Saving Seeds – Peas and Beans

Person Author: Helen Fowler Calender August 1, 2012 Posted Tags: , , Comment 1 Comment

The saving of seeds from crops you have grown, can have a number of benefits. It allows you to have an amount of seeds that would be costly to buy, also if you select carefully, over time you can develop your own strain. Many older gardener kept seeds from each years crops, selecting from the best plants. By selecting the plants that produced seeds that had good germination, strong growth and produced good healthy crops, a local strain could be developed that grew well in their locality on their allotment or garden. Many heritage varieties were saved from extinction because of saved seeds found stored in garden or allotment sheds. Some of the easiest seeds for the amatuer gardener to save are legume family, this includes peas, mangetout, broad, runner, climbing and dwarf beans. It is best to save seeds from heritage or open pollinated varieties, as these will come true to the variety sown. You can save seeds from F1 hybrids, but they will not come true to the variety and the results will be very variable.

When saving seeds of peas and beans, the method is the same. Remember only save seeds from the best plants, and choose the best pods on the plants, free from any pests or disease. If I only want a small number of seeds, say 100, this is only about 15 to 20 pods, depending on the variety, I tie a piece of coloured wool or string around the plant or pods I want to keep. You can roughly work out how many pods to save by checking the average number of seed per pod when you harvest to eat, then multiply up to give you the number of pods to save. As a rule, you usually need more pea seeds than runner bean seeds.

Saving the seeds, you can grow a row of your selected variety specifically for seed, or more usually just select a few of the best plants. You can also just select a few pods, and mark like I suggested with coloured wool or tape. Whatever way you choose of growing or selecting, allow the pods to mature on the plants, then when the plants start to die back, lift the whole plant and hang up somewhere sheltered to dry. A shed or garage are ideal. They will dry quite quickly, tuning a pale greeny brown. When completey dry, remove pods, shell, and store in paper bags or envelopes and keep cool and dry, dont forget to write on the variety. If you only want a small amount of seeds, you can remove mature pods individually and dry on newspaper. I would remove the larger seeds like broad beans from their dry pods and dry the loose seeds for a few more days before bagging up. I like to put a couple of silica gel packets in my seed storage box with my seeds, they often come in boxes of bought items, this just helps to keep the seeds dry. When you’ve saved your seeds, it can be fun to make your own seed packets or labels.


One Response to “Saving Seeds – Peas and Beans”

  • Val:

    Last year I saved some borlotti beans for this season: today I picked my first beans from the plants!

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