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One of the true marvels of the bean world! These prolific vines grow slender, green pods up to two feet long, though they are most tender when harvested at about one foot. (The “yardlong” moniker is a slight exaggeration!) This variety is popular in Southeast Asia, for good reason - the vines thrive in heat and humidity and are resistant to many pests and diseases.
Asparagus beans are most often chopped into bite sized pieces and used in stir fries, where they really shine, but they can also be delicious steamed or used in soups. They’re so big you can even throw them straight on the grill!
Yard Long Red Seeded asparagus beans can be direct seeded in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. They will need a sturdy trellis and full sun. Beans will be ready to harvest in about 75 days.
|Avg. Seeds / Packet||Packet Weight||Planting Season||Planting Method|
|55||10 g||after last frost||direct seed|
|Seed Depth||Direct Seed Spacing||Soil Temp. Range||Days to Sprout|
|Mature Spacing||Sun Requirement||Frost Tolerance||Days to Harvest|
Asparagus beans need full sun, well-draining soil, and a long, warm growing season to produce a good yield (at least 75 days of frost-free weather). Don’t grow them where legumes (peas or other beans) have grown the previous year. Beans don’t need overly-rich soil, but appreciate a little extra compost at time of planting. Asparagus beans will also need a tall and sturdy trellis, as they can easily climb six to eight feet or more. Make sure to have the trellis in place when you plant, so that you don’t disturb the plants’ roots while putting it up later.
Direct-sow asparagus beans in the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Plant the seeds one inch deep, and two to three inches apart. Once the seedlings are up and have their first adult leaves, thin them to four to six inches apart.
Although they’re called “yardlong” beans, harvest the pods when they reach ten to twelve inches long for the best texture and flavor. If you find the pods are soft or spongy, you’ve waited too long - the pod’s flavor changes when the seeds inside start developing.
Harvest the beans by twisting them off the vine rather than pulling, to keep from snapping the end of the vine off along with the beans. Vines need their terminal buds left intact to keep producing. Asparagus beans grow quickly, so try to harvest every day once they begin setting pods. Regular harvesting will keep the plants productive, while pods left on the vine too long will trigger the plant to stop flowering, since it has set seed and finished its lifecycle.
Pollination, self; Life Cycle, annual; Isolation Distance, 20 feet
Cross-pollination is rare with beans, but it is prudent to not grow different varieties next to each other to avoid the risk. Earmark a couple of plants at the beginning of the season for seed saving. To encourage optimal pod development, water very little and don't feed the seed plants, nor pick any pods from them to eat. At the very end of the season, pick the pods when they have turned crisp and brown. Some varieties will shatter –meaning the pod will split open to disperse the seeds- so keep an eye on your seeds' progress and harvest accordingly. With smaller varieties, the whole bush can be uprooted and hung upside-down for drying. The seed inside the pod should be hard. Dry the pods in a well-ventilated place, clean and winnow, and store.