Save bean seeds and you'll find yourself with a good few extra dollars in your pocket.
Plus, when your favourite bean seed 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 not, but more profitable; the only problem with progress is that it's not always a step forwards.
This page was last updated by Dr Bernard Preston on 19th November, 2018.
At the end of summer unless you are extremely vigilant, which I'm not, you'll find that you've missed reaping a few pods. And now they're too mature and the pods are 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?
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:
green pods went straight into the dogs' food. Cooked up with rice, an
extra butternut, we had too many, and potato peels, they make
excellent food for the dogs too. With a little raw beef added, they ate
the lot! No need to save bean seed from immature fruit.
Now for the dried out pods, they're a greyish colour. The best ones, when they are properly dried out shake, rattle and roll when you give them a good shake. The others are okay, but you should leave them in the sun to dry properly. Otherwise they get mildewy and will go rotten.
Once your pods are 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, undersized and, if they've got damp, wrinkled you should discard; more dog food. Bad seed makes for bad plants next summer.
I place them between sheets of newspaper and place them on a warm window sill to dry out completely.
Then, simply place them in a used envelope (remember to label it), and put it away in a dry and dark spot, ready for next Spring.
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 or the organic garden.
Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil so, once you've pulled the plants after picking the dried pods, I immediately plant another crop. Here you can see a row of radish growing along the bean trellis... How to grow RADISHES
And the dead plants along with their roots go straight into the compost pile to seed that too with nitrogen fixation bacterial.
Once the danger of frost is over, as green beans are very sensitive, dig a trench alongside a trelliswork or fence. Fill half of it with compost and then cover the compost 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 cutworm and Mexican bean beetle larvae.
Plant the seed that you've saved about 5cm apart in the row, and 2cm deep. Cover 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'll 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 two months, and a row of pole beans. They take longer, but bear for much longer, 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 beans again, until next spring. We've put in five plantings of beans this summer, and we're still eating green beans every day in April; in the Southern hemisphere.
Nothing could be easier than
COOKING GREEN BEANS ...
pick the nice young string bean pods, top 'n tail, and drop them into
boiling water. Five minutes max, less if you like them crunchy. The new
varieties of beans, like Witsa, aren't stringy, so it's a bit of a misnomer.
Save your broad bean seeds too; oddly we find they germinate far better than the bought seed; that's if you can get them.
Broad beans have two advantages; they grow in the cooler weather along with peas, and have the highest vegetable protein content of all legumes.
How to plant broad beans couldn't be easier especially if you have saved your own bean seeds; they have particular unique benefit for those suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Why are we so crazy about save bean seeds, growing and cooking green beans? Simple. Actually there are several reasons:
Save Bean Seeds and growing and cooking green beans is a massive step up to better health. From the garden they are delic, frozen... well nuff said. Boring. Slip a few dwarf bean seeds here and there in between the flowers and shrubs in the garden. But for me the pole beans are far superior. Just one pole bean plant will feed one person for a good month. Three is 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 fads like the Banting diet.
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 healthy 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.