Common names : Goa bean, Wing bean, Square bean, Cigarillas, Manila bean, Kecipir
Scientific name : Psophocarpus tetragonolobus
Family : Fabaceae
Plant history & use :
The goa bean is a perennial bean plant with several uses in cooking that is also often favored in cultivation for its strong disease resistance.
Sometimes wrongly confused with Asparagus ( Tetragonolobus purpureus ) which, however, is a different species. The asparagus pea has smaller legumes than the Goa bean, red flowers and smaller, pea-like leaves.
The goa bean has larger leaves of 10-15 cm and light blue flowers and square beans that are usually 15-20 cm.
The goa bean is a nutritious plant and all parts of the plant can be eaten:
- Leaves can be eaten like spinach,
- Flowers can be added to salads,
- Tubers can be eaten raw or cooked like potatoes - have a nutty taste
- Seeds (dry beans) can be used in a similar way to soybeans. You can make both flour and milk from dried, ground goa beans that lack the distinctive "bean flavor"
- The unripe green bean pods can be eaten as a raw vegetable or cooked in a stir-fry. The taste is reminiscent of asparagus.
All of the plant parts of the Goa bean have a high protein content. The mature seeds (dry beans) contain 40%, the tubers 20% - which is higher than many root vegetables - and the leaves and flowers contain 10-15%.
The goa bean is currently a relatively unknown crop but is continuously increasing in commercial use.
The goa bean is an effective ground cover and good at out-competing weeds. If you plant the Goa bean without anything to climb on, it will instead spread at ground level and make it difficult for weeds to climb up.
The goa bean also fixes nitrogen to the soil via rhizobacteria and can help rebuild nutrient-poor soils.
The goa bean can also be given as feed to both ruminants, poultry and fish.
The goa bean is a perennial plant with a climbing habit (similar to the long bean ). Large grown in its natural environment - can reach lengths of 3-4 meters.
Hardy for cultivation in the warmest parts of Skåne, Blekinge, Öland & Gotland. In winter, please cover the base with straw or similar when growing outdoors.
Would like to have something to climb on, eg house wall, larger tree, pillar, sticks or tied wire.
Thrives in well-drained soils. Benefit from heat and moisture. Optimum temperature for growth and fruiting is around 25 °C. Lower temperatures favor root tuber growth while higher temperatures favor leaf growth.
Fixes nitrogen on its own via rhizobacteria on the roots, fertilization is not a necessity.
The green bean pods are ready for harvest after 3-4 months from sowing.
Soak seeds in lukewarm water 1 day before sowing.
Can be sown directly outdoors / in a greenhouse when the soil temperature has reached above 15 °C. Alternatively, pre-cultivate indoors for planting out in late spring. Sowing depth 2 cm. Keep seed moist.
Plant position: sun
Height: 2-4 m
Germination time: 1-2 weeks
Plant zone: 1