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Asparagus beans are 2-footers.

Skinny beans that reach 2 feet long provide a special taste treat and are fun to grow. These are asparagus beans, also known as Chinese long beans and yard-long beans (Vigna unguiculata sesquipedalis). Relatives of the cow pea, they have a distinct nutty, pea-bean flavor.

The rambunctions vines tend to be pest-free, rarely succumbling to any maladies, such as mildew, common to other beans. They need sturdy support, so provide a trellis or stakes about 6 to 7 feet tall.

Before planting, work in plenty of organic matter. Sow seeds 1 to 2 inches deep, 8 to 12 inches apart, in a sunny spot with loose, fast-draining soil. Keep beans well watered, especially during the hot summer months. Feed lightly during the growing season, but don't go overboard with nitrogen fertilizers.

For best flavor, harvest beans when about a foot long, or less. These beans are about half as thick as standard green beans; be sure to pick before seeds start to swell. Prepare them just as you would green or snap beans, or use in stir-fry dishes. Where to buy seeds

If your nursery does not sell asparagus bean seeds, you can order by mail. Except where noted, catalogs are free: Kitazawa Seed Co., 356 W. Taylor St., San Jose, Calif. 95110; The Redwood City Seed Company, Box 361, Redwood City, Calif. 94074 (ask for free information sheet on asparagus bean); Tsang and Ma, Box 294, Belmont, Calif. 94002; The Urban Farmer, Inc., Box 444, Convent Station, N.J. 07961 ($1); Vermont Bean Seed Co., Garden Lane, Bomoseen, Vt. 05732.
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Date:Apr 1, 1985
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