seed crops

Jon_dear(4/5)March 18, 2012

Do any of you grow seed either to sell or to use yourself? I have a nice heirloom bean that an old customer of mine gave me. He said that as far as he knows he, his father, grandfather and great grandfather grew them and passed them down. I lost my seed stock and finally got some again from his widow and daughter. Last year I tried them and lost them. (none germinated) His widow told me the seed was really old. She got me a baggie full from her daughter this year. They are much fresher but I a doing a germination test. I really hope to keep this bean going as I can't find it online anywhere. Then again, without a name to search for it's nearly impossible. I'll see if I can get a pic of the seed and plants and more info over the summer.

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myfamilysfarm

I'm sure there are seed laws, but for your own use, it's not a problem. My uncle received my step-grandfather's family bean seed. I don't know if he passed it on to anyone, I know not me.

Marla

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 7:22PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

I have been growing seed for decades mostly for my own use, though have done a couple of commercial contracts for peppers and melons in the past.

Beans are easy but if you have a lot of bees they will cross pollinate so if you want to keep this strain pure plant it at least 100 feet away from any other beans or better yet plant only that variety.

Do not pick any of the pods until they are brown and dry but have not yet opened. harvest at around 110 to 120 days

The fact the beans are so old means you will get bad germination but I doubt it will be less than 20% and that will be good enough to get some seed stock going but it will probably take you 2 to 3 seasons to get more than 5 to 10 pounds of seed.

A great book for beginning seed savers is Seed to Seed by Susan Ashcraft

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 7:04AM
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magz88(5a - Central Ontario)

I started it last year for a few flower varieties and mustard greens and amaranth.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:31AM
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bi11me(5b)

Jon - see if you can track down Will Bonsall or Sam Birch in Whitefield, both are seed savers with some expertise in heirloom beans. There's also the seed swap coming up in Unity an the 25th.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed swap

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Jon_dear(4/5)

If one could get a contract for growing seed, I wonder if there would be more money in say a row (or acre) of bean seed or selling the beans fresh?

I was thinking of Will too bi11me.

Marla, I'd look into it. Wouldn't it be great to preserve it?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:45AM
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myfamilysfarm

He's a uncle that I don't see anymore, unfortunately the seed will probably die with him.

As far as more money, don't know, but you could do both and what you don't get picked, save for seed.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 4:48PM
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boulderbelt(5/6)

Jon there is more money in selling an acre of beans fresh than selling them for seed. You would make more from dried beans sold for eating than for seed on a contract as you would probably get no more than $2 a pound for the bean seed but could sell direct those same beans for $3 to $4 a pound.

I know when I had seed contracts I did not make the money expected as they pay maybe 40% of what they will sell the seed for and they are very particular about isolation (which they need to be) so you have to be extremely care in how you grow the seed crop.

And if you are doing a seed crop you never ever pick some and save the rest as you want the best genetics which means if you pick them green you can only pick the pods that probably will not be sellable.

and like anything you need a few years of seed saving under your belt before going pro.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:10AM
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myfamilysfarm

I haven't ever saved the seed, just expressing an opinion. I would only save 1 row or so, just for my use. I usually plant more beans than I can pick, just so easy to plant and so much labor to pick.

Marla

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Jon_dear(4/5)

I was just bouncing ideas around. I agree that you'd want to save the earliest not just the ones you didn't get to. I like shell beans anyway...

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 6:21PM
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myfamilysfarm

Jon, I don't blame you in the least bit for bouncing ideas off of us. I mean, who is better to understand, than other growers.

Marla

    Bookmark   March 23, 2012 at 7:46PM
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