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nes
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Seeds from Runner Beans

Well I'm glad the flowers are pretty because those beans do NOT look appetizing :?.

Does anyone have experience with either collecting seeds from their runners or digging up the roots and storing? Which worked best? What method did you use?

From my understanding I can just leave the beans on the vines to mature fully then pluck them and store? How big do the seeds need to get to be viable for storage (I remember they were about the size of a kidney bean when I planted from the package).

I'd like to grow these lovely guys ALL over our fence next year for some privacy, maybe mix in some purple lady as well. I'm so impressed with the speed at which it grew, the number and beauty of the flowers! It's just the beans are skinny and very fuzzy looking :|.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

cynthia_h
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I've been performing this same experiment at my MIL's, where I have a 4x4 Square Foot Garden.

I planted fava beans and harvested some fresh in (?) April/early May. I purposely left some pods on the plants to see how long it would take them to become dried beans.

We visited her house in June. Nothing special re. favas.

However, on July 12, the pods were shriveling and the beans rattled slightly inside those pods. I harvested the remaining pods (the plants were done for, anyway).

The beans inside are dry, but not as dry as commercially produced dried favas already in my kitchen. I don't know what the keeping quality of the dried-by-Mother-Nature favas is, but definitely wait until the beans rattle inside the pods if you're interested in dried beans.

And if these are Scarlet Runner beans, they are *quite* tasty. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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applestar
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I second cynthia's recommendation to eat the Scarlet Runner beans. :D
We ate them green -- harvesting them at various level of maturity -- and the consensus by the kids was that they tasted better when the beans inside the pods start swelling the sides of the pods -- beanier and meatier, so to speak. I seem to remember you do have to "string" them before cooking -- break each end and "zip" down along the side -- pull off any string that comes off with it.

I also let the pods dry out until rattling inside to collect the mature beans for planting -- mine are just starting to flower.

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nes
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Yes they are scarlet runners, I've been reading that they are quite tasty; but next to my glorious wax bush bean crop they just look so strange :?.

I planted my beans in April :shock:, a few of them are ready to harvest now but waiting 3-4 more months to harvest beans would put us well into Frost danger. Could I try and dry them indoors after harvesting?

Thanks for the tip on stringing apple - I totally would have forgot to do that.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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applestar
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I might be wrong so try to find out for sure, but you might try waiting as long as you can, letting light frosts damage the leaves (You might even drape a sheet over the vines a couple of times.), then pulling up the vines before freezing temps damage the beans and hanging them upside down in a warm dry place until fully dry.

My reasoning is that the plants will do everything they can to bring the beans to maturity as they're threatened and they see that the "end is near."

BTW - I tried digging up the roots of one of the SRB last year -- they were IMMENSE! I potted it up and tried to overwinter it like dahlia roots, but either I dug it up too later (it was after frost) or extra-hard freeze during the winter killed it. This year, I'm going to dig one up while it's still vigorous -- like early September or so and see if I can overwinter it live on a windowsill.

Charlie MV
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I'm curious. I see quite a few posts about saving and storing seeds. I am a new gardener as most here know. I find seeds to be about the only thing left on the whole planet that are cheap. What's the attraction in saving/storing them when they can be bought for next to nothing?

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applestar
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For me, it's the act of completing the circle of life (I like the sound of that better than "life cycle" though that applies too), I guess. From seed-to plant-to fruit-to harvest-to seed. Not sophisticated enough (yet!) to intentionally cross for better traits, etc. or even save the "best" variety for future Heirloom. :wink:

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nes
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I wouldn't say seeds are next to nothing!!

I buy mine for anywhere from 30c to $1 at the end of season (I have good storage options) which saves me big bucks because heaven forbid you try and buy veggies in April!

Ok $2.50 for a package of 50 to 200 seeds is actually pretty good on a per plant basis but when you want to plant 20 different varieties of veggies in your garden that really adds up! Plus if you want a specialized variety they can go up to $5 a package. Don't start me on flowers...

If I do have to buy plants, I wait until they over grow their pots, look like crap & go on sale big time. I spent $10 filling my well-cover planter box & they look fantastic now they've stretch out into the soil. Same story for my tomatoes, they are coming in a little late but a few weeks of TLC and they look like brand new plants.

At the end of the day, I'm just that cheap! 8)

Apple is right though, and if you're saving seeds you can really invest in some rare varieties (I'm thinking Tomatos!) that you'll keep growing year to year.
Vanessa raising organic vegetables, livestock, wildflowers, and family in zone 5A.

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jal_ut
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I let the runner beans go until they dry on the vine, then pick them and thresh them and store the dry beans. Yes, this may be after the first frost. The frost will kill the plant, but won't hurt the beans. The dry beans are good to eat in any recipe that uses dry beans. You can also plant them next year.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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