« | Home | »

Growing Pole Sitao

By goGreen | December 19, 2011
Bookmark and Share


The yardlong bean is also known as the long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. It is known as dau gok in Cantonese, thua fak yao in Thai and kacang panjang in Indonesian and Malay, sitaw Tagalog, bora in the West Indies and vali or eeril in Goa, India. Despite the name, the pods are actually only about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis (one-and-a-half-foot-long) is a rather exact approximation of the pods’ length.

Yardlong beans are quick-growing and daily checking/harvesting is often a necessity. The many varieties of yardlong beans are usually distinguished by the different colors of their mature seeds.

The crisp, tender pods are eaten both fresh and cooked. They are at their best when young and slender. They are sometimes cut into short sections for cooking uses.

Nutrition Facts

They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

In a serving size of 100 grams of yardlong beans there are 47 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium (0% daily value), 8 grams of total carbohydrates (2% daily value), and 3 grams of protein (5% daily value). There is also 17% DV vitamin A, 2% DV iron, 31% DV vitamin C, and 5% DV calcium. (Percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Individual daily values may be higher or lower depending on individual calorie needs.)

Recommended Varieties

Table 1. Characteristics of pole sitao varieties.
UPL Ps-1 (Sandigan)UPL PS-2 (CSL 19 or Ana)PSB PS-3 (CSL 15)
Yield13.3 tons/ha (WS);
24.2 tons/ha (DS)
7.1 tons/ha (WS);
12.6 tons/ha (DS)
7.6 tons/ha (WS);
12.4 tons/ha (DS)
Maturity50 days (WS);
49 days (DS)
43 days (WS);
37 days (DS)
47 days (WS);
52 days (DS)
Pod length56.2 cm56.2 cm35 cm
Pod width0.7 cm0.7 cm
CharacteristicsPods are dark green, crisp, good textured and fibrous; Moderately resistant to black bean aphids, and beanflyPods are light green, crisp, good-textured and fibrous; Moderately resistant to black bean aphids, and beanflyPods are light green, smooth, with good eating quality ; White-eyed seeds ; Resistant to root knot nematodes

Land Preparation

  1. Plow the field 2-3 times, each time followed by harrowing.
  2. Make furrows 1m apart before planting.
  3. Apply 2-3 tons dried animal manure per hectare while preparing the land.


Crop Establishment


  1. Sow 2-3 seeds per hill 30-40cm apart (10-12 kg of seeds are needed per hectare).
  2. Plant in furrows during dry season and in ridge during wet season.
  3. Cover the seed with a thin layer of fine soil.
  4. For every 2 rows planted, leave a furrow vacant to provide space for spraying, trellising and harvesting.


  1. Construct a side trellis as soon as the seed germinates.
  2. Layout 2.5m long and 2-2.5cm wide ipil-ipil, bamboo, or kakawate poles 3-4 m apart within the rows.
  3. Connect the poles horizontally by wire (#16 or #18) at the top, middle and bottom portions in every row.
  4. Tie the top wire to the stakes at the end of the rows to make the poles stable.
  5. Cut abaca twine or synthetic straw and tie them vertically from the top to bottom wires in every hill.

Vine Training

  1. Train the vines to cling to the trellis and by spreading them evenly across the trellis until they reach the top.


Nutrient Management

  1. Apply 5 tons well decomposed manure per hectare while preparing the land to mix it thouroughly with the soil.
  2. Before planting, apply 20g or 1tbsp of 14-14-14 in the hole and cover it with soil to prevent direct contact with the seed. This is equivalent to 5 bags per hectare.
  3. Optional: Sidedress 2-3 bags of Urea (46-0-0) 1 month after planting. Use Rhizobium inoculant to minimize the use of chemical fertilizer.

Water Management

  1. Irrigate the field after planting and once a week using furrow irrigation during dry season. Construct a canal for furrow irrigation.
  2. During wet season, irrigate only when necessary. Construct a drainage canal.


Pest Management


  1. Remove the weeds around the plants 2 weeks fropm seedling emergence until fruiting stage.
  2. Perform spot weeding.
  3. Cut-off the weeds in between the rows by using a scythe.
  4. Mulch with rice straw to control weeds and conserve soil moisture.

Insect Pests

  1. Use insecticide only when needed.
  2. Do not use insecticide with red or yellow lines when the plants begin to bear pods.
  3. For pod borer and aphids, spray with native hot pepper.
  4. For pod borer and aphids, spray with native hot pepper juice mixed with water (100g of pepper per 16 liters of water)


  1. Pull-out and burn or bury plants with virus so that it will not spread to healthy plants.
  2. Prune diseased leaves at the lower portion of the plants
  3. Spray the plants with chemicals only when necessary

Harvest Management

  1. Harvest the pods 7-10 days after the flowers have dried up.
  2. Harvest every 2-4 days to prolong flowering at fruiting of the plants

Seed Production


  1. Highly self pollinated although cross-pollination occurs.
  2. Observe an isolation distance, or planting one variety away from another variety, of 20m for certified seed and 30-50m for breeder seeds.
  3. Flower opens early in the morning and never closes. Anthers dehisce the night before flower opens.


  1. Remove off-types diseased and virus infected plants.
  2. Conduct field inspection as follows:
    • At vegetative stage, check the shape and color of the leaves, and foliage cover. Also check the color and size of the stem, and internode length.
    • At flowering stage, observe for the date of flowering, height of first flower, and color of the flower.
    • At fruiting stage, observe for the color and length of pod, and the length of pod stalk.


  1. Harvest pods when physiologically mature or when pods have turned leathery brown.
  2. It may be necessary to harvest 3 times a week at peak harvest.

Seed Processing

  1. Dry pods under the sun 2-3 days or until brittle
  2. Put dried pods in net bag and beat manually with stick or by rubbing and splitting by hand in the absence of threshing machine.
  3. Remove trash by winnowing or by passing through an air-screen cleaner.
  4. Sort out small and wrinkled seeds and seeds with holes.
  5. Dry under the sun for 4-5 days or until moisture content is 11% or less.


  1. For home use, pack seeds in a thick plastic or paper envelopes and place in large aluminum cans or large-mouth jars lined at the bottom with charcoal, lime or silica gel and seal well. Place in a cool, dry place.
  2. For large volume seeds, pack seeds in thick plastics or aluminum foil and seal well. Keep in a cool and dry place or storage area.
  3. The drier are the stored seeds and the cooler is the storage area, the longer is the life of the seed.

Crop Establishment

Seed Treatment and Planting

  1. Seed coating of Rhizobium inoculum or Nitroplus immediately before planting. (1 pack Nitroplus for 10 kgs. seeds)
  2. 10 kg/hectare
  3. Spacing – 40 cm between hills and 1.2m between rows (spacing may vary depending on the type of trellis to be used)
  4. 2 to 3 cm deep


  1. “A type” or “fence type” for lowland using wire #16, abaca twine and stakes
  2. Wooden trellis depending on availability
  3. Plastic trellis may be used
  4. Trellising must be done before vine development

Training and Pruning of Vines

  1. Train vines which are not climbing on the stakes
  2. Prune excess sprouts at the base which delay vine development

Nutrient Management

  1. Fertilizer (kind and amount) must be based on soil test analysis
  2. In the absence of soil testing, apply 4 bags of 14-14-14 and 10 bags organic fertilizer per hectare at planting time.
  3. Foliar fertilizer supplement is encouraged.

Water Management

  1. Manual watering at planting to germination stage
  2. Sitao is a drought resistant crop but watering is critical at germination stage, flowering and early fruiting.
  3. Irrigate as need arises.

Pest Management


    1. Beanfly
      • Nature of Damage: Small black flies attacking the seedlings just after germination, boring holes on the leaves.
      • Control: Botanical control using neem seeds preparation (50 grams neem seeds/gallon of water). Chemical control for chewing insects.
    1. Black bean aphid
      • Nature of Damage: Small scale insects sucking the sap of the plants specially the tip of the vines. Plants become stunted and leaves curl. It transmits viral disease.
      • Control: Botanical control with hot pepper and soap powder. Chemical control for chewing insects. Crop rotation in severe cases.
    1. Cutworms
      • Nature of Damage: The nymphs sucks the sap of young shoots and adults cut peduncle of flowers resulting in the drying-up or stunted shoots and leaves and falling-off of flowers.
      • Control: Spray Bacillus thuringiensis (Biological control). Spray with selective insecticides (ex. Mimic).
    1. Pod Borer
      • Nature of Damage: Feeds on flower buds and bores into the young pods.
      • Control: Botanical spray of Bacillus thuringiensis. Biological control using Trichogramma spp. parasitoid. Chemical control using selective insecticide for Lepidopterous pests.
    1. Green Soldier Bug
      • Nature of Damage: Attacks the leaves and sometimes feeds on the pods.
      • Control: Botanical control using neem seeds preparation. Chemical control.
    1. Leafminer
    • Nature of Damage: Feeds on the green inner portion of the leaves leaving white zigzag lines.
    • Control: Biological control using Trichogramma spp. parasitoid. Chemical control using selective insecticide.


    1. Mosaic virus
      • Nature of Damage: Leaf curling and discoloration caused by black bean aphid which transmit the virus to the plant.
      • Control: Eradicate insect vector (aphids). Burn infected parts. Crop rotation in severe cases.
    1. Powdery mildew
      • Nature of Damage: Talcum-like growth on the surface of young leaves or stem caused by fungus.
      • Control: Fungicide spray (Follow manufacturer’s recommendation).
    1. Cercospora leaf spot
    • Nature of Damage: Circular water-soaked spots on the leaves which enlarge up to 1cm or more in diameter. Spots appear on the stems, petioles and penducles.
    • Control: Spray with fungicide.

Harvest Management

  1. Green pods of sitao are ready for harvest 7-20 days after flowering
  2. Harvest at 1-2 days interval
  3. Dip the harvested pods in coconut water for 1 minute to prolong the shelf-life of the pods

Proper Handling



Package of Technology of Different Vegetable Crops: Technology Generation and Dissemination for the Growth and Development of Vegetable Industry. 2005. DA-RFU 4A & Bureau of Agricultural Research, Diliman Quezon City.

Fliers. September 2008. Pole Sitao. Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines, Los Baños, Laguna.

Topics: Crops & Vegetables, Farming Methods | No Comments »