Gita Long Bean
Tender, dark green pods averaging between 15-20 inches in length. We harvest them when they are pencil-thick, but some communities prefer them slimmer. These beans are sweet, flavorful, and lower in fiber, and are ideal for steaming or stir-frying. Our community of East New York is comprised of people from the Caribbean, South Asia, and African Americans from the American South. Caribbean cuisine has been influenced by centuries of cultural exchange with English, French, and Spanish colonizers, enslaved people from West Africa, and indentured servants from Asia and India. The long bean originated in Southeast Asia, became popular in Caribbean cuisine after the Asian cultural exchange, and is now cherished in our diverse community in Brooklyn, where it's affectionately known as "bora" or sometimes "bodi". Our youth interns at East New York Farms! enjoy harvesting this unique crop, and can sometimes be found playfully whipping each other with them. One popular Trinidadian way to prepare them is to saute them with garlic, pepper, and tomato (known as "fry bodi"). A popular Bengali method is to cook them as a stew with potato, shrimp, turmeric, hot pepper, and garlic.
Days to Maturity: 78
Seeds per pack: 32
Germination rate: 91% on 12/14/2021
Planting / harvesting notes
Direct sow long beans safely after frost, any time between late May and mid-July. This is a climbing vine crop, so it needs to be planted next to a structure or trellis. Plant 1" deep with 3' spacing, either in 1 row on each side of the net trellis or in another arrangement if using a different kind of trellis, like a pole or garden sculpture. Being a legume, it does fairly well in and adds nitrogen to poor soil. Ready to harvest after about 80 days. We find the majority of beans near the bottom or tops of the plants, and harvest them completely for the first month to push the plants to continue producing.
Seed keeping notes
Long beans are self-pollinating, though it is best to isolate different varieties of V. unguiculata (including black-eyed peas, southern peas, cowpeas) at least 20 feet, if not much farther to avoid unwanted cross-pollination. Allow beans to become yellow and rubbery, and then to dry fully into a brown crispy state. This is when they are ready to harvest for seed. If necessary, lay them out to dry a little longer in their pods.