I just want to jabber briefly about this my favorite vegetable to grow, the yardlong bean. It goes by many names that end in bean such as chinese yard long, asparagus, snake, purple long, and scientifically, Vigna unguiculata subsp.sesquipedalis. This last name does not end in bean. I love this vegetable and because I love it you should grow it! It will make you feel great about yourself! Also it tastes pretty good in a stir fry.
The yardlong bean can be started successfully pretty much any time over the course of the summer in New Orleans. The only other thing that you can eat with a similar propensity for birthing itself under the evil eye of our August sun that I am aware of is okra, and I don’t like growing okra. It makes me itchy.
If you are terrible at watering, it’s okay! These vines will survive your worst abuses in the most heated heat. We have enough water in the air to make them grow. And how they grow. How do they grow? They grow fast. They grow huge. A serious trellis is probably a good idea to support the yardlong vine. A not so serious trellis will probably work alright, but if you’ve got wrought iron at your disposal, you should use wrought iron. There is a lot of vine headed your way.
These plants will germinate from seed in a matter of days, and once they get going they grow incredibly fast. Probably within two weeks you will have a vine that is at least five feet long with offshoots galore. Within three weeks you will start getting beans.
Let me back up. If this is something you’re actually wanting to plant, this is how: Plant them three inches apart from one another. Plant them about an inch deep. Water the seeds a bunch. Or don’t. They’ll probably grow either way. We already talked about that. If you see any snails, kill them. They are the only thing that will stop your yardlong beans. The only thing.
I mean to say the only thing except you and your monstrous appetite of course. You are growing food after all. As mentioned above, within three weeks you will start getting beans. Ideally, you want to harvest them early, when they’re nice and skinny and about a foot long. They get a little tough and less than utterly delicious when they start bulking up. On the dinner plate treat them like giant purple green beans. If you have a green variety, treat them like giant green beans. Also treat them like giant purple green beans if you are using them on the lunch plate or breakfast plate. If you are just having snacks a plate is not appropriate.
Ian writes these. Fearlessly.