Snake Bean 'Black Seeded'
Scientific Name: Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis
Common Names: Snake Bean 'Black Seeded', Climbing Snake Bean 'Black Seeded'
Snake beans originate from Southern China and were spread quickly throughout South-East Asia. Snake beans were introduced to Australia by early Chinese settlers.
Snake beans are best eaten lightly cooked, they're great when chopped into segments a few centimeters long and added to Asian stir fries or when added at a late stage to casseroles and hot pot dishes. They can be eaten fresh when young but they toughen with age so pick early. The flavour of snake beans is stronger than that of dwarf french beans.
Soak seeds for an hour in lukewarm water prior to sowing to speed up germination. Incorporate lots of organic matter and compost into the soil prior to sowing but don't over-fertilise as plants are growing, legumes such as climbing snake beans are capable of fixing their own nitrogen. Ensure the soil is free draining or the roots of your snake beans may rot, create a raised bed if drainage is poor. Use a strong trellis, climbing snake bean vines can up to 2m tall and are heavy once they reach this size, a bamboo trellis or heavy gauge dog wire both work well. Snake beans are resistant to rusts and bean flies which can make growing other beans difficult during the warmer months of the year.
When To Sow
Sow black seeded snake bean seeds any time of the year in tropical and frost-free subtropical areas of Australia. In temperate and frost-prone regions of Australia sow from September to December once the soil has warmed up for best results.
How To Sow
Sow snake bean seeds 2.5cm deep spacing vines about 30cm apart along a trellis. Choose a growing site that receives full sun or light shade.
Time To Germination
Snake bean seeds take between 6 and 14 days to germinate after sowing
Time To Harvest
Your first black seeded snake beans will be ready to pick 10 to 12 weeks after sowing. Pick beans regularly to encourage continuous harvest.
Snake Bean pods are at their most tender when picked young, older full-sized pods such as the one shown here are much tougher.