Easy and Nutritious Long Beans Recipe

As promised in the last post here I am with an Easy and Nutritious Long Beans Recipe. Its a very easy to do raw vegetable salad and you can eat it as a side dish or just by itself as a snack. Vegetables loose their nutrition with time and because of cooking. To get maximum nutrition from vegetables you should have it fresh and raw. But vegetables bought from store are typically a few days old and are grown using inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. So not only its low in nutritional value, it is also not advisable to eat them raw. It is indeed harmful for you. Hence if you want to make this Easy and Nutritious Long bean recipe then I highly recommend you to grow your own long beans in your own Organic Terrace Garden. Growing Long beans in Containers is super easy and time to harvest is also very low (40-45 days). Hence there is no excuse why you should not be growing them by yourself. And the most important factor why you should use organically grown long beans from your garden for this recipe is that they taste much better and sweeter and have a great texture.

Long Beans Salad Recipe

Back to the recipe now. This is a Canadian inspired recipe and uses sweet nectar of Canada, the maple syrup. However if you don’t have pure maple syrup you can substitute it with honey. This Easy and Nutritious Long Beans Recipe serves two as a snack. As a side dish it can serve three to four persons.You’ll take only 10 minutes to make this and this is what you need for the lip smacking salad.

Ingredients

long bean salad ingredients
Canadian inspired long bean salad ingredients
  1. Fresh Yard Long Beans from your Organic Terrace Garden – 250 gms
  2. Sesame seeds – 1 tablespoon
  3. Olive Oil – 2 tablespoon
  4. Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard (spicy) – 1 tablespoon
  5. Pure Dark Maple syrup – 1 tablespoon
  6. Lime or Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
  7. Black pepper (coarsely crushed) – 1 teaspoon
  8. Salt – to taste

Method

  1. Wash long beans thoroughly and cut off the ends. Cut into 1 inch size pieces and pat dry.
  2. Roast sesame seeds on a pan for 2-3 minutes till they become slightly brown and leave them to cool.
  3. In a bowl whisk together Olive Oil, Mustard, Maple syrup, Lime juice and Black pepper till you have a good emulsion.
  4. In a salad bowl mix together the Beans, Sesame seeds and the Dressing.
  5. Add salt to taste and mix till the beans are coated well with the dressing.

And there you have it. This easy and Nutritious Long beans recipe is ready.

long beans salad
Canadian inspired long beans salad

The best part of this recipe is that you really don’t have to stick to the measurements religiously. You can alter the quantities according to your liking. And if you don’t have Kozlik’s mustard you can always substitute it with any mustard sauce which has heat. The hero of this recipe is organically grown fresh yard long beans and you can enjoy these at any time of the day in just ten minutes.

Bon Appetit

Growing Long Beans in Containers

Yardlong  beans, asparagus beans, Chinese long beans are different names for what is commonly known as long beans. This is a tropical and subtropical climate vegetable which is a favorite vegetable in Asian countries. The bean pods generally grow around 12-20 inches and are tender, crisp with a beautiful texture. You can eat it stir fried,  pan fried, steamed and in curries. You can even eat it raw. But in raw form it tastes best when you grow it in your own Organic Terrace Garden. One of the very interesting aspect of this plant is that it grows quickly and fruits vigorously. You need to harvest on a daily basis as they fruit on a daily basis. The best part is that Growing Long Beans in Containers is super easy. It needs very basic care and is quite hardy in nature. In this post I am not only going to guide you on how to grow long beans in containers and pots, I am also going to give you some tips, which will make Growing Long Beans in Containers a fun activity for the entire family.

By the way in case you are new to Organic Terrace Gardening I recommend you to read about the things you should consider before starting your Organic Terrace Garden and a Beginner’s Guide to growing vegetables in containers.

Quick Reference Table for Growing Long Beans in Containers

 

Item Value
Growing Temperature 25-35 °C
Germination Temperature 30 °C Ideal
 Germination Time  3-7 days
 Soil pH  6.0 to 7.0
 Sunlight Need  6-10 hours per day
 Planting Method  Direct Sowing
 Container size  upto 2 plants in 10 liter container
 Time to Harvest  40-45 days from germination day
 Harvest Period  30 days typically
 Pollination  Self Pollinating
 Typical Pests  Aphids, Ants
 Best season to plant in India  Monsoons

Before Sowing Long Bean Seeds in Pots

Trellis structure for long bean
A Simple Trellis structure for long beans. Long bean plants automatically start climbing on the strings provided.

Yardlong beans are climber plants. Within 10-12 days of developing true leaves they start to develop vines which starts climbing on any support that they get. This support is generally strings hanging loosely from top of the trellis. These plants grow very fast. Hence you must be prepare the trellis structure for the plant to climb as soon as you sow the seeds. It would be better to make the trellis even before sowing long bean seeds in pots because sometimes it is not possible to put up a structure at some places and if you cant move your container your plants get stuck in a place where they cant climb. And that is a disaster. Hence make sure you have a structure ready for climbers when you are Growing Long Beans in Containers.

Choosing Container for Long Beans

You don’t really need very big containers to grow long beans in your Organic Terrace Garden. You can use a 10 liter container to grow 2 plants. Just make sure that the depth of the container is 8-12 inches. Anything smaller than that would not give a good harvest and anything bigger than that would not boost your harvest significantly. The container can be anything from a un-glazed earthen pot to a plastic tub. Anything works as long as you take care of the minimum depth requirements of the container. Depending on the surface area of the container you can plant multiple long bean plans. If you are planing in a box type container, keep the distance between two plants 1 ft and between two rows the distance should be kept at 1.5 to 2 ft. If your containers is more of a bucket or a pot then plants can be planted closer; but not more than 2-3 per container.

Seed Sowing and Germination

Step by step guide to sow long bean seeds
Step by step guide to sow long bean seeds in containers

We treat Chinese Long Bean seeds with Amrut Jal before sowing. We simply soak the seed in Amrut Jal for 24 hours before sowing. This helps in faster germination. Amrut Jal also helps in protecting the seed from fungal attack. However this step is not a must. You can alternatively soak your seeds in lukewarm water for 20-30 minutes before sowing. Even this step can be bypassed if you wish to.

It is always a good idea to fill up your pot in the day time with potting mix to warm the soil and sow the seeds in the evening in the warm soil. To sow the seeds make small holes of 1/2 to 3/4 inch depth with your finger or any blunt object like back of a pencil. Place one to two seeds in the hole and cover it with potting mix and compress the soil gently. Water thoroughly and you are done. Growing Long Beans in Containers is really simple, but you have to be a little careful during the germination period. Make sure that the soil is always moist and never becomes dry. If the sun is too harsh during day time cover the pot to protect the soil from drying during noon, but make sure that air is circulating well. Also don’t over water. It may cause the seed to rot. If it is raining continuously and heavily during this time cover your pots. If you just take care of these things, your seeds should germinate in 3-7 days time.

Growing Your Long Bean Plants in Containers

When your seeds have germinated all you have to do is water them regularly to keep the soil moist all the time. When the plant grows to around 5-6 inches of height mulch your pot with organic material. This will retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

When the plants have grown to around 5-6 inches, they are vulnerable to heavy winds. So you need to stake them til they develop their vines and start climbing. Use any small stick of about 10-12 inches of length for staking. Just lightly tie the plant to the stake near the tip with a soft string. We use jute string for skating as it is soft, natural and cheap.

When the plant develops vines it will automatically start climbing around the strings in your trellis. You may also train the plants manually to the nearest string. Make sure that there are not more than two vines on a single string. If there are any flower pods when the plant is not even 2 ft tall just remove them. Let the plant focus on growing first. When the side vines have two to three sets of leaves pinch the tip. Pinch the tip of main vine when the vine has climbed more than 6 ft. Pinching the tips is not a absolute requirement. But when you are Growing Long Beans in Containers, pinching tips at the right time will help in growing a bushier plant and give you more produce. However you don’t have to religiously do it. Just do how much ever you can.

Fertilization and Pest Care

long beans germination, flowers and pods
Long beans plant life cycle from germination to flowering and fruiting.

Asparagus beans and not too heavy feeders and will grow well from the nutrients in your potting mix. But to keep a good supply of nutrients and micro-nutrients in the soil and to keep the soil alive by providing enough microbial activity water you plants with a cow dung based solution like Amrut Jal or Jiwamrit every 5-7 days during growing period. When the plants begin to flower supplement your soil with good quality compost and additionally you can increase frequency of Amrut Jal watering. To apply compost remove your mulch layer. Loosen the top 1 cm of soil and add good quality compost. Add about half a liter of compost per plant. Put the mulch layer back again. When you loosen the soil you’ll notice that there are feeder roots even in the top one cm of the soil. Hence do not dig any deeper than 1 cm as you’ll be disturbing more roots if you do so.

Use Amrut Jal, Jiwamrit or Panchagavya as a foliar spray every 10-15 days before fruiting and every 7 days during fruiting. This keeps the foliage healthy and fruits become better due to direct absorption of nutrients.

Whether you are Growing Long Beans in Containers or on the ground, no matter what you do aphids will attack your plants. Ants will also attack your pods and flowers and will help the aphids to spread. Check each morning for signs of aphids or any other pests every morning. If the infestation is not too much then wait out for a day or two to see if ladybugs have arrived in your garden for feasting on the aphids. In case you don’t want to wait you can always wash the aphids off with a spray of water. If the infestation is towards the higher side then use neem spray once every 7 days and you’ll be okay. Just make sure that you spray it very early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Otherwise it may cause leaf burns. Drop some turmeric powder on young pod, flowers and vines to control ants.

Harvesting Long Beans

Long beans need to be harvested at the right time to get best taste and texture. Leaving them a little longer in the plant makes it loose it moisture and texture. Generally it takes about 9-10 days for the fruit to be ready after flowering. Your plant will flower and bear pods daily. So harvest your yardlong beans also regularly. Just pull them using your thumb and index finger gently and they will separate from the plant.

Plant your beans every 15-20 days throughout the season to get uninterrupted supply of healthy and fresh long beans. We also plant them with other vegetables like pumpkin, eggplants and tomatoes, so that while we enjoy the great taste of long beans they are busy helping other plants. Long beans belong to legume family of vegetables and they fix nitrogen deficiency in the soil. This helps other plants which feed on nitrogen from the soil.

Fun tips

At the start of this post I told you that Growing Long Beans in Containers is super easy and you are most likely to agree with me on that now. But here are some fun do’s that would make Growing Long Beans in Pots even more interesting for the entire family. One of the tings that you can do it to use the long bean plants as a decorative plant. Just design your trellis in a way that the support climbing strings for the beans make a great visual design. Keep the color of the string red of orange and when the green long beans plants start climbing on them, they do make a very pretty picture.

Another fun activity that you can do with the kids is to find the longest bean. Get your kids to do the harvesting while you are doing other important things like watering the plants. Kids will learn to differentiate between mature and immature pods when the harvest regularly. Then check who has got the longest bean pod. Declare her the winner for the day. You’ll notice how kids start to take more interest in garden with such activities.

I am sure with the information you have got from this post you’ll be successful every time you are Growing Long Beans in Containers. And I am also sure if you have never grown or eaten long beans you’ll now be roaring to go and plant your first long bean seed. As a further motivation I’ll be posting a simple yet delicious recipe with long beans in my next post. Stay tuned and stay blessed.

 

Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening

We get frequent visitors to our organic terrace garden. Most of them get inspired to start their own kitchen gardens. But as it turns out a very few actually start and even a fewer continue it. Generally the reason for not continuing is because of failures in the garden. And that could be because all things to be considered before starting an organic terrace garden has not been thought out or because they are not doing the basics of container gardening right. But the reason of not starting at all is because most people do not understand the Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening well enough. Only when people are able to appreciate the advantages and usefulness of a kitchen garden for individual, family, society and the environment, they consider starting their own terrace garden very seriously. It’s the WHY behind organic terrace gardening and not HOW that becomes the real motivating factor. In this post I’ll talk about why you should start your kitchen garden by giving the Top 10 Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.

Gives you and your family true nutrition

true nutrition
True nutrition from vegetables can only be obtained if you grow them yourself.

Vegetables and Fruits continue to ‘breathe’ even after harvesting. This process is called respiration and a significant part of the vegetable’s nutrients get lost in this process because carbohydrates, proteins etc continue to be broken down. While a few vegetables take a little longer to lose their nutrients, some spinach varieties can lose about 90% of their nutrient value within a day. Yes within a day; Less than the minimum time it takes for vegetables to reach you from the farms after harvest. Moreover vegetables will have nutrients in them only if the soil on which they were grown had those essential nutrients. Most often than not the store bought vegetables are grown on a sub standard soil using inorganic fertilizers. Hence such produce lack in essential nutrients.

You get true nutrition from vegetables only when they are grown on healthy and wholesome soil and when you consume them as soon as they are picked. And this is possible if you are growing you vegetable as close to your kitchen using a rich potting mix; That is in your own organic terrace garden using organic soil enhancers like compost and oil cakes.

Ensures your food is free of poison

You can not just escape from pesticide drenched vegetables in urban life. As fertility of soil is on a land slide due to use of chemical fertilizers, plants are getting weaker every day. Hence pests and insects are able to easily attack such plants. To save the crop the farmer uses pesticides, which further deteriorates the soil, weakens the plant. And thus a vicious circle is created.

Traces of poisonous pesticides are found on almost all vegetables available in market today. Even when you buy organic vegetables they still could have traces of pesticides as they are not immune to the pesticides carried by air and water from neighbouring fields. State of Punjab in India has been at the forefront of wheat production. But they have been using chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a long time now, which has caused a increase in cancer rates in this state.

One of the top ten Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening is that you’ll be able to avoid such poison laden vegetables and fruits for your daily consumption to a great extent.

You enjoy better tasting vegetables

It’s a very well known fact that vegetables grown organically taste much better. Because they are grown in a natural way they are bound to taste better. Not only they taste better, their texture and structure is also superior. They are fleshier, sweeter, more flavorful and take much less time to cook. Most of the vegetables can also be eaten raw to get maximum nutritional benefit.

Brings Family Together

One of the intangible yet important Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening is family bonding. Gardening is a great way to spend quality time with your family. It’s a fun and healthy activity for children. Working with nature and family together is very rewarding and makes the family bonding stronger. Just make sure that children are given tasks in the garden that suits their age and physical capabilities.  Block some time everyday or 3-4 times a week to spend with your family doing gardening activities. Clearly divide the tasks so that children don’t end up hurting themselves by accident.

Provides important education in subtle manner

There is no better way to learn than from nature. Not only you yourself learn a lot about nature when growing food, your kids also learn a lot from the garden. They learn about nature and science. They also learn about virtues like patience, responsibility and conservation of resources. They get to understand where their food comes from. They learn about life and how to nurture it. They also learn about death and the cyclic nature of things. They develop respect for nature and become better at planning and organizing.  They also learn about the value of food and waste less of it. By eating their hand grown food, they develop healthy habits of eating nutritional food and home cooked food. And the best part is that it takes them away from TV and phones and closer to nature. And that according to me is one of the important Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.

Conserves Food

organic waste recycling
Organic waste in and around your home goes back to your plants.

Organic container gardening is based on the philosophy of conservation. A composting unit is an integral part of a sizable organic terrace garden. All waste generated from your kitchen goes to this composting unit, which in turn goes back to your plants. This completes the cycle. This process of conserving food waste also put less pressure on the municipality waste disposal system. Most time waste from cities is just dumped in the outskirts of the city, which pollutes the soil, air and water. When you recycle your waste back into your garden not only you have made waste useful, you have also done your bit towards the environment.

Moreover when we buy from the store we are sometimes forced to buy more than what we need. For example you may have to buy a whole bunch of cilantro, though your requirement may be just a few leaves and stalks. The other part goes waste. When you have your own kitchen garden you take only how much you need.  Conservation of food is one of the hidden Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening.

Saves Money

To start with growing your own food may seem a costly affair. Yes, there will be costs incurred to get the containers, soil, compost, seeds etc. But most of these expenditures are done only once in the life cycle of your garden. The only real expenditure you’ll be incurring on a regular basis in your garden is for seeds and watering. If you grow only open pollinated varieties then you can do seed saving and will not have to spend any money on seeds too. Nature does not charge any money to do its job and when you show respect to nature it rewards you with its bounty. So in effect you actually get your food for free from nature. And when you don’t have to go to the store to buy vegetables, you automatically save on travel costs.  Eating healthy will result in much less visit to the doctor. Isn’t that a huge saving that you’ll be making?

Improves mental health

Nature plays a very big role in our mental well being. People who are closer to nature tend to have a much more resistance towards different mental disorders. Watching your vegetables germinate, grow and produce fruits is a healing experience and it calms the mind. In fact horticulture therapy is quite extensively used for healing dementia patients. In modern life, which is full of stress, organic terrace gardening is one of the ways to de-stress and center yourself.

Environmental factors

Benefits of organic terrace garden extend beyond you and your family.

Plants cut down the carbon dioxide levels in air. Your vegetable garden may be cutting down a very small amount of CO2, but the ocean is nothing but droplets of water put together. Hence your terrace garden also counts in improving the air quality.  Chemical based farming, not only deteriorates the soil quality, it also pollutes the air and water. Water pollution thus caused harms marine life and marine ecosystem. Imagine when everyone grows their own food in a natural manner, the demand for these chemical based produce will go down and that again will stop the destruction of our environment.

Keep your home cool

Plants keep your home cool
Plants on your terrace help you cut down on your air conditioning bills.

If you are living in a tropical climate then having plants on your roof is a natural way to cool your home. All the plants in your terrace garden will create a micro climate and help to lower the temperature of your home. So while you enjoy the nutrition of fresh home grown food, you also save on you air conditioning bills.

We have imagined a world where everyone grows some amount of food at their homes. I am sure many of the above Benefits of Organic Terrace Gardening will inspire you to take it up and thus contributing to your quality of life, the well being of your family, community and mother earth.