Vigna - Asparagus Bean, Azuki Bean, Black Gram, Cowpea, Long Horn Bean, Mung Bean, Southern Pea, Urd, Yard-Long Bean
Azuki Bean (V. angularis) - This Bean is a native of Asia. Azuki Beans grow on large bushes with short tendrils. In late summer, they produce many pods, averaging 4 to 5 inches in length. The pods can be shelled when they are plump and green, but are usually left to dry on the vine and then shelled for dry beans, which have a slightly sweet taste. They can also be eaten as sprouts. Some kinds have red seeds and some, brown.
Mung Bean (V. radiata) - This Bean is also known as Black Gram, or Urd and is a thin-podded plant grown mainly for its dried seeds used in sprouting or for grinding into bean meal. These fuzzy plants have open, spreading growth, up to 3 feet high, with lax stems and noticeable yellow, pea like flowers. They can stand high temperatures and humidity and do best in gardens with a long, warm growing season.
Southern Pea (V. unguinculata) - This plant is also known as the Cowpea. It is an important hot-weather vegetable for gardens in the South and warm West. These produce when the weather is too hot and humid for snap beans and arrive in time to go with okra. Southern peas are tropical plants with seeds more like beans than peas. They may be erect and busy, or sprawling and vigorous with short runners. They have shiny, dark green leaves about the size of snap beans. The pods stick out from amidst the foliage on long stems. They grow 2 to a stem and their length ranges from 6 to 9 inches. They may be thin, chubby, smooth, or lumpy and white, cream or purple. Southern peas may be eaten like green beans when they're young or shelled for their green seeds.
Yard-long Bean (V. unguinculata sesquipedalis) - Other common names include Asparagus Bean and Long Horn Bean. It looks like a long-podded climbing southern pea with vigorous vines twining like pole beans and growing 6 to 8 feet high. The "yard-long" claim is valid only under the best conditions, but in most North American gardens, full grown pods only average 1½ to 2 feet in length.
Azuki Bean - These Beans need at least 120 warm days to grow in. The vines also grow well when planted among stalks of late sweet corn. After the corn has been harvested, the vines twist up the stalks. In areas with a short growing season or late summer rains, cut the plants when the pods begin to dry and split. Stack the vines loosely and cover them with slitted plastic to protect from rain but allow ventilation. When the pods are dry, pick and shell them. Store the beans with dried hot peppers to ward off weevils.
Southern Pea & Mung Bean - These two plants are grown in the same way. The climbing varieties do well when planted among widely spaced rows of sweet corn, so they may twine up the stalks. They only need moderate amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, since they are legumes. If the soil is poor, they will need a dressing of 5-10-10 fertilizer when they're a foot tall. It is beneficial is they are treated with a seed inoculant that provides a beneficial bacteria. The Mung Bean's green pods may be picked and used as snap beans; by mixing them with green seeds shelled from fully grown pods. They may also be left on the plants to dry. If you are leaving them on the plants to dry in regions where there are short growing seasons, they may have to be pulled up at the end of the season. Dry them in the field for a few days, after which they are moved to an airy shelter to finish drying. If they look like they're starting to mold, turn the pile often and set up a fan to speed their drying. The Beans will mold if they aren't kept dust dry after shelling. Seal them in a jar with the desiccant pouches that come in foil packages of coffee. Southern Peas should be harvested when the pods start to turn color, but before they dry. Hold the stems with one hand while pulling off the pods with the other. Pull the remaining pods at the end of the season and dry them. Soak the dried Beans before cooking.
Yard-long Bean - These Beans should have a long, warm summer. They will survive extreme humidity and heat. They will grow as far north as the lower Great Lakes, but in those regions pods are produced sparsely and mature late, just before frost. These are planted as Southern Peas. They should be provided with supports, 6 to 8 feet tall. Some seeds that are imported from Asia may have a virus that causes young plants to become mottled and dwarfed. Pull out these diseased plants to prevent the virus from spreading. Pods may be pulled to eat as snap beans when they're a foot long. When they are wanted for shelling beans, the older pods are pulled when they become tinted with yellow. At this time, they open fairly easy. When the season is over, pull and dry all mature pods for dry storage and freeze any remaining snappers.
Azuki Bean - Sow seeds an inch deep and 3 to 6 inches apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart.
Mung Bean, Southern Pea & Yard-long Bean - Sow seeds directly outside 2 weeks after the frost-free date. Seeds planted earlier may rot. In full sun, set seeds 2 to 4 inches apart and an inch deep in beds that are slightly elevated for drainage. Eventually, the seedlings should be thinned to 6 inches apart. The rows should be 2½ - 4 feet apart. The seeds rarely germinate better than 50 to 60 percent.
Azuki Bean - Express. ( An early maturing variety)
Mung Bean - Check seed catalogues.
Southern Pea - Crowder peas (pods packed compactly with squarish seeds) - Mississippi Silver, Colossus, Hercules. Purple hull - Mississippi Purple, Pink Eye, Arkansas #83 Hybrid. Cream peas - Big Boy, Sadandy, Zipper Cream. Black-eyed peas - California Blackeye, Magnolia Blackeye, California No. 5.
Yard-long Bean - This is a variety of the Southern Pea.
Asparagus Yard-long Bean
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