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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

Last year after we harvested all the Blue Lake bush beans we wanted I let the plants go to seed for my spring garden. I planted the saved seeds this year 1st week of May and we had a very good crop of Blue Lake bush beans.

55 years ago my family always saved seeds they put dry bean pods in a large bag and beat it against a tree. Dumped them out on a bed sheet in a strong wind most of the pods and dust blow away. I tried that last year it did not would as well as I remember it 55 years ago. I also learned beans dried in the pods have lots of black mold rot problems about 70% of my bean seeds were bad.

Several weeks ago we had all the beans we need so I let the beans go to seed. Green bean pods get very large then turn yellow and feel soft and puffy. I can feel the beans inside this is the best time to harvest before pods dry crispy hard on the seeds. The soft pods open easier on 1 side than the other, pods peal open easy and beans push out easy with 1 finger.

2 days ago we had flash flood rain all day 4.4" of rain. The next day was too muddy to harvest seeds so today I harvested seeds. There are a lot of seeds germinating and growing roots inside the pods from all the rain and humidity. I don't remember having that problem in Illinois when I was 16 years old. Maybe that is why I never see soy bean fields in TN, farmers in IL always leave soy beans in the field to dry before harvest. This must be a geographical location problem.

I am getting a lot of good bean seeds for next year. All I really need for next years garden is about 500 good bean seeds. I plan to save all the seeds I can save. My grandmother use to cook a pot of white beans with all the extra bean seeds. The soft white beans are about the size of, grocery store pinto beans in a can, they sure are good.

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Last edited by Gary350 on Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

gumbo2176
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Location: New Orleans

Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

The only beans I do that with are the Japanese Yard Longs AKA Asparagus Beans. They are often hard to find at the local nurseries and big box stores and in truth, it only takes about 6 or 7 beans to get all the seeds I need for the next seasons planting since they each contain about 10-12 seeds per bean on average.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

Yes, I dried some Poamoho and Oregon Sugar pea pods. I must have missed some of the beans because some are sprouting again in the pot.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

Here in high dry Utah we have no problem drying things with a relative humidity of 17% today. I am thinking it is your relative humidity there that makes drying things hard. Check this site out! https://www.wunderground.com/
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

imafan26
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Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

I have humidity that is 88%. It is not the humidity that causes a problem as much as summer rain. If it rains too much at the wrong time, the beans instead of drying get moldy. I was lucky, it did not rain hard enough or long enough to do that.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

2totango
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Location: Hanover, Ontario

Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

I always keep my bean seeds from year to year. Some for dried beans to use in cooking and others just for my seed. i tend to keep any of the beans that I missed when picking and let them get big and dry on the plant rather than letting the whole plant go to seed. Sometimes we get wet autumns in Ontario, Canada and I pull the whole plant and hang it upside down in a dry storage area until the seeds are nice and dry. I never have enough to harvest on a large scale, so I mostly do it by hand.

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applestar
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Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

I like saving seeds. With beans, I like to let the pods mature and dry on the plant until the neck of the pod becomes paper thin. Until then, there is moisture in the pods and the inside of the pods can get moldy. If you must harvest due to expected rains, it's better to pull the plant/Vine and hang dry in a warm area, in front of a fan until the pods are dried out.

If you were unable to harvest dry plant/pods, then you may have to crack open the pods. I still think it's better to leave the beans attached in the pods however so the beans suck all that they can out of the pods to help them mature, but maybe that's just my personal bias.

I do know it's hard to tell when the beans are completely mature and it takes longer than you might think for the neck of the pods to become completely dried/flat.

I sit in front of the TV or listen to music and shell the dried pods during winter. I tend to sort and only save the fully mature, unblemished seeds ("biggest and the best") for planting next year, and use the beans of questionable maturity for cooking since they turn into dry beans looking like the mature ones, only smaller.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

xtron
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Location: christiansburg virginia

Re: Does anyone let BEANS go to seed for next years garden?

I save seeds from almost everything I grow, most of which is heirlooms.
beans, black, red, pintos are easy as they are shell beans anyway. green beans, I prefer top crop, you have to leave till it's dried down.
sweet corn is the only thing I have not saved. but this year I am growing golden bantum, an heirloom, so we will see how that goes.
there is a sense of accomplishment, and security, when you see the sprouts from the seeds of last years crop poking up in the spring. it's reassuring knowing you are not dependent on the big box store for your food.

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