Want to save your own seeds this season, but don’t know where to start?
Beans. That’s right. If you want to start saving seeds, beans are the way to go. Or peas. Why? Legumes are by far the easiest seeds to save, and among the easiest to germinate.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to save bean seeds and ready them for planting:
Start with the right seeds.
Heirloom, open-pollinated seeds will breed true, while hybrid seeds will not. Plant open-pollinated, heirloom bean varieties that are adapted to grow in your area.
Choose healthy plants.
Select the heartiest and most vigorous plants to produce bean seeds for next year’s crop. Do not save seed from weak or diseased plants. Feed your bean plants regularly with H-G Plant Food and you’ll have plenty of hearty and healthy plants to choose from!
Let the plants go.
Allow the bean pods to mature fully on the plant. The bean seeds will fill out the pod as they grow. Then the pod will begin to turn yellow and brown as the pods and bean seeds dry. This can take up to six weeks.
Collect the pods.
The bean pods should feel papery and dry when ready. You should hear the bean seeds rattle when you shake the pod. Pick the pods from the plants and spread them out to dry further indoors.
Dry out the bean seeds.
Spread the pods out in a single layer and let them dry further in a well-ventilated location for at least two weeks before testing the bean seeds. To test them, shell a pod and test several bean seeds with your fingernail. If your fingernail leaves a dent, the beans need to dry longer.
Shell and store your bean seeds.
Once your bean seeds are dry, remove them from the pods and store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar. Label your seeds with the name and year collected. Store your seed containers in a dark and cool location between 35-45°F.
Saving heirloom bean seeds from year to year is a great way to save some money in the garden, become more self-sufficient, and adapt a crop to your unique growing conditions.
Do you save seeds from your garden? If so, which seeds have you had the greatest success? Head to our Facebook page and let us know!