Skip to main content

Growing snake beans

One of the really fun things about our sub-tropical climate is the weird veges that we can grow.  I've written about a few them before (rosella, warrigal greens and sweet potato), and other posts about chokos and trombonchino.  Here's one more that I like to grow: the snake bean.





Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis also known as yardlong bean,long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, or Chinese long bean.  You might have guessed from that, it is a LONG bean, up to 30cm in my experience.  Apparently sequipedalis means "one and a half feet", so it must get even longer in some conditions. It is a different genus to the common bean and more closely related to cow peas and mung beans.
Snake beans grow on vines and seem to prefer hot and wet weather, but will tolerate dry better than common beans, and will certainly produce better in the heat.  Like common beans, they do not survive frost and start to die back when overnight temperatures cool off.  The plant produces two flowers off each stem and these grow into beans, sometimes it seems like its overnight, but they can be hard to spot because at first they just look like stems and then suddenly you realise the vine is covered in beans!  They are also really hard to photograph, as you can see.  Any that get too big can be left to dry off, and used either as dried beans or seeds.


the snake bean vine

two beans starting, can you see them?

the snake been flower


I left this one too long, still good for seeds


I think they taste best when they are small, and they taste is similar to common beans.  In our climate its good to grow a few snake beans with the common beans and then depending on how summer goes, one will do better, and the common beans will keep going even when the weather cools off in autumn.  Apparently you can also eat the leaves, but I've never be short on other greens to want to try it.

Do you grow snake beans?  Do you grow any other weird vegetables?


Comments

  1. I grow them in Virginia, US where it is hot and humid. I like them because a lot of the insects that ravage the regular bush and pole beans do not eat these. They grow on poles but not as much growth as regular pole beans. The hard thing is catching the long beans before they get too ripe as they blend in with the vines so well but as you have found, they produce seed for next year. I think they taste best stir fried with a little soy sauce and garlic. They are a good choice and may produce when there is a crop failure with regular beans.

    ReplyDelete
  2. تواصل مع اسرع خدمة عملاء من مركز صيانة يونيفرسال واحصل على احدث قطع الغيار الاصلية باقل الاسعار من توكيل يونيفرسال فقط من خلال تواصلك معنا الان

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't know if they would grow in our Mediterranean climate here in Sth Aust Liz, but I used to buy them from the bazaar when I lived in Nepal. Fried in ghee and served with our daal and rice, delicious!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

Popular posts from this blog

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.



How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

The new Eight Acres website is live!

Very soon this blogspot address will automatically redirect to the new Eight Acres site, but in the meantime, you can check it out here.  You will find all my soaps, ebooks and beeswax/honey products there, as well as the blog (needs a tidy up, but its all there!).  I will be gradually updating all my social media links and updating and sharing blog posts over the next few months.  I'm very excited to share this new website with you!


Worm farm maintenance

I have had the worm farm for over a year now, and I have to say it’s the easiest and most convenient way I have found to make compost and to dispose of vege scraps and other organic waste. I have not had much success with putting everything in a compost bin, I find that the food scraps go all sloppy and don’t really compost properly. I have found that my current system works much better, all food scraps go to the worms and the compost bin is for weeds and manure. The worms are able to eat all our food scraps and convert it to compost and worm tea, and there is still plenty for the compost bin, but now its not full of sloppy food scraps. People often ask if its necessary or possible to have both a worm farm and a compost bin, and I think it actually works better for us.



The worm farm really requires very little maintenance.  All I have to do is tip in more food scraps every few days, drain the tea once a week or so, check that the top tray is damp (if not, tip in half a bucket of …