snake beans or asian long beans growing in the garden hanging down from their vines

Growing Snake Beans

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Growing snake beans is a great way to get value from your vegetable garden. They grow more per square foot than regular green beans and have fewer pests. They are great for beginning gardeners to grow.

We grow snake beans and Chinese python snake beans which are actually a gourd. They taste more like zucchini or cucumbers than beans. Regular snake beans are more like a traditional green bean in flavor. They grow really long and snake-like in the garden.

Snake beans, long beans, asparagus beans, all are pretty interchangeable for snake bean names. Our snake beans grow early and keep growing throughout our hot summer and still produce into the fall until a freeze. Our traditional green beans only produce for a couple of months before dying off.

Here’s a link to a great vegetable garden planner you can print right out and use at home! So cute!

snake beans in a pile on the cutting board in the kitchen. They are wound around in a spiral.

Snake beans grow up to a foot and a half in length. They taste better and are more tender if you pick them around 10 inches or so when they start to fatten up. They are popular in Asian dishes but can be substituted in any green bean recipes like these.

Growing conditions are similar to growing traditional green beans such as bush beans and pole beans. Unlike traditional green beans, they don’t make great dried beans if allowed to grow bigger. The seeds aren’t plump and full like other mature green bean pods.

Companion plants for snake beans are the same as regular green beans as well, so check out what grows well with them and some ideas of what to do with too many green beans for ways to preserve and use your bountiful harvest. Ours produce way more than we can use every year. We love it. The kids get to take home extra produce they grew that way.

snake beans or asian long beans growing in a bundle on the vine with a hand gathering them up in a group

Snake beans grow very fast so you have to pick them every day or every other day. This way you’ll allow the plants to produce more as well as get the best flavor and texture. They grow on a trellis so they don’t take up a lot of space. You will need something good and sturdy for them to climb on though. You can even plant corn and let them grow up the stalks.

Plant snake beans after the danger of frost has passed. For zone 7, where we live, we do it on April 15 or a little later.

Plant the seeds about an inch deep about 4 inches apart. Water well. They germinate quickly and produce pods in a couple of months if the weather is hot. Make sure to plant them where they have access to water and full sun at least 6-8 hours per day.

Water the plants about an inch deep once per week. Add compost for extra nutrients when you can. And keep the area free of weeds.

snake beans growing on the vine in the garden

How to cook snake beans

Once the summer heats up, and it really does in Oklahoma, some of the only vegetables that continue to produce are okra and snake beans. They are a real performer in hot climates. I love to grow them because I like the flavor better, but even better, they are easier to prepare for cooking than traditional green beans.

You just grab a bundle, chop them up all at once, and cook. No trimming or snapping little bitty beans that take all day. We grow all varieties of green beans in our preschool garden and I send all the small kind home. I hate snapping beans! I save the long beans for us to use here.

I love the purple and red Asian long beans as well. They are actually a little easier to find in the garden when they aren’t green. So I prefer to grow them over the green ones.

Snake bean seeds

To save the seeds from your snake bean plants, allow a few pods to continue growing until they start to turn brown. You can let them dry on the vines, or you can pick the overgrown pods and peel the seeds out of them and then dry them on a paper towel.

The kids love saving seeds from the garden and big seeds like bean seeds are great for their little hands! You can also buy snake bean seeds here.

Snake bean recipes

There are lots of really great ways to prepare snake beans. Here is a little inspiration!

Spiced long beans cooked in one pan, the Goan Indian way. This is a quick side dish to be served with rice and curry.

This delicious recipe for Roasted Parmesan Green Beans uses fresh green beans and makes for a perfect appetizer or side dish.

These green beans with bacon are fresh string beans cooked until tender, then topped with plenty of crispy bacon.

Made with a homemade mushroom cream sauce, and topped with do it yourself french fried onions. This decadent holiday side dish green bean casserole can even be made ahead!

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