• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

question on saving bean seed

 
dan Faling
Posts: 33
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I planted heirloom kentucky wonder pole beans, and the beans that I planted all looked the same, however the beans that I am harvesting for seed, look nothing like the originals. The run a gamut of sizes and colors. What is the reason for this and should I still save them? Trying to save as many seeds as possible for coming years.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1716
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
316
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
dan Faling wrote:So I planted heirloom kentucky wonder pole beans, and the beans that I planted all looked the same, however the beans that I am harvesting for seed, look nothing like the originals. The run a gamut of sizes and colors. What is the reason for this and should I still save them? Trying to save as many seeds as possible for coming years.


A photo would help...

Beans picked green have a different color than beans picked dry. They are different sizes.
Environmental conditions can modify the size and shape of a bean compared to it's parent.
Beans change color as they age, so this year's crop may not be the same color as beans harvested a year or two ago.
Some beans experience "color reversals" which don't change the genetics, but cause the beans to be different colors.
Beans that get wet after drying down, but before picking can change colors.
F2 hybrids might produce different colored seeds.
Heirlooms are naturally more diverse than modern cultivars.
People forget what they planted, or misremember. 
Kids move labels.
Animals move seeds.
Volunteers from prior years or spilled seeds grow in this year's bean patch.
And I'm sure there are lots of other reasons for a bean to be a different color than expected.

I prize diversity in my garden. If you value uniformity, then replant those seeds that look most like the parent, and eat the rest, or save the odd seeds as an emergency seed stash.

The way I save beans:



 
dan Faling
Posts: 33
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow, at first glance those looked like gourmet jelly beans. Pretty cool. I definitely do value diversity in my garden, I just have always had good luck marketing my beans as kentucky wonder, however in past years I have always bought seed for them for the season, but saving my own has become increasingly important to me. kentucky wonders are also my favorite. it's the only bean I planted this year, got 2 lbs planted from seed savers exchange. Here is a pic of the beans I am harvesting, let me know what you think. I really like the kentucky wonders because they are sweet and stringless when young, and keep producing well into frost here when planted in succession. Alot of the seeds that I have gotten from seed savers exchange have not been true, e.g. pumpkins that turned out to be squmpkins, etc.
IMG_20160907_010655.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20160907_010655.jpg]
 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1716
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
316
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dan: Looks like a mix of wet beans and dry beans to me. Spread them out to dry for a few weeks, and I bet they'll be much more uniform in appearance.


 
dan Faling
Posts: 33
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks, appreciate it. checking out some of your posts and seems you really know your beans. Do your mixed beans produce good green beans, or do you grow them for dry beans, and did you start with many varieties, or do they change from selection?
 
Joseph Lofthouse
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 1716
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
316
bee chicken food preservation fungi greening the desert
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
dan Faling wrote:thanks, appreciate it. checking out some of your posts and seems you really know your beans. Do your mixed beans produce good green beans, or do you grow them for dry beans, and did you start with many varieties, or do they change from selection?


I grow a patch of beans that is only snap beans. I don't call them green beans because they might be green, yellow, purple, or mottled with some combination of these colors. If they inter-cross, then they only produce snap beans. In a different field, I grow the dry beans. Some of the dry beans might make good snap beans, but I don't select for that trait. I started with many varieties. I also watch closely for any hybrids that might show up. I give them a place of honor the first couple years before mixing them into the general population.

For example: These beans are all descended from one seed, and have the same great-grandparents.


And here's a different family group.


The crossing rate is somewhere between 0.5% and 5% when planted very closely together. I grow a lot of beans! I find 2 to 6 natural hybrids per year.

 
Dylan Mulder
Posts: 41
Location: North Carolina
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is a very visible example of a color difference in a single variety.

On the left are some beans from the variety 'Rattlesnake' that I saved back in 2014.

On the right are some beans from the same variety that I saved this year in 2016.
Bean-comp.JPG
[Thumbnail for Bean-comp.JPG]
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic