Yard long bean also known by a variety of other names including, Chinese
long beans, asparagus beans and snake beans.
They are more closely related to cow peas, than the common green bean but are still delicious harvested and eaten as green beans, they can be steamed, stir fried or eaten raw in salads.
There are many varieties of yard long beans in this photo is a Burgundy colored variety.
These green yardlong beans are just as tasty.
Just like most other beans, broad beans being the exception, yardlong beans are a warm season vegetable preferring air temperatures of 70-80°F (21-27 C) and a soil temperature of at least 60F (16 C).
Growing yardlong beans do best in full sun with protection from wind they need a long, warm period before setting flowers.
Flowering of the yard long bean is
short and the attractive mauve flower dies off quickly.
After the flowers short display the pods begin
to develop producing two bean pods at a time. Each cluster will produce four beans pods in all.
Yardlong beans are true legumes, so a soil mildly rich in organic matter is best. Too much nitrogen will result in more leaves than beans.
As with all beans, direct sowing is the only recommended method of growing yardlong beans. Sow after all danger of frost is past and the soil is workable. In cooler areas the season can be lengthened by using black plastic over the bed a few weeks before the last frost date to warm the soil.
The most important aspects of caring for yardlong beans are;
Sow seeds about 2 inches (5 cm) deep and 4 inches (10 cm) apart in a row along trellising.
Thin to spaced about 8 inches (20 cm) apart.
Any plant that climbs up a trellising or needs similar support is very easy to mulch and therefor keep weed free and regulate moisture content.
While they are to some extent drought tolerant, long dry spells will cause the beans to become tough and will likely shorten the productive life of the plants.
Yardlong beans, like other beans and peas, are a legume and therefor will fix nitrogen once the plant is established. High nitrogen fertilizers are neither needed nor recommended.
2 weeks before sowing apply 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer. Same rate for each side dressing, every 3-4 weeks from the time first flowers appear until 3-4 weeks before first expected fall frost.
Yardlong beans often grow to 8 - 12 foot tall so they will require support.
As with other varieties of pole beans it is best provided at the time of sowing the seed. It can be any design that suits both you and the crop.
Crop rotation is as important with Beans, Peas and other legumes, as it is with other vegetables groups. This is mainly to reduce the incidence of diseases and pests carried over in the soil from the previous year’s bean crop. Also, being a legume, and having the wonderful ability to fix nitrogen from the air and so provide at least a good proportion of their fertilizer requirements is an added advantage to the crops following beans.
Aphids, thrips, Mexican bean beetles, bean weevils, cucumber beetles, spider mites
Anthracnose, Downy mildew, bacterial soft rot, yellow leaf disease, bean rust.
Average time from seed to harvest is 60 - 80 days which is about 2 weeks after bloom. Although the name for these beans is yardlong beans, if a bean ever reaches a yard long it wii have lost its dense crispness and will to be over-mature and tough. The pods are best picked when less than 18 inches (50 cm) long and thinner than a pencil.
Once they start producing, you may need to harvest every 2-3 days to keep the plants producing.
The pods grow in pairs, the entire pods can be eaten like green beans. They are best eaten immediately or at the most within 1 or 2 days of picking.
If left until the pod part begins to collapse around the swelling seed, where you can see the seed or bean shape showing thru the skin.
As in this photo, they can be eaten like any dried bean or saved as seed for the next season.
The young green beans are eaten as whole pods and will keep several day in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
Mature beans store well when dried.