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Free Food in Process: Drying Green Beans for Seed

Green Beans Drying in a Cool Dark Room to ready them as seed

My plan for free food by 2011 is underway. Having bought sugar snap peas and green beans as seed in 2010, I’ve harvested a portion for seed. The key is not only to pick them when they’re big and brown with paper-thin pods, but to follow up by drying them for a few weeks in a cool, dark place. That’s the step you see here. Today, I’ll be sorting out any pods that have signs of moldiness, then taking out the remaining beans and putting them in an envelope in a drawer for planting next year. Free food!

Doing this with my peas was really cool: after drying out for a couple of weeks, they’d shrunk down to the wrinkled cubes you see in the Burpee seed packets. I was tempted to use a pair as little bitty dice.

3 thoughts on “Free Food in Process: Drying Green Beans for Seed”

  1. J. Clifford says:

    Did you choose an heirloom variety? It might work if you didn’t, but there are also infertile hybrid and genetically-engineered varieties out there.

    1. Jim says:

      Good question, especially because I didn’t buy heirloom. I know that the peas will grow because a number of them dropped to the earth and have grown back as late-season volunteers. For the green beans, I’ve taken out about eight of the beans from the set of a hundred or so I’ve dried and have stuck ’em in a pot of dirt by a sunny window inside in order to test their viability. I should know within a few days whether they’ll work for spring planting.

    2. Jim says:

      Update: hoo-rah! The test beans are sprouted and growing by my window. We’re on for next spring, and the spring after that, and the spring after that….

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