Correct way to save seeds

downeastwavesOctober 12, 2006

Could someone please let me know the correct way to save seeds to grow next year for the beans that I grew this year?

They are betting really bulged on the vine. There are still many blooms but not enough days of good weather before a frost.

Thanks!!!!!

It was fun growing them and eating them most of the summer.

Leasa

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gardenlad(6b KY)

Leasa, if weather conditions permit, the best way is to let the pods dry fully on the vine. Then harvest them, shuck the beans out, check for complete dryness, and freeze for at least 48 hours.

Baring that, beans will have viable seed starting when they fill out. By the time the pods change color and start to turn leathery the seed will be as viable as it's going to get. So, pick the beans, shuck them into baskets, and let them air try, mixing them at least once a day. When fully dry, freeze for at least 48 hours.

To test dryness, put a seed on a hard surface and strike it with a hammer. If it shatters, it's dry enough. If it just sort of mushes, it needs more drying time.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:31AM
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downeastwaves

Thanks for the info.

Freeze them! HONEST???

Should I harvest them before the get hit by frost? and then after they are dry freeze them?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 7:04PM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Yes, harvest them before frost if possible. You don't want moist seeds to freeze; that's not good for them.

But, for sure, freeze the dry ones. You do this primarilyi to kill off any hint of bean weevils. Freezing kills all three forms (eggs, larvae, and adults).

While 48 hours will do it, you can leave them permanently stored in the freezer if you want. This can extend seed viability out to around 40 years.

However, when taking the container out of the freezer, make sure everything comes to room temperature before opening it. Otherwise condensation will form, and this could affect germination.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 11:06AM
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macmex

"However, when taking the container out of the freezer, make sure everything comes to room temperature before opening it. Otherwise condensation will form, and this could affect germination."

Yes, I once took a jar of seed out of the freezer, opened it before it was fully warmed, took out some seeds, and resealed it. The next spring, when I opened it for more seed, I found that all the seed had molded and had zero germination rate! A little condensation can really hurt you!

George
Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 2:21PM
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downeastwaves

thanks so much for the info!

I better go pull the plants right now, it is suppose to be down to 36 tonight!

Leasa

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 8:08PM
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windsng225(z5/ct)

Hello,
Reading all of this about freezing, I am wondering if you just dry the seeds and don't put them in the freezer (all seeds) does that mean that they will not germinate? I guess I am really confused now. Because I have just been drying them and putting them in seed envelopes with lables on them.
joyce

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 9:05AM
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gardenlad(6b KY)

Joyce, what you've been doing is perfectly fine. Many people merely store their seed at ambient temperature and humidity with no problems.

When stored in a cool, dry, dark place, common bean seed remains viable for four years. That means that after 4 years, a maximum of 50% will be viable. So don't throw them out if they're older than that, just oversow to assure the number you want.

Prefreezing is a prophylactic step used where bean beetles are a problem. If you don't have them, freezing isn't necessary. But if you do, freezing at 0 degrees for 48 hours will kill all three stages.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2006 at 11:31AM
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