Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra
The topic of arbors and pergolas for January’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop has gotten me thinking about some of the climbers I tried on my new arches last year. I’d decided that the orchard arch ought to have something edible, so when I found ‘Red Noodle’ (also called ‘Chinese Red Noodle’) bean in the Territorial Seed catalog, it seemed like a good choice.
I’d grown the green ‘Yardlong’ bean (Vigna unguiculata) in my old garden and liked it, but it wasn’t especially ornamental, so a red version sounded ideal. I had visions of it creating an effect something like a bead curtain, but it didn’t quite work out that way, because the vines weren’t as dense as I expected.
I think that was just as well, for two reasons. For one, the pale purple flowers were always covered with ants and wasps, which made picking difficult and would have made walking through them downright unpleasant. And two, the deep purple-red beans themselves (which reach closer to about 18 inches, rather than a literal yard) were quite creepy-looking: rather like lumpy little snakes.
Will I grow ‘Red Noodle’ again? Maybe – if only to actually try tasting the young pods. I never did get around to harvesting any of them.