"Martin's Wonder" Lima Beans

Marlin L Burkholder gleneco1 at juno.com
Thu Sep 27 18:03:23 EDT 2001

Last year I noticed some interesting lima beans growing in the garden of
one of the old order Mennonite families living near us.  I began asking
questions and learned that they have been passing seed of this variety
among themselves for several years.  I learned that one of my nieces who
is a member of this old order Mennonite community had a good supply of
this seed and was willing to share some with me.  I had had good sucess
with a variety of old time pole or cornfield bean seed which had been
given to me by one of my farmers' market customers.  So I swapped some of
this "Smiley Gordon's Pole Bean" for some of her lima bean seed.

This Lima bean produces heavy yields of six-seven inch long pods with
five large beans per pod, making it very attractive for a potential
variety suitable for market scale production. It appears to need a long
season to mature the beans, at least 120 days.  The germination of the
seed she gave me was a little irregular but the plants I have are doing
well.  I started them in the greenhouse in early May and transplanted
them in early June and still have not picked many mature beans here in
late September but if frost holds off another couple of weeks I should
get a good yield.

I asked several persons about seed sources and one mentioned a family
owned company named "Rohrer's" located in the Lancaster County PA area
but couldn't supply a more definate address.  Apparently this company
carries a number of heirloom varieties of vegetables passed around among
Mennonite and Amish in that area.  I would like to get my hands on a copy
of their catalog or possibly a mailing address if anyone has it.

Marlin Burkholder
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

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