Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ah, The "Musical Fruit!"

Bean seeds to be planted for next year's bean crop

Many of the green beans that I planted in June and did not pick with the intention of saving them for next year's seed are just getting to the stage when they need to be picked, dried and stored. Beans are some of the easiest things to save seed from!  Simply leave the beans on the plant until the pods start to turn yellow and dry, then pick, shell, dry a little more and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.  I've read that it's a good idea to place them in the freezer for a short time to kill any bugs that may be inside, but I never do and have never had a bug problem....knock on wood!

I think part of my fascination with beans is the fact that they can be so varied in color, shape and size.

Some of the beans I recently harvest for seed.  White bean is the pole bean "Helda".  Black bean is a bush bean called "Cherokee Wax", and the red bean is another bush variety, "Provider"

Getting the timing right on picking the bean pods intended for seed use can sometimes be tricky.  Our weather this year has been extremely wet which has resulted in some of the beans rotting, getting moldy, and sprouting in the pods!  I decided to pick many of the beans before the pods are completely dry in an attempt to avoid the mold/rot/sprout issue.  Hopefully that doesn't adversely affect the seed quality. (I seem to remember writing something similar about the popcorn I recently harvested!)

Helda beans with two seeds already sprouting in a still-green pod!

Helda seed, look at those little roots...I'm assuming they're little roots since the leaf portion is still in the seed!

You know, maybe that Jack & The Beanstalk fairy tale isn't so far know how the mother tosses the bean seeds out the window in despair?  And the next day there's a beanstalk growing up into the clouds?  And the seeds weren't even "planted" in the soil, yet they grew?  Well, perhaps my Helda beans are a relative of Jack's beanstalk, seeing how it's so anxious to grow and it's not even planted ;-)   Those bean stalks did grow pretty high!

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