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Great Color For Vegetable Garden

I grow Asian Long Beans (Vigna unguiculata var. sesquipedalis) every year, the common green one.    This bean has many names: Asparagus bean, Yardlong bean, but I prefer Asian Long Bean.  It’s a very useful bean.  You can cook it any which way you like or just eat it fresh.  I snap it in small pieces and put it in salads or just snack on it right in the garden.   It doesn’t have that greenish taste like string beans do.  I also put them in curry as well as stir fry.  The recipes will be coming along when I have enough time at home to jot them down along with home made dishes my family and relatives cook.

I have always liked to try something new so when I learned that there was a red version of the long bean I managed to obtain some seeds.  This specific one (see below) is called “Red Noodle”.  They grow pretty fast when the weather gets hot but produce a lot of leaves, no flowers.  Our soil is too fertile, I guess.  Between compost and chicken manure and the beans native ability to produce their own nitrogen, perhaps it’s too much of a good thing.  So they just produced a lot of healthy looking leaves.   I decided to give them my grandmother’s treatment….take the leaves off.

Yes, just alternately nip off some of their leaves.  Her reason behind this?  Just to trick the plants into feeling that they are dying so they will produce offspring as a survival mechanism.  It works every time.

Two weeks after I nipped a few leaves off the Red Noodle plants, they started to flower and have continued to do so ever since.  Now, we have more beans than we can eat.  Our neighbor, Natalie, refused to take them just based on color.  She took the green ones though claiming she had to get use to the color first.  They are a lovely burgundy red.

I pick them when they’re only a foot long and tender.  Anything longer than that doesn’t taste as good.  I let a couple of them grow for seeds and they can grow longer than two feet.  If you like beans, this is a good one to grow and you can substitute them for string beans in any dish.  On the plus side, the flowers are really pretty.  They are larger than string bean flowers and have a lavender color.  Georgia O’Keefe would have painted this flower.

Red Noodle

Red Noodle on trellis

Common green long bean. They look a little anemic compared to the red ones since three of them got chewed off at the base by field mice.

Beautiful lavender flower