How to Grow Chinese Python Snake Beans
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Chinese python snake beans are quite interesting to grow. They are simple to get started, grow like crazy, and produce a ton of produce in the vegetable garden. For more on how to grow gourds, check this out too!
I had sure never heard of Chinese python snake beans before I got the seeds. They are actually a gourd in the cucurbit family and they have a taste between cucumbers and green beans. I think they are called snake beans because they act as a green bean when growing.
The best part about the snake beans is that they look almost exactly like a python snake. When they first started growing, they actually scared me. I had to do some thinking to actually be able to touch one at first. I love interesting and unique things like that in the garden. You could use them for a prank by laying one in the driveway.
They grow long from a vine and they have seeds in the center that are very similar to green bean seeds if you think about them being gigantic. The seeds are really similar to the ones in green beans as well.
The Chinese python snake beans grow on a long vine, at least 30-40 feet, so you need a long sturdy trellis to grow them. We grew ours on the chain link fencing. They have really interesting flowers that are gorgeous and pollinators love them.
Snake beans have an interesting smell when you touch them. It reminds me of peanuts. They are a great sensory experience in the garden. Chinese python snake beans taste delicious. I love to sauté them until they are tender.
They taste very much like green beans when cooked with a little hint of zucchini as well. If you cook them too long, they are mushy like zucchini. I didn’t love them like that.
Chinese python snake bean seeds
I got the seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. They don’t require a lot of water. We have drought most summers and they thrived in the heat and the lack of water. We grow them on the outer fence, so even when we water, those beds get the least of the spray.
To grow Chinese python snake beans, make a hole about a half to one inch deep. The bean seeds are fairly large and usually, you plant seeds 2 ½ times as deep as the seeds are in size. They don’t need great soil, like most other gourds, but we plant them in our regular garden beds for vegetables and they did fine there.
Once you place a seed in the hole, cover it with soil and pat it down about as hard as you would rub your eye. Water it well. If you plant more than one, I would do them fairly far apart. At least 4 feet so the vines don’t entangle each other too badly.
Plant them after all danger of frost has passed. In Oklahoma, zone 7, I would recommend May 1 to May 15. They love the heat.
The Chinese python snake beans are ready to pick as soon as they are about a foot long. They are super tender when they are small, I prefer them that size. If you wait until they are about 3 feet long, the texture is more like zucchini.
They still taste great but are a little tougher so they need a longer cook. We eat them with the skins still on them, I don’t know if there is a way to peel them. If you eat them raw, they are a little more like cucumbers. I enjoy them that way as well.
Chinese python snake bean recipe
The best way to cook them in my opinion is by stir-frying them. I like to cut them into disks and sauté in oil with some garlic and salt and pepper. You can also add other vegetables. They are also great sautéed in butter.
Another great way to enjoy snake beans is to make them in a curry like this one. Simply add the cut-up snake beans with the kale in that step.
They taste great in salads; I love them in a lettuce salad or a marinated salad like this cucumber salad instead of the cucumbers. Chinese python snake beans are a tasty addition to omelets as well. Just sauté for a minute or two (sliced) and add them to your omelet with other ingredients.
Once you start experimenting with them, you’re likely to find a ton of ways to enjoy them as we did.
I hope you will try to grow some snake beans and let us know what you think of them. They are great fun in the garden!
For more gourds to grow in your garden, check these ideas out:
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Thanks for sharing! This is my 1st year growing them and I love them. Have you attempted to save the seeds? I left one on the vine that I’m going to try and save seeds from, but I’m not sure how to go about it.
YES! I let one get as big as it would and then cut it off and sliced it lengthwise. I took out the seeds and let them dry on a paper towel for several weeks! I’m so glad you enjoy them! They are awfully cool.
How long after the flowers appear will you see fruit growing? We have had flowers for about a month now and still no fruit.
It only takes a few days or a week if the flowers get pollinated. You could try hand pollinating by tickling all the flowers with a paint brush or qtip.
How long do they take to produce fruit? Mine are months old and haven’t even flowered.
Ours have flowered right away. I wonder if you need some potassium or calcium and have too much nitrogen?
How long do they take to mature?
Once the plants mature, which takes a couple of months, 120-140 days, they like it hot, so once the vines are mature and it’s plenty warm, they will put beans on and then watch out and make sure to pick them quickly, they get huge in no time.
Thanks for asking!
Very interesting article Christina. Never tried growing Chinese python beans myself but it certainly looks like delicious and full of nutrients.
They are so good! Give it a try sometime. 🙂 Thanks for reading!