Saving Green Bean Seeds

WHY PAY FOR GREEN BEAN SEEDS when you can grow them yourselves? It’s one of the easier ways to save money with your garden. Plus, if you save your own seeds year after year, you can custom-tailor them to your micro climate and soil conditions, improving your yields with each generation.

Most any green bean variety can be saved, since there are no hybrids on the market. There may be SOME exceptions to this rule, but it’s not like tomatoes. There are many hybrid tomatoes that won’t produce true, but that’s not the case with green beans. Even cross pollination of different varieties of green beans is rare in the backyard garden.

All it takes is to follow this seven step guide:

1. Select a couple of your green bean plants. Select more if you need more seeds. Keep in mind that it’s better to have more than enough seeds than too little. A very rough estimate is that one bush bean plant will provide about 50 seeds.

The selected plants will be your seed growers. The goal here is to select the best possible plants so that you have the best possible genome for your specific garden.

As such, your seed growing plants should:

  • Be the first to produce ready to eat beans
  • Be tall and strong with dark green leaves
  • Have a high number of pods

Each year, if you repeat the process, the plants should mature earlier and produce more beans.

2. Mark the selected plants. You can mark them with a string or something to make sure you don’t eat them.

3. Leave the pods to dry out completely. Don’t pick any beans from these plants. The pods should grow to full size. Then wait until the pods turn completely brown or brown-yellow. They shouldn’t have any green on them. When you shake the dry pods, you should be able to hear the rattle of beans moving around inside. When you squeeze the pods they should be crunchy to the touch.

But don’t save beans that are:

Saving Green Bean Seeds

Saving green bean seeds is easy. Just don’t save seeds from pods that have been chewed on by insects.

  • From insect-eaten pods
  • Wrinkled
  • A different color from the others
  • Smaller than the average

You want to select seeds that will produce the best possible plants.

4. Remove the seeds from the pods. Any way you do this is OK. Just make sure that you don’t damage any of the seeds.

5. Dry seeds on a paper towel. Allow them to air out and harden for several days.

6. Store the seeds in a clean, dry container. I use a container that allows air flow, but store them in a location where there’s absolutely no moisture.

7. Label the bean containers. At the very least, mark the year and the specific variety so you don’t forget which ones are which. I save provider green beans because they seem to do well in my area.

That’s really all there is to it.

If you’ve been saving green bean seeds, let us know what kind you keep by mentioning it in the comment section below.

Related articles you might enjoy:

1. The Best Way to Save Tomato Seeds
2. Is Fermenting Tomato Seeds Necessary?
3. Book Review: Jere Gettle’s The Heirloom Life Gardener

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6 Responses to “Saving Green Bean Seeds”

  1. August 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Hi Bill,as you know i have planted the blue beans this year.They have produced really well considering the slow year we have had.The weather has been very hot this year,also never had any rain for 6 weeks until today.We had a good thunder storm this afternoon which give the garden a good soak.These beans have matured 2 weeks sooner than the beans i normally grow,which is good for me.I will be saving some of these,that’s for sure.Yes,they do taste as good as the others,in fact i would say that they taste better,i like them.This is a good one for my area,it is so hard to get all the others mature enough to harvest before we get our first frost.These will be picked way before that.Just think,if we had had some good weather and more rain we would have had a bumper crop.

    • August 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Bob — I think I’m going to try these blue beans to see how they do in my area. It would be great if they matured a couple of weeks earlier.

  2. August 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Well Bill I will have to give this a try…seems pretty easy.

    • August 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      Donna — It’s very easy. There’s no sense in buying seeds year after year if you are growing the same varieties.

  3. Monica
    August 19, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    Let the beans dry completely on the vine. This is best done near the end of the growing season, because once you start letting the pods mature, the bean stalks slow down quite a bit, and you won’t get much of a harvest.

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