By: Martin L. Price
Published: 1998-05-19

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I first grew yard long beans (Vigna sinensis subspecies sesquipedalis, also called ‘asparagus beans’) as a curiosity when I lived in the temperate climate of Indiana. Three of the long pods were plenty for a meal for my wife and I. That curiosity is a necessity in the hot, humid summers of Florida if we want anything resembling the pole green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) from “up north.” It is among my first recommendations when someone asks what vegetables will grow in the hot, humid tropics.

The two things that make it so special are the exceptionally long edible pods (12-30 inches/30-75 cm) and its ability to resist disease in hot, humid weather. It is not a good choice for low rainfall areas without irrigation.

ECHO has purchased seed for two commercial varieties from Taiwan, one US variety (green pods) and a purple-podded variety. Rather than send four packets in the mail, we have bulked these so that a single packet will give plants from each variety. Just save seed from any plants that produce well. It is unlikely that they will cross-pollinate. If you already have yardlong beans, but are interested only in the brilliant purple pods (12 in/30cm), you may request that only that variety be sent.