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Friday, September 20, 2013

How to Collect and Harvest Bean Seeds for Planting and As Dried Food

How to Collect and Harvest Bean Seeds 
for Planting and As Dried Food

The process for collecting beans as future seeds and as food is the same. You may choose to plant different varieties based on your desire. For instance, a bean that produces more seeds may be better for dried food purposes. A bean that has more flesh but less bean might be better for your green bean picking needs. Either way... the seed saving process is the same.

Collect Bean Seeds - The Rusted Garden 2013

You need to let the bean pods and seeds fully mature and fully dry on the vines. Do not pick beans and let them dry other places. The beans probably won't be mature and there is a greater risk of mold and other issues. Let them dry and mature on the vine until the pods are brittle and the seeds have hardened.

Only pick the pods on sunny days when everything is fully dry from rains or morning dew. You don't want any moisture. The video will show you the whole process. I tend to pull the beans right out of the pods as I stand by the vines and put the beans directly into a paper bag. This is a good way to get rid of waste and scare off any insects that might be hanging around in the pods.

There is a very slim chance your dried beans might have been visited by beetles that laid eggs in a pod. The larvae could hide in a dried bean and when harvested, you unknowing bring them into your collection off beans. Eggs could hatch or tiny larvae may grow and eat and infest your dried beans.  Here is a link to one type of beetle that does this Dried Bean Beetle. There is a slim chance this could happen but you can take precautions to prevent this.

Again, the video explains the process but I basically harvest my beans in 1/3 sections. Each section gets picked and stored in a separate zip-lock bag. Because many seeds come out of one pod, storing beans in this manner reduces the risk of one infected pod ruin all your beans. You can also put your beans in a freezer for several days. This works really well for beans you are storing for food. The freezing kills the insects.

Beans are really easy to collect and you can save a lot of money by letting several pods mature and fully dry on the vine.

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