Save bean seeds and you'll find yourself with extra dollars in your pocket; perhaps quite a lot of them.
Plus when your favourite bean suddenly goes out of vogue, as this Witsa has, you will still have it available. Seed-companies have brought out newer varieties, supposedly better but in our opinion often not; but more profitable for them. The only problem with progress is that it's not always a step forwards.
This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 9th January, 2023.
At the end of summer unless you are extremely vigilant, which I am not, you'll find that you have missed reaping a few pods. Now they are mature, hard and stringy; and the beans are starchy.
Too old to enjoy as tender young delicious green string-beans. So what do you do with them?
That's easy; here you can see a pile of string bean pods that I picked whilst cleaning the vines off the trellis in preparation for growing peas.
I quickly divided my string beans into two.
The green pods went straight into the dogs' food. Cooked up with rice, an extra butternut and potato peels, they make excellent food for your pets too. With raw beef added, they ate the lot! No need to save bean seed from immature fruit.
I do not know enough to enter the debate as to whether dogs should only eat red meat and nothing else.
Now for the dried out pods, they're a greyish colour. The best ones, when they are properly dry shake, rattle and roll when you give them a good shake. The others are okay, but you should leave them in the sun for a few days. Otherwise they get mildewy and will go rotten.
Once dry, crack them open and prize out the beans. Together with the vines, the pods are perfect for making a compost pile. Just chuck them on, and keep adding layers of vegetable matter from the garden and kitchen.
Keep only those bean seeds that are perfect. Those which are discoloured, chipped or undersized you should discard; more dog food.
Bad seeds will only give you weak plants next season.
I place them between sheets of newspaper and place them on a warm window sill to dry out completely.
Then spread your seeds out on a table in the hot sun for a whole day to kill any weevils.
simply place them in a bottle, remembering to label it; put it
away in a dry and dark spot, ready for the next planting. Actually they will keep for years.
Going to seed is a natural part of the cycle of nature but it does come with a few pangs. The beets have become hard and woody and should have been harvested a few weeks earlier. Lettuce leaves will be turning bitter and very soon there'll be no more tender young spinach leaves.
Where you eat the seed, naturally you'll be delighted, as in how to grow corn.
Save been seeds because it's the ninth of the ten commandments of food security.
Nitrogen fixation is an essential part of the organic garden. Inoculating rhizobia onto legume seeds makes a huge difference to the yield; and the fertiliser left in the soil.
Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil so, once you've pulled the beans after picking the dried pods, I immediately plant another crop.
Here you can see a row of radish growing along the bean trellis.
The dead bean plants along with their roots go straight into the compost pile to seed that too with nitrogen fixation bacteria.
Once the danger of frost is over, as green beans are very sensitive, dig a trench alongside a trellis-work or fence. Fill half of it with compost and then cover it well with at least 6 inches of soil to minimise the danger of cutworms.
Now that we have hens we allow them to dig through the loose soil thoroughly to devour any bugs; especially for the Mexican bean beetle larvae.
Plant the seed that you've saved about 5 centimetres apart in the row; and 2cm deep. Cover them with soil and go get a good Bernard Preston book. There's nothing more to be done, except perhaps to weed them. In 2 to 3 months you will have green beans coming out of your ears.
Should you grow dwarf or pole beans?
I recommend you grow both. First thing in the spring, plant out a bed of dwarf green beans; they'll be ready in about eight weeks. Then put up a trellis of sorts and sow a row of the pole variety. They will take longer but bear for several months, more prolifically and are easier to pick. Save your back, Jack.
Every six weeks, plant out another row of pole beans. Don't bother with the bush variety again until next spring. We have put them in five times this summer, and we're still enjoying them every day in April; late autumn in the Southern hemisphere.
Nothing could be easier than COOKING GREEN BEANS. Pick the nice young pods, top 'n tail, and drop them into boiling water; five minutes maximum or less if you like them al dente.
Witsa is not stringy so it's a bit of a misnomer.
Save your broad bean seeds too. Oddly we find they germinate far better than those purchased from the nursery; that's if you can get them at all.
Broad beans have three advantages. They grow in the cooler weather along with peas, and have the highest vegetable protein content of all legumes, bar soyas.
How to plant broad beans could not be easier especially if you have saved your own seeds. The third benefit is their unique ability to provide L-dopa for those suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Why are we so crazy about save bean seeds, growing and cooking green beans? That's simple; actually there are several reasons.
Save Bean Seeds, growing and cooking green legumes is a massive step up to greater wellness. From the garden they are delicious.
Slip a few dwarf bean seeds here and there in between the flowers and shrubs in the garden. But for me the pole varieties are far superior. Just one plant will feed a person for a good month. Three will be a glut!
A lot more people die on the planet from obesity than starvation on planet Earth. Hence the proliferation of decidedly dodgy and gimmicky diets; as we all know only too well none of them deliver on their promises.
In particular the ketogenic diets strongly recommend you avoid all legumes because of their starchy content; avoid them despite some of their merits. You will then have to get all your protein from animal products; and die from a malignant tumour instead.
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Banting is one of the half way good diets; which means it's also fifty percent bad. You will lose weight, and not feel ravenous all day, but the risk of getting cancer is greatly increased.
Why is that? Because banting means eating almost zero carbohydrate and so they, unwisely in my opinion, ban all legumes. That means a high animal protein diet.
And it's all unnecessary because legumes have an extremely low glycemic index, as discussed above, and thus don't produce an insulin rush anyway.
So, if you seriously need to lose weight, then I do recommend the modified Banting diet.
Perhaps even more important learn about resistant starch; then you can have your beans and eat them!
Even though Prof Tim Noakes has his doubts, I rank beans amongst the best of our nutritious choice foods. You either eat beans, notwithstanding the starch in them, and perhaps because of the low GI carbs they have, or you have to eat a lot more red meat. I am definitely not a fan of the conventional Banting Diet. Rather save bean seeds and add legumes to your daily food.
The research comes out again and again that that means cancer. I choose legumes and eat them daily, particularly chickpeas and either green beans or fresh peas from the garden. I'm not too enthusiastic about the frozen and canned ones.
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