When and how to harvest dried wax beans

kitkat_oregon(7)October 8, 2009

Please can anyone advise me as to how and when to harvest dried wax beans. I grew Dragons Tongue beans this year and loved them fresh but I would really like to harvest and store them dried. The plants have not been frosted yet and they are heavy with beans. Should I pull the plants pre freeze or leave them? Thanks for any input. Kat

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Kitkat, to save seed or save dry beans, let the pods dry out or at least let them get to the stage when the pods are soft and flexible before picking.

Since this is a bush bean, you can easily cover the plants with a sheet or blanket on nights when frost is expected.

Once you pick them, you can spread the pods out in a dry place to completley dry before shelling. Seeds are dry enough to store when they shatter into peices instead of mushing when you hit them with a hammer.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 10:05AM
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If you don't have room to spread them out, take a needle and thread and string beans like a popcorn string, then hang over a box or between hooks set into porch rafters. As individual beans dry, remove and shell into wire baskets.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 12:07PM
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drloyd and happyday, thank you so much for the information. I love the needle and thread idea. If these plants do get frosted, are they then useless? The reason I ask is that potential frost is due tomorrow night and I cant get up to the garden in time to harvest or cover. I doubt that it is going to be a killing frost, only down to about 32. Thanks again. Kat

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 6:55PM
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OK, I just read zeedmans comments on the thread a few doors down from this one and he pretty much answered the frost question, so if I pull the plants put them whole into the greenhouse to dry, will I get viable seed? Sorry for the silly question but I dont know what the heck I'm doing.... I will rearrange my schedule and go and pull the plants tomorrow rather than lose the whole crop. TIA again. Kat

    Bookmark   October 11, 2009 at 7:08PM
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The plants may survive a 32F frost. We had three light frosts in early October and the bean plants survived. There was ice on the car but the temperature was just 32. Then 27F killed all the leaves.

Seed should be viable now if the pods have started to soften.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2009 at 10:19AM
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I've read that yes you can pull the whole plant and hang them upside down to dry. Make sure that air can get between them and they don't freeze before drying out. If you can put a fan on them or hang them in the wind, that would dry them faster than a very moist greenhouse, which could lead to rot. Might as well remove the leaves too.

I've got all my beans strung over boxes or shelled into wire baskets under three fans and they are drying/changing color by the hour.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2009 at 2:53AM
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