Hunting for the earliest yardlong bean....

greentongueFebruary 13, 2008

Last year was my first experience with yardlong beans, and I grew only 2 varieties relevant to this question.

My brother in SE Wyoming is interested in trying them. He's stuck with a Zone 4 climate in days frost free, but has intensely hot, dry summers (90++, with well water available). He still has potential for frost at end of May.

I'm hunting for the EARLIEST MATURITY on a yardlong... ESPECIALLY HELPFUL if you have experience growing them in the Great Plains.

Here's what I've been able to find (and have purchased seeds to try) ... can you add to my list? Appreciate seed sources, too, if possible.

68 days - ANNA'S GREEN TAIWAN. A black-seeded medium green from Taiwan first bloomed at 56 days, and first harvest was at 68 days. See my pix in Garden Gallery>Great Vegetables as Chinese Yardlongs - Anna's Green Taiwan if that helps for reference.

84 days... YARDLONG, PURPLE PODDED bloomed at 72 days and first harvest was 84 days. That's pushing it on getting into cool nights in Wyoming. This variety from a Seed Saver's Exchange member in Texas. I grew this one last year ... pix in Garden Gallery>Great Vegetables also

67 days. A nameless RED YARDLONG from an eBay seller in Washington State is listed as 67 days maturity. He has apparently sold out for this season, as there are none listed any more on his site.

80 days? CHINESE RED NOODLE is listed by most suppliers as 80 day maturity, and one eBay seed seller says it will grow in all USDA climate zones.

Seeds of India lists 2 that sound exceptionally early.

45 days .. LATA (dk green with a purple tip, 55-60 cm length) is listed as 35 days bloom / 45 days first harvest.

60 days ...USHA (med green, 50-70 cm, aka Asparagus bean) is listed as 50 days bloom / 60 days first harvest.

Other suppliers also list a generic green Asparagus bean at 60 days.

Thanks for any additional suggestions of varieties.

greentongue in Arkansas...

... waiting for sunrise to see what the ice storm did to my Fava bean experiment! May be good news, cuz it's 18 degrees here this AM, and I think they spray water on oranges to save them from freezing in Florida?

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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Greentongue, how long is his growing season? For yardlongs, the day temps are only part of the story... low night temps (below 50 degrees) will stunt growth & cause blossom drop.

"Chinese Red Noodle" will probably not make it in Wyoming. It is later than most of the yardlongs I grow (85 days for me) and seems to require more heat to produce (especially warmer nights). It only succeeds for me because I start them early as transplants... which might be a good policy in Wyoming as well, regardless of the variety chosen.

I would take the DTM for the "Seeds of India" yardlongs with a grain of salt, since that probably represents their performance in a much warmer climate. For you, Greentongue, those results might be close - but probably not for Wyoming. They do sound interesting, however. I must admit, I have been surprised at the great performance of several varieties from the Philippines, here in my Northern climate... so who knows?

For commercial pole varieties, "Liana" (black seeded) is probably my most reliable producer here in Wisconsin. It blooms early & tolerates cool nights. The pods are dark green, about 15" long at prime, and have the true "asparagus bean" flavor when cooked lightly. The yield can be quite heavy. Many of the generic yardlongs are similar to "Liana".

But perhaps your brother might have better luck with a bush variety. I grew one last year from the Philippines ("Bush Sitao Var. BS-3"), that bore its first pods at 60 days. The pods are shorter than pole types (about 8") but are very firm. It yields heavily, as can be seen below.

"Bush Sitao Var. BS-3"
("sitao" is the Filipino word for yardlongs)

If allowed to go to seed, it doubles as a fairly good dry pea.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:40PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

greentongue, aren't you glad you came to this forum with that question? :-)


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:48PM
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Jim, Yep, I'm happy I asked here! Not only great answers, but unlimited other people get to benefit from the knowledge, too.

Zeedman, AGAIN thanks for your input!!

I had thought about the 50 degrees night rule... He lives in the Goshen Hole in SE Wyoming ... foreman of a 10,000 acre cattle ranch and his provided house is on the same water meter as the cattle tanks, so he can use drip irrigation all year. He turns on the soaker hoses and goes off for his day of working cattle and raising cow food...

As for cold nites... last year when we were discussing plants for him to try, he reminded me that he could still get a frost on May 31. He very successfully grew Super Sioux tomato, Buttercup squash, and Cajun Delight F1 okra. Those may give some measure of his potential summer season. Summer is short, but it's about 95 - 100 degrees in heat.

I had also suggested to him that he pick a south side of building as a place to put up a trellis to increase sun heat and reduce wind chilling. I use such a microclimate to grow figs and rosemary here in Arkansas, and I was able to get a last picking off my Green Taiwan Longbeans in mid October and have them in the frig to serve to our sister from Kansas a week later.

My current intention is to send him about 6 seeds each of Anna's Taiwan Green, each of the 2 Indian varieties (I also expect them to be later than stated, but doubling their times = crop in zone 4), and the red one from the eBay seller in Wenatchee, Washington. WW is teetering somewhere between zone 6 and zone 5 near as I can tell from the map, so his semi-short season in a climate suited to apples may also mean a crop in Wyoming.

I am forwarding my brother this link to read your suggestions and see the pix. I suspect his interest is as much in growing them to show off as it is to eat them, so he may or may not go for the bush type. I suggested that if his neighbors were growing black eyed peas, that might tell him what his chance of success was with the longbeans.

MOST INTERESTING that you are finding unexpected cold tolerances in Philippine plants. My philosophy has become one of "try it", as so many times experiments work. When they don't, it's still education...kinda like the way Thomas Edison thought it useful to know a few hundred ways that wouldn't work.

I think there are always surprises in hardiness. I had no expectations of survival of the Middle Eastern herb Zaatar (Origanum syriaca ), but it not only survived the humidity of last year (mildews immediately killed many similarly adapted plants from NE Colorado when I tried them here in 1990's), but has made the winter in an open pot as well... surviving to at least 17 degrees. I sent report this week to Johnny's where I bought it.

I am having a lot of unexpected survivals with zone 8 plants under my big pine tree, where a thin blanket of pine needles plus overgrowth from native hardy annuals is enough blanket to fend off frost to 10 degrees or less. I weed in spring and welcome the return of Lemon verbena, pineapple sage, Mexican tarragon, Sicilian oregano, small dahlias, and the big purple oxalis. Tuberoses freeze just deep enough to kill the center stem which would have bloomed and send up instead a bunch of tiny sprouts. Winter of 2000 was zero for over 2 weeks, and I had to start over the next spring with that whole list!!

Now I gotta figger out how to get rhubarb COLD ENOUGH in the winter to make it do well here... maybe grow in a big METAL pot that will chill down extremely cold when it freezes here?

Laugh if you wish .... I am also interested in tolerance of extreme drought and heat. I have some candidates to go out on the road frontage this summer. I already know that catnip and sage and lemon grass will make it, and Matt's Wild Cherry, Gold Coast okra, and de Milpa tomatillos will survive but not make a significant crop. I'm looking for plants from Mexico, India, Africa, Middle East that might take such heat and drought. Any more global warming, and those areas of the world may prove to be the ancestral homes of the last food crops we can grow outdoors on this planet!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 9:07PM
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