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.
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!
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.
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
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!
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.