At our restaurant, we made a minestrone last winter using Christmas lima beans. I was captivated by the huge, colorfully speckled beans, and couldn't wait to grow them in our garden. The seeds started back in April have turned into a thick wall of vines over 7 feet tall. Despite sporadic flowering during July and August, there have never been any beans. This week I was planting some arugula seedlings next to the vines and I spotted the biggest bean pod I've ever seen. When I looked more closely, I found many more equally large pods. They are all quite flat, so I'm predicting an October harvest at the earliest (five months from when the seeds were started). After the long wait, I hope the beans live up to expectations. If nothing else, the kids were amazed to see the giant bean pods in our back yard and they're planning to share them with their classmates for show and tell.