Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Long Beans

Chinese long bean, Asparagus bean, and Chinese Green Noodle are just a few of the monikers of this versatile bean. Although it is best not to let them grow longer than two feet, we let a few keep growing to see how long they would get, and the longest one measured three feet. At this point, they are no longer edible but are good for show and tell.

Sow seeds directly outside around mid-May and seedlings will appear in about two weeks. I have also had numerous volunteers show up from last years remnants, usually in places where they were no longer wanted. The long bean plants like to vine and sprout sweat pea-like flowers that are beloved by ants.

Long beans can be used in stir-fry, soups and salads, or just about any recipe that requires green beans. Plant a few more seeds every couple of weeks in order to keep harvesting into early fall. Eventually, the plants seem to tire and stop producing.

Long beans are a staple at Asian markets and are now frequently found at farmer's markets, as well. Next year I plan to grow a variety of long bean called "Chinese Red Noodle", available at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.