Asian Long Beans

mr-tSeptember 3, 2010

I grew yard longs for the first time this year. They grew prolificly and produced a tremendous amount of foliage, but very few beans -maybe a total of a couple of dozen for the year. They were grown in a raised bed against the wall of my garage, with twine to grow on, and they would have gotten plenty of warmth from the heat absorbed by the garage. The climate here tends to be hot and dry, but they were watered every morning. They got good morning sun, but were shaded from mid afternoon on.

Any ideas why no beans?

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what research have you done on the internet and GW.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 11:55PM
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I've googled for similar problems but haven't found any other than a suggestion I might try another variety. I purchase my seeds at a local hardware store. I was thinking of trying Territorial Seeds next year.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 8:16AM
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Do you think your beans could be day length sensitive? How did you fertilize them?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 2:20AM
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Don't know - I am going to try different variety next year. As to fertilizer, I didn't give then anything other than manure and compost that was mixed in with the soil.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 8:58AM
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taxonomist(7b VA)

Believe it or not, no one knows exactly what an Asian Long Bean is. I have been trying for almost a year to untangle the names associated with this plant with very little success. The name which seems to be valid is: Vigna unguiculata var sesquipedalis(L) Bertoni. The young pods are red becomming wrinkled and darker as they mature. I have seeds from VERY productive vines. Let me know if you would like some ;

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 7:26PM
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jimster(z7a MA)


Your description fits the long bean variety 'Chinese Red Noodle'. There are many other varieties of long bean however and most are various shades of green.

BTW, my Red Noodles are impressively productive this year too. It's been a good year.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 9:28PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"Believe it or not, no one knows exactly what an Asian Long Bean is."

No, I don't believe it, since plenty of us here on GW know exactly what they are. Might I suggest searching GRIN Taxonomy, the Bean Forum, or reading Suzanne Ashworth's book Seed to Seed? ;-)

The taxonomy of Asian long beans (a.k.a. "yardlongs") has been discussed frequently - and even recently - on the Bean Forum. They are members of the aforementioned subspecies of cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata) which have been bred for use as immature pods, as opposed to use as dry seed. They tend to have more elongated pods & seeds than cowpeas bred for dry use, the seeds are spaced further apart in the pods, and most (but not all) are vigorous climbers.

Yardlongs need a lot of sun, Mr-t, so shading is probably the reason for the poor yield. Cool weather can also stunt them, especially cool nights. As with beans, fertilizers (especially high-N) can lead to lush foliage, but few beans. Manure applied to the soil before planting might temporarily cause this, but should break down as the season progresses.

My own yardlongs did really great this year. I'm still picking "Red Noodle", which is pretty late in the season for it to still be bearing. It is one of 4 yardlong varieties that I grew for seed this year.

From top to bottom: "Yancheng Bush"; a black-seeded "asparagus bean"; "Chinese Red Noodle"; and "Galante"

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 4:00AM
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bluebirdie(Z8 SF E Bay)

It's to great to learn something new every day. I've never grown yardlong beans before and didn't know there's even a Bean Forum. After seeing Zeedman's picture, I'm inspired to try it. It's great to see different variety together for a good comparison.

Unfortunately our weather (50s most summer nights) is not be favorable according to Zeedman's description. Maybe I'll try just a few seeds next year and see.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 1:01PM
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One of the reasons I suggest is your soil must be having execcive N (Nitogen).Excessive N will put the plant in vegetative growth - No flowers - no beans.This is very common with legumes.Grow corn for one season that will remove excessive N from the soil. Then plant the beans. This is known as rotation of crops.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 7:29PM
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Mr. Zeedman, thank you for sharing the pictures. They look great.

I planted 18" of "Red Noodle" in full sun and harvested many many pods. If not for ants, it would be my favorite plant.

Stir fried beef with Fortex and Red Noodle over noodles

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 2:53AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

OK, you HAD to go & make me hungry just before bed, didn't you. ;-) Looks great.

Since we are talking food, this was a trial of two yardlongs, both from the Philippines, and both cooked with beef in exactly the same way:

"Galante" is the one on the right, and stayed firm. "Sierra Madre" is on the left, and cooked down to a delicious broth. That's bitter bitter melon, egg, chicken & tomato above them.

When I lived in SoCal (San Diego) in the 80's, I grew a very long-podded purple yardlong from the Philippines; I really miss it. It turned out to be daylength sensitive, so I can't grow it here in Wisconsin. Fortunately, a Southern seed grower that posts on GW is preserving it. "Red Noodle" has shorter pods, but the same great flavor... and it will grow here.

Bluebirdie, you should be able to grow most any yardlong. I gardened in E. Palo Alto, within sight of the Bay (next to a creek, can't remember the name) and was able to grow them. You might want to plant them later, though - perhaps in late June - to avoid the worst of the foggy days.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 3:47AM
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To the original msg from mr-t:

You have watered way too much to the long beens. My long beens are good this year. I have watered twice and applied fertilizer twice. Otherwise I have totally ignored the long beens.


    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:05PM
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bluebirdie(Z8 SF E Bay)

Thanks Zeedman. I'll definitely try to get some seeds next year. The strange summer this year practically started in late Aug/Sept in my yard. But I imaging next year it could be back to normal so I can probably plant some yardlong in June.

I tasted yard long beans before and did not like them as much as green pole beans. But maybe home grown ones would taste better.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:52PM
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mr-t, the original poster;
I agreed with some others that you may have too N-riched soil, hence too much vegetations. One thing you could try, and I do this every year, is to pinch much of the lush leaves to let more sun and air into the vines, so to encourage them for moret flowering and fruiting. You might hesitate to do this, but it works. Farmers in Asian do that as a common pratice on yardlong beans.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 8:49PM
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zeedman help me help me please.

I'm trying to decide what Yardlong Beans to plant in Spring 2011. Are there any that are tender like pole beans and flavorful that can handle full Arizona sun? Keep in mind in a hot year it can be 110 deg every day for 100 days and in the upper 80's to 90's at night.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 3:39AM
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Thanks very much to all those who commented on my original posting - Seems to be consensus I have to much nitrogen, and one suggestion of possibly not engough sun. I'm skeptical about the shade issue, as I don't see how the vegetative growth would have been so prolific without adequate sun. Will try them in a new loction w/o fertilizer next year, and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 1:24PM
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New here. Have been looking for some info on Asian Beans for a long time.
I first had these in my garden as a gift of seeds from my mother. She cannot remember where she purchased them. No matter saved some. BUT I have lost them in my box. Several packs of seeds came undone when I moved. I am not sure the beans are the ones I want.
Can anyone post a pic of the asian bean from the above photo of several long beans? Mine looked very close to the bottom bean. Very good "green bean" taste. A tiny bit stringy as they got longer thatn 15" or so.
I have a small brown elongated bean with a cream colored eye and an blackish bean with "no" eye. Which is the asian?

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 1:14PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Thisisme, sorry for the delayed response; I've been offline since October due to a dead computer.

The only yardlong I've grown that even remotely resembles a snap bean is "Sierra Madre", from the Philippines. I don't think it is sold in the U.S., unless under a different name. It's similar in length to "Galante" above (also from the Philippines), but darker green & wider.

HOWEVER... I've often said that you can learn good things in a bad year, and this year I learned something new about yardlongs.

There was record rainfall in my area this year. While beans struggled (they don't like wet feet) the yardlongs flourished. All of the yardlongs stayed tender to a larger width than I usually consider usable; they really benefited from all the extra moisture. Up until now, when irrigation was necessary (it wasn't this year) I've always watered everything equally. From now on, the yardlongs get more frequent watering.

So I guess what I am saying is for the largest (widest) beans regardless of the variety - mulch the roots heavily & keep them watered.

I don't know how well yardlongs will tolerate the extreme heat of the desert Southwest. They are tropical plants, but do their best in warm humid locations. Only one way to find out, I suppose. ;-) It may be that you would need to shelter the plants with shade cloth over the top during the hottest part of the summer, leaving the sides open.

Mey, unfortunately there are both common beans & yardlong seeds that match both of your descriptions above. There are many black-seeded yardlong cultivars, quite a few of which are sold in the U.S. There are also brown or reddish-brown seeds w/white patches; the varieties I have from the Philippines share this characteristic.

I'll try to post a comparative photo of some of my yardlong seeds... but if you are able to post a photo of yours, I could help with the identification.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 4:13AM
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Zeedman, just to confirm that I have a pack of your Philippine Purple yardlongs. I grew them in 2009 and got enough for a row in the garden. I may try them next season.


    Bookmark   December 22, 2010 at 11:10PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Wow, Fusion, I was just going to PM you about "Philippine Purple". I seem to remember it being on your grow list for 2010.

"I grew them in 2009 and got enough for a row in the garden."

Sounds like they didn't do too well. 2009 was a really bad year here for yardlongs, far too cool... none of my varieties ripened. Fortunately, 2010 made up for that. Hopefully 2011 will be a good year, I still have several varieties in need of replenishment. A few new ones to trial, too.

Fusion, are you attempting to breed "Philippine Purple" with a purple-podded daylength neutral cultivar? If the pod length & quality could be preserved in such a cross, it could be an improvement over "Chinese Red Noodle".

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:07AM
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Lol Zeedman, if you remember, I started with 5 seed and only 2 grew.

I didn't manage to get them into the ground in 2010 and turned out best that I did not. It was a terrible year for bean family members with the exception of 2 varieties that were planted extra early.

It is funny that you mention day length sensitivity. I did not see them as being in any way sensitive in my climate. They behaved like a fairly typical yardlong bean though perhaps a bit less vigorous than I am used to.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 3:17AM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

"It is funny that you mention day length sensitivity. I did not see them as being in any way sensitive in my climate. They behaved like a fairly typical yardlong bean though perhaps a bit less vigorous than I am used to."

Fusion, the days may be short enough at your latitude to trigger blossoming.

It is possible that PP is just long season, and that blossoming near the equinox at my latitude was just coincidental. However, the vines had very lush growth, and did not flower at the same stage of growth as all of the other yardlongs. This lush growth / failure to flower is something I have observed in several other daylength sensitive cultivars I've trialed. It resembles the symptoms of excess nitrogen... but since I do not fertilize beans, that was not an issue.

If you need more seed, I still have a little I could send. I'd like to see someone preserve it, it has some great culinary qualities. Short of growing it in a greenhouse, seed saving is impossible for me in my Wisconsin climate.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Susan Levy

help I have three asian chines yard lon beans when I try and google them for a picture of that bean nothing comes up. I have DOW GAUR ,RED AND CREAM, LIANA. I know what the seed looks like was trying to get a grown bean picture HELPP

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 1:55AM
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