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Photo by Jessica Walliser
In 2013, my new crop of the year will be the red yard long ben called Red Noodle.
Every year, I try to grow something different in the vegetable garden. This year I grew pac choi. My family and I have really enjoyed it and I plan to grow it again next year. The baby greens add a lot of crunch to salads and the mature leaves and stalks are terrific sautéed and in stir-fries. I have tried lots of new things in my garden over the years, including peanuts (which were not very successful), sweet potatoes (which were marginally successful), yellow cucumbers (which were decently successful) and purple Brussels sprouts (which were hugely successful).
For 2013’s gardening season, I plan to break my gardening mold by planting Chinese yard long beans, specifically the variety known as Red Noodle. I first saw these interesting beans at a friend’s garden a few years ago but had forgotten about them. Then this summer, when I visited another friend’s garden for a photo shoot, I saw them growing over the pergola framing her vegetable garden’s gate. Each bean measures 18 to 20 inches in length in a beautiful burgundy color. The vigorous vines climb 10 feet or more and they are surprisingly prolific. I may mix Red Noodle with similar green yard long bean, called Gita. Gita is touted as producing a thinner, more tender bean, and it matures about 10 days faster than the red variety.
Both red and green yard long beans are stringless and sweet and can be used just like traditional green beans. I can’t wait to give them a try!