I have picked beans before, but never limas. You have to throw the plants over and pick the plump ones which start near the bottom. I never got a rhythm, but I got soaked by the dewy plants in the process; in fact, I got so cold (the sun didn't rise until 6:37am) that my fingers started getting numb.
We each had a bucket, but my parents used to have big gardens and they filled their buckets speedily. I even started to complain: cold! wet! hungry! unripe limas! But actually, I was having fun, shooting the breeze with my parents while we picked and hollering at my dad when he stopped picking to talk tractors with my uncle.
I came home with a bucket of unshelled limas - put them in the fridge to make them easier to shell, on my uncle's advice. I heard that maybe the limas cost $18 a bucket, but my dear dad did not let me pay for mine.
The children helped me shell them the next day.
I finally finished shelling them in front of this excellent movie and finished blanching and bagging at 11:45pm. Yield: 9 two-cup bags, 1 three cup bag.
Ordinarily I would find a way to go to bed earlier, but I was inspired by my mother's stories as we picked limas. She told me she stayed up late many nights finishing preserving projects, and actually I do remember my father frenching green beans at the kitchen island while my mother went back and forth at the stove, blanching them.