30. August 2021

Red Noodle yard-long bean

This yard-long bean variety is called Red Noodle, and I couldn't think of a more fitting name. I grow it in my polytunnel here at home in zone 3, and I have had great results so far. This is how I do it.

En lång böna ligger ihopvirad i en hand som håller upp bönorna framför kameran.

This lovely yard-long bean has a beautiful red color and it soon became a favorite in my garden.


I have tried growing yard-long beans twice before and didn't even get any flowers on my plants. Some people say that they shouldn't be sold in Sweden since it's so difficult to grow them here. This was supposed to be my last try, which turned out to completely change my opinion about this bean. I feel like I need to grow it every year now. Just imagine!


Ett knippe bönor ser ut att hänga fritt i luften med grönska runt omkring. Yard-long bean, surrounded by foliage.

The plant itself is barely visible, you can only see the red beans seemingly floating in the air.


This bean is called yard-long bean, asparagus bean or Chinese long bean. This particular variety is Red Noodle. I have another green one called Yard Long too.

The tricky thing about yard-long beans is that they take quite some time to grow and need a nice and warm spot to thrive. They might not survive outside at all, which explains why I failed the first time I tried it.

My plan was to follow the instructions on the back of the seed packet to the T. I was lucky enough to come across a gardener in a Facebook group who was able to give me some tips. Or, just one main tip: Grow it in the warmest spot in your garden.


En hand håller upp ett knippe bönor där en lila blomma syns. Yard-long bean, flower.

The bean flowers for a short while before the petals fall off. The light blue/purple flowers smell wonderful.


I sowed my yard-long beans indoors at the end of March. The recommended time to sow is February-March and I'm going to start already in February next year. I was sadly only able to keep two plants alive from the 20 seeds I got in the seed packet. The plants grew indoors and I transplanted them a few times before putting them in a large black plastic pot, with bokashi compost in the bottom. I have kept the pot in my polytunnel since June.

My Red Noodle didn't impress me in the beginning. The bean just looked really miserable. It took forever before the first flowers showed up too. Or, I didn't even get to see them flower before it was over. The first tiny beans caught my eye a few weeks ago and it made me so happy to see!

The plants have produced extremely large beans since. The longest one was 2 ft 3 in (around 70 centimeters) long.


Read more about beans: Planting and growing beans


En hand håller upp ett knippe jättelånga röda bönor. Yard-long bean, a handful of beans.

I'm using vertical pictures to show you how long these beans actually get. The longest yard-long bean was 2 ft 3 in (around 70 centimeters), long enough to reach my kid's ear when measured from the ground up. We laughed a lot about that.


Since I didn't get that many beans from my beds outside, I feel extra happy that I was able to get a batch of these yard-long beans from my polytunnel. When it comes to flavor, I think that the dwarf French bean Nautica beats almost everything. But Red Noodle can definitely hold its own. I decided to pan-fry it together with fresh cabbage leaves. It was absolutely delicious!


En närbild på bönans fäste i stjälken, med en liten öppning som precis ser ut som en detalj ur en kvinnas underliv. Yard-long bean, close-up.

I just love the beautiful deep red color of this yard-long bean.


More about beans: How to grow a lot of fava beans


Since the plant takes such a long time to grow, I don't think that I would be able to grow yard-long beans outside here in zone 3. Have you tried growing it outside, and how did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below.

I look forward to growing more of these beans next year. I'm going to take better care of them this time though so that I get more plants per pot. They look so nice growing in the trellis, so I think that this bean can grow wherever there is room.

I'm so happy to finally get some results. Every time I go into the polytunnel, I feel so surprised and happy by how well it all turned out.
/Sara Bäckmo

11 responses to “Red Noodle yard-long bean”

  1. Ljiljana says:

    Dear Sara,
    I grow those beans in my garden, too. I love their huge lilac flowers, and it's funny to see how they start growing from it, like a thin long needle. I like watching you tube videos made by Chinese girl called Liziqi. She has extensive garden and harvests fruits and veggies from there as well (so I read somewhere) from communal gardens that villagers make together. There is almost no words there, just nice music, pretty scenery and ways to cook and preserve all that food ..Chinese way! Well, I saw Liziqi wrap those noodles around her hand, push in a jar and pour some brine on top of it... so I went checking on internet and find recipe for pickled red noodle beans. I made them - and they turned out great! Also, this girl lives in area that seems to be quite cold, snow is often in her videos - and there are ginger and lemons in her garden..? The garden is protected with tall bamboo walls all around - which maybe shields it from cold air and wind, but still... I never thought I can plant ginger in my garden and expect it to survive our winter..but I will try that, too. Good luck with more garden experiments! Regards from central Serbia.

  2. Leah Ireland says:

    Hej Sara!

    Leah from the Feminist Farmers here 🙂 I'm curious how big your pots were? I want to try growing my guys on my south-facing, semi-protected balcony.

  3. JP says:

    Hi Sara,

    One small suggestion: While harvesting try not to cut the whole growth stem, rather snip off only the bean. The stem goes on to produce at least couple of more set of beans. This guarantees more yield.

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Sara!
    This was my first year growing long beans. I’m in zone 6 in Ohio, USA. I planted them directly in the ground after frost. They did take longer than our regular green beans to produce. The flowers are beautiful and the beans were delicious. I’m excited to look for the red noodle variety-how fun!

  5. SD May says:

    Are the red noodle beans green at first and then turn red? Or do they start out from the beginning as red?

  6. rhianne newlahnd says:

    I am not sure when to harvest the red noodle beans? do they taste better if you pick them young or let them grow fatter?

  7. Dushy Xavier says:

    First time growing long beans in zone 9 in Canada. Surprised with the harvest. 6 long be a s weighed 300 grams. Looking forward to plant in 2022 if the Lord gives me a another summer as I am a stroke survivor by the mercies of God.

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