This Bean Belongs in Your Garden

Joan McDonald

Hello, Front Yard to Table friends!


If you're looking to grow beans this summer, here's one that should always find room in your garden—the Yard Long Bean (Vigna unguiculata, subsp. Sesquipedalis), aka the Asparagus Bean. It is a powerhouse of a grower and comes in many colors, including red, purple, green, mosaic, and the list goes on and on. This is definitely on the top of the list every year of plants worth growing. It is easy to direct sow, requires very little care, and produces a ton of beans—enough to feed your family, your neighbor’s family, and maybe even the whole block.



The red and purple Asparagus Beans actually hold their color when cooked—most veggies of the hue don’t when prepared with heat. This makes it a superstar in my book. Another fun fact? The beans got their name because they can grow very long. I tried to grow one 36 inches, but the longest I was able to grow was 29.5… Close enough, I say, to earn the yard-long title.


This is a very useful bean. It is ideally harvested between nine and 11 inches long, when it’s tender and can be snapped right off the vine. It has a nutty flavor and is easy to prepare. Drop the beans in a pan, sauté them with a little soy sauce, and call it delicious. If you have young gardeners just learning about the fantastic world of veggies this one will get them inspired!



Growing Tips:

— The plant will need full sunlight and a structure to climb—either a fence or trellis works well.

Be sure they have well-amended soil. Remember: If you feed your soil, your soil will feed your plants, and your plants will feed you!

Harvest the beans in August. Don’t forget that you can freeze them!

Save your seeds. Let the beans go to seed—you can use them as a shelling bean and add them to soups. And make sure you save seeds for next season. I love a plant that gives back!




If you grow it, let us know: How did you use it on your table?!