Xp Bonaire Feature Story
We are now in the hottest part of the year and at that rare moment when the breeze hits us, it’s a hot breeze and you only want to hide. In the plant department, as we mentioned last month, we will focus on easy plants that love our climate and succeed in this heat.
Try something new!
The long bean, also known as the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean is not very common in Europe, but here in this region, as well as in Suriname and Asia, it is used in traditional cooking.
The origins of long beans have been argued between Southeast Asia and Africa. What matters more is that the plant thrives in the heat as long as you water it frequently.
Start a plant
Remove the beans from a long bean and let it germinate in a moist, folded paper towel. Place the paper towel in a closed zip lock bag.
After a short time you will see the seed germinate. Ours took only two days, but it can range anywhere from 3 to 10 days.
When you see the roots developing, plant the seeds in a pot. Make sure to add very nutritious soil to the bottom of your pot so you will grow plenty of beans. The plant will reach the extra nutrients when it matures. A soil mildly rich in organic matter is best.
When the plant is established in the soil, it will start growing really fast. Support it with a frame because it can grow up to 2 meters.
Long beans need sun, so make sure to place them in a very sunny spot.
Long beans need a lot of water. Make sure to water frequently.
It can take 1 to 3 months from seed for long beans to start flowering, but once the beans form, it does not take long for them to start growing longer and longer. The beans lose their dense, crispness as the beans inside fill out, so harvest while they are still firm, usually between 8 and 12 inches (20-30 cm) long and thinner than a pencil.
Once they start producing, you may need to harvest nearly every day to keep the plants productive. The beans will keep several days in the refrigerator.
Pests and Problems
Long beans are almost care free, but all long beans attract ants and wasps. This is because they produce nectar from certain nodes on the vine. Ants stake them out as their own territory and harvest this nectar and are not really a problem. When you have an aphid problem, spray off the pest frequently with water.
Unfortunately, the tender shoots and leaves can be attractive to small animals. Therefore, try to protect the plant in its early stages.
Grow and hold on to some mature bean pods and dry them to grow new long beans from seed. Just start the procedure over again.
Long beans contain a variety of essential nutrients for your body, including:
Vitamin B Complex