If there was ever a seed designed for the beginner seed saver, it is the bean seed. Just about the time you are sick of picking and freezing them, you realize, they just need a little neglect!
- let them grow until they are plump and bumpy with seeds, over mature for eating
- then, stop watering them (I am not super strict about this, but …)
- let the plants and pods dry out (it is dry enough in Southwest Idaho to make it pretty easy.) [hr]
Once enough of the bean pods are dry, go out and pick as many as you want. It’s even fine if it’s after a couple of frosts. That doesn’t affect the dry pods. If they get a little damp, you can always spread the seeds out to dry after they are picked.
- choose well formed pods (for my favorite pole beans that is long and straight)
- choose the driest, crisp pods
- consider opening a few right there to see which pods have the best looking seeds
- take time to ponder the magic that you will be saving in a jar for next year. [hr]
As long as the pods are dry, and kept that way, there is no rush to set the seeds free. However, it would be good to see that the seeds are indeed healthy, just for peace of mind. Plus, the loose seeds are easier to store.
- at this stage the pods can be spring loaded, so consider holding the pods over and partly down into a bowl when opening the pods
- examine the seeds as you go along, tossing out any that are not full, smooth, and free of discoloration
Store the seeds in anything from a jar (if they are completely dry) to a paper lunch sack. I’ve done it both of those ways with no problems, other than
- sacks are hard to store neatly and labeling tends to hide in the folds, but sacks are inexpensive.
- jars will make it easier to monitor any moisture issues, assuming you visit the storage location occasionally. 🙂
Let yourself be amazed every year that you can get this: