Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saving bean seeds

Last year we planted several varieties of bush beans at the farm - wax, green, and purple varieties. We mixed them all together in the row, and we had VERY LITTLE insect damage. Later I read that the bean beetles do not like the purple varieties of the bean. This was the best crop of ANYTHING we've had - four long rows of beans yielded more beans than we wanted to pick by hand, for sure! We planted the week of Memorial Day. We picked at least 5 bushels while we were there for the family reunion in early August- gave some away, froze some, etc. but they evidently continued to bear. When I returned later in the year I found bean pods on the vines that had dried up and turned black. I harvested them too, putting them in an open plastic bag (to reduce chance of mildew) still in the shell, and keeping them in an unheated attached garage all winter.

Last weekend I shelled those beans and sorted them by color - brown, black, white, and pinto.

I am currently running a germination test to see if they are worth planting. So far I have 4 of 6 sprouted of the black (upper right in photo), 3 sprouted of the white (upper left in photo), and 1 showing promise in the brown beans (lower right). So far no pinto beans have sprouted. We're enjoying an 80+ degree day today here in North Central Ohio, so I've got them outside. I'll keep you posted!

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