Cultivation of long beans
Published on: Sunday, July 21, 2019

THERE are countless varieties of vegetables and other foodstuff that are grown and processed under doubtful conditions and circumstances with the result that today’s foods can appear to appear impressive, especially with regards to the nutritional value figures and packagings.

However, the opposite can also be true when people are too taken in by profit motives that even the last shred of caution can be thrown out of the window with the result that toxic or contaminated food begin to appear on the shelves.  

These products may be bought by consumers who are completely taken in by stunning colours, attractive packagings, convincing figures and powerful advertisements that they have become unaware of the potential problems that may arise some time down the road.

Many toxins in extremely tiny amounts do not cause outright damage but are lodged within the body until the level of tolerance is breached.  Such interactions are complex matters best left to the relevant experts to dwell on.  

In short, it makes sense to be doubly careful to make smart and informed decisions before wolfing anything down into the body system.


A healthy long bean seedling in a pot.

For the typical gardening enthusiast, it is useful to know that you have a choice to make smart and beneficial decisions that can benefit not only your own self but your family members, friends and relatives too.  To make that choice is your right.  Oftentimes, however, it comes back to the same selection of veggies and foodstuffs in a circle after a period of time. 

So, if in doubt, remember to always wash veggies well.  Better still, soak them well before washing them in preparation for cooking.  There may be lingering thoughts about what went into the production of such veggies because there are many reports about banned substances being used on farms, or using an overdose of chemicals to fight pests or just to make the product look better.

If still in doubt, the best way out is to grow your favourite veggies.


Flowers and beans are visible from a single plant.


Choice of veggies to cultivate

Of all the vegetables including beans, the long bean is in fact one of th4e most rewarding and simplest to grow.

It is a very wonderful plant that produces lots of luxuriant green leaves and abundant yields of long, crispy and very tasty beans.  Commercial farmers love to grow it because it is highly productive and easy to grow, while consumers relish in downing the beans because it is sweet, crispy and appetising.  

For the diet, it is wonderful because of its high fibre content and good amounts of vegetable protein.

As such, the long bean should appear to be a most suitable plant for gardening enthusiasts as well as the health-conscious particularly the weight-watchers. In fact, the long bean is one of the most popular and widely grown beans today.  

This can be clearly seen especially in the backyards of residential houses both in town and in the kampungs where you can often come across contraptions that look like tellises, and over such structures can be seen the vines of long beans.

For those who are fond of sweating it out panting and grunting while doing various forms of exercises such as pumping iron, aerobics, gym workouts, etc., then here is an effective alternative to hit two birds with one stone, that is, by going into the cultivation of long beans.  

The first goal is that it is possible to be rewarded with bundles of your own home-grown chemical-free crispy beans, and secondly, it is also possible to wring away the unsightly bulges and melt away the fat while leaving you with a fit, trim and shapely figure that eyes out there would love to ogle at.

Realistically speaking, such goals are achievable, even though the toughest part of the job lies in taking the first step.

 Once this is set, the rest will just be a breeze in the garden.  The bonus is that with homegrown plants, irrespective of whether they are on the ground or in pots, you can be sure that no harmful chemicals will get into your food.

So, get cracking folks!


An early pair of unopened long bean flower.  From now on it is just a waltz in the garden.  No chemicals, toxins – 
and the leaves remain spotless.


Easy long beans

The long bean is commonly called yard-long bean, asparagus bean, snake bean, string bean, and names like that.

 Belonging to the family of legumes, it is known as vigna sinensis sesquipedalis.  Within the family can be found many economically important members.  

Among the commonly-seen ones are green peas, winged beans and French beans.  Such plants are of special value to growers because of their ability to enrich the soil with nitrogenous compounds in their root nodules.

Basically, the long bean is a fruit vegetable that is grown mainly for its fruit pods.  These are usually very much longer than they are wide, hence its common name.

As a food, the entire plant can be used.  Some consumers like to eat the ripe seeds which can either be roasted, fried or boiled.  The juicy green leaves are also edible.  


This is how young long beans look like, much like a tiny pair of cow’s horn.


Young leaves, particularly those near the terminal portion of a vine, may be harvested, washed and cleaned, and then cooked and served as a soup or dish of vegetable.  It can be prepared using a variety of age-old formulae which are able to deliver various concoctions of mouth-watering stuffs.  

Once a few bottles of a suitable drink is added in to wash them down, it can be a heavenly experience on earth.

During the cooking process, if some belacan, prawn paste, budu and some generous amounts of some other kinds of local delectable spices are thrown into the kuali, the result is going to be so appetising that it may be wolfed down in no time, right to the last morsel.  

Add in some pounded udang kering and some slivers of meat, it’s going to be a chef-d’oeuvre.  But generally, most consumers prefer to eat the fruit pods as a vegetable cooked in a simple way during mealtimes.

The long bean can be cultivated throughout the warm regions of the world where it is an important market-gardening crop.  in the colder regions, greenhouses with environmentally-controlled facilities may be used to produce such a vegetable.  

The plant is always popular with gardening enthusiasts as it can be grown just about anywhere where the minimum conditions are met. 

If grown in pots, boxes or other types of containers, it can be put up anywhere such as on the balcony, front or back sections of the house, or even on window ledges if sufficient care is taken to prevent it from dropping down and hurting someone.


This crop is grown over stakes and trellises.


It’s hassle-free 

Why grow the long bean? Because it is an easy-going, small climbing plant that is not fussy about its needs and wants.

The tough vine is quick to produce abundant fruit pods, and actually does not present a real problem to look after either.

As mentioned earlier, growing the long bean is hassle-free and simple, and having understood that the plant is a climbing vine, your job is as good as half done because you can easily use your fence for it to grow over.  

so this saves you a lot of time and effort in struggling to put up a trellis system which could end up as a haphazardly done structure.

First of all, the soil needs to be worked into a suitable planting medium.  Most soils should be able to support the long bean, including the lousy filled-soil in your backyard.  

The point of importance is that it must be well-drained for it to produce a nice crop of healthy plants without rotting away the tender roots. The soil should be enriched with a liberal amount of manure, preferably the old, well-decomposed type, and fertilisers.  

These should be mixed thoroughly into the soil which is then firmed up into a slight mound.

Unless pot-bound, seeds of the long bean are generally sown directly into soil on the ground, although, to save on time, it may be a good idea to sow in polybags first if your ground is not yet ready.  

Usually, at each planting point, two to three seeds are thrown into the planting hole before being lightly covered with a layer of soil.  In the backyard, planting distance is usually set at 30-45cm for plants within the same row while between rows it may be from 60-90cm.

if your fence is used as a support, then there is no problem. But most likely, some form of trellis is needed.  This is to save you the problem of having to climb over to the other side of the fence especially when it is time to do some harvesting.  

If two rows are to be planted, then making the trellis is simple. Just stake a long piece of bamboo at each point and then incline it towards the opposite one so as to form an inverted “v”.  

When this is done, the stakes are tied at a point where they cross, and this should be made about two metres above the ground. The tops of each cross are then connected with a long bamboo pole and tied securely. In this way, a simple trellis is there for the plant to twine and grow up.

Another method is to stake three pieces of bamboo on the ground in the shape of a triangle at each planting point.  The bamboos are inclined inwards and they are tied together at the intersection about two metres above the ground.  

This method is for plants that are grown singly, or alternatively, the three stakes in a triangular pattern may each represent a planting point.

Yet another method, which may represent the simplest one, is pot or container cultivation.  This is a breeze where everyone can virtually waltz through it while reaping the joy of long bean cultivation.  

To begin with, just go grab a pot, tin can, wooden box, or a small abandoned drum or something like that.

Whatever contraption is chosen, there is a need to ensure that there are drainage holes at the bottom. These also act as aeration channels for the root environment.  

You can punch or drill up to five holes for a 30cm pot with each hole the size of a 5-sen coin.  When this is done, spread a layer of stones or broken bricks to a level of 4-5cm thick.  Then trowel in some clean, enriched and well-mixed topsoil while tamping the pot to allow for a more solid fill.


The beans are growing very fast and could be harvested within a day or two. 

Long bean seeds can be easily purchased from many outlets in town.  These need not be pre-soaked but may be sown directly into the pot and then watered at least once daily. 

On hot dry days, watering in the mornings and evenings are necessary to hasten germination and growth and prevent drying-out of young seedlings.  

Each pot should be able to grow a maximum of two plants if the soil is properly prepared and enriched before sowing. 

 It should also be able to provide sustenance at least until the first flowering and harvesting.

With pot-bound plants, seedlings should reach a height of about 25cm within 21 days from sowing.  

Add another seven or eight days and flower buds should begin to appear. By the 45th day of sowing, the first harvest of long bean pods should be ready for the taking.


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