When to stop picking to save seed?

macky77(2a)September 2, 2009

I planted Emerite this year on suggestion from the forums here. I think I would have been quite pleased with them had we not had such a cold and late spring as well as major hail damage this summer. The plants are still producing, though not as well as I think they would have. I'd like to save some seed and try again next year.

My question is, how long before my last frost date should I stop picking so the remaining pods/seeds can mature for seed? I'm not sure how long maturity takes since I've only ever grown for snaps. We can get frost mid-September or it can hold off another month... we never know here in Saskatchewan.

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We get frost anywhere from mid-September to Mid-October here in Iowa. I planted 20' rows, but I only picked 18' of the rows and left the other 2' to dry. Mine still are not dry enough, but it has been a wet season.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 5:15PM
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rxkeith(z5 MI)


if you don't have any mature pods swelled up with seeds by now, you may not be getting any seeds this year. when i lived up in michigans keweenaw peninsula, first frost could be mid september to mid october. i would have to let some of my beans go to seed from the start to ensure i had viable seeds for the next year. some varieties, it was just impossible for me to save seeds due to a short season. i haven't grown emerite before so i don't know how fast it will set seeds. usually it takes 3 or 4 weeks longer from snap bean to dry bean. you want the bean pod to at least be thin and leathery to get a mature seed. in the event you can't save seeds emerite is readily available.
up until about 10 years ago, i was maybe the only one growing my great uncle steves pole beans. after experiencing a couple U.P seasons, i woke up, and decided to get the seeds out to other people in the event i ran into several years bad luck. one way to get a jump on the season is to start some seeds indoors a couple weeks before plant out. they transplant fairly easily.
gardening in the north can be challenging.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 5:23PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Macky- I usually watch the bean vines and pick a few that are growing the best, setting the most pods the fastest, setting the biggest pods, whatever. Then I don't pick any beans from those vines for the whole season as they are earmarked for saving seeds. So try for seeds with the oldest beans on the vines, maybe you will make it.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 12:59AM
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Good lord... should be "swelled up with seeds by now" and "don't pick any beans from those (selected) vines for the whole season?!" I sputtered my coffee just now. ;) I'm a snap girl and have been picking since that first smooth little pod was plump enough to snatch! I... I... don't know... if I can... leave them alone... that long. Even for a good cause. Sounds like it might be too late for this season; I wouldn't count on 3 to 4 weeks left of good weather.

Thanks for the tips; I'll buy seed and remember to save next year!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 1:20AM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

"I sputtered my coffee just now"

Well, wouldn't ya know, when I read that I did the exact same thing LOL!

Thank you for that. Just what I needed today. 8^)


    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 9:59AM
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Macky77, I feel for you! I once had a sport of an already rare and expensive (came from Thompson & Morgan) winter squash. That's what got me into learning how to hand pollinate and save squash seed. But I couldn't learn it quickly enough to save that seed. At least you can purchase this seed and plant it again next year :)

I normally plant at least a pole, just for seed. This yields more seed than most folk can use. But hey, it's fun to share with others, and, even in our much longer season, it's best not to pick from those plants from which one wants to save seed. Some varieties will leave you with no seed, at least on certain years, if one doesn't follow this practice.

I visited Dalmeny, Saskatchewan this summer and saw some beautiful gardens. Especially got a kick out of the person with a very small yard, who turned the whole thing into a potato patch (my kind of gardener)!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 7:21AM
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Oh, I know Dalmeny! We're rural, about an hour and a half from there these days. :) Used to go through Dalmeny all the time years ago on our way to horse shows. If potatoes are your thing, I should introduce you to my neighbour, a "retired" grain farmer. He's in his 90s and is just now cutting back on his 1,000 or so potato hills every season. Drive around enough around here and you'll see probably half of the gardens are dominated by potatoes and corn with a few rows of peas. Sometimes I think that's all most locals know how to grow, lol!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2009 at 6:12PM
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