Dolique de Cuba (Long Bean)
Long, tender green bean, terrific for cooking.
Dolique de Cuba, or Cuban Asparagus Bean is an old heirloom variety of long bean, which is a type of cowpea (black eyed pea, field pea) - a species native to West Africa. This particular type made its way to East Asia where the pod was further developed for eating when immature (rather than eating its seeds). This variety of long bean is green podded with red seeds, and it has been grown in the United States since at least 1800, if not earlier, and was pictured and described in Vilmorin's The Vegetable Garden in 1885 (see image).
Days to maturity: 78
Seeds per pack: 32
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.