try it. I picked more green beans today, but I plan to plant some more green beans where I am almost finished harvesting my potatoes and onions. My blackeyed peas have had some small black insects on them – possibly thrips. I have treated them with dishwashing liquid solution (2 1/2 tbsp/gallon of water) applied with a small hand-pumped sprayer. It kills the insects quickly. I spray just before I water the garden (oscillating sprinkler), as I want to rinse the soap off the plants. It is keeping the pests in check. I don’t like to use Sevin and other chemical insecticides unless I have no other solution. Last year I used Sevin on my corn as soon as I saw worm damage on the new leaves coming out of the whorl. Putting sevin into the whorl saved our corn ears from having any worms, though. Our corn is tasseling now, and we have no evidence of worms in it.

        I did not know that pill bugs did any damage to garden plants. I have never paid them much attention. I see that you also have slugs. I’ll be visiting your site to see how you do with your garden, its improvements, its pests, and your harvest. We have an electric fence around our garden to keep the wild hogs and deer out of it. An armadillo was rooting around in it last night, but it did not uproot any of the plants. My daughter has problems with rabbits, armadillos, and deer where she lives. We live in Florida. You must be up north somewhere, as I noticed some snow in one of your photos.

        I enjoy your garden blog. You have put a lot of work into your garden. It looks nice.

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