Sunday, 3 October 2010

Long Bean

Long, thin and green, best describes the Long Bean (Vigna Sesquipedalis) which is also known as Asparagus Bean, Chinese Long Bean, Garter Bean, Snake Bean (not the Snake Gourd), Yardlong Bean and also as Kacang Panjang in Malaysia and as Payathangai or Karamani in Tamil. This is from the legume family and it is a tropical plant grown in Southeastern Asia, Thailand, Southern China and also Malaysia. Long Bean is not a seasonal plant and therefore can be found year round. Apart from the green (which is common) there are other varieties such the pale green, short green(something like the French beans) and also somewhat in red. I have been only planting the slender darker green. Last week one of my friends gave me the seeds for the red variety, so will be planting this in the next season.

Like any other tropical plant, the Long Bean prefers high temperature and well drained soil. However this plant tolerates heat, low rainfall and arid soils. This is a climbing annual therefore requires trellis for support. I do not use any fancy trellis, mine is just few branches from the tree that grows at the nearby bushes near my home. This plant can grow as tall about 9 to 12 feet and it can climb all by itself, however with a little help from us, it does not get messy and tangled and this also ensures the fruits are visible and have more space for growth. The flowers are a little yellowish and some are violet blue. Bees and ants love the flower so you can see them busy with frequent visit to this plant.

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