Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saving Seeds

    I've taken my vegetable gardening to a new level in that I've become a seed saver. It started several years ago with my corn bread obsession when I began saving seed from my indian corn. Now I've added peas and two varieties of dry beans to my seed saving list.  I don't know why I didn't save seed for peas sooner. It happens so naturally in that sooner or later every year we fail to pick the peas in a timely fashion. In the past I've picked the over-developed pods and fed them to the chickens.  This year I left them on the plants to dry down and give us the seeds for next year's pea crop.  Saving seeds for dry beans was more pre-meditated.  I put a lot of effort into choosing varieties that were well adapted for our maritime climate.  The varieties I selected, Yin Yang and Rockwell, both happen to be very pretty beans, but that was serendipitous. There are more of the Rockwell beans in the photo below because they are maturing about a week earlier than the Yin Yang beans. A week earlier is a really big deal in our maritime climate.
Rockwell Beans

Yin Yang Beans

   I've been taking advantage of my iPhone to listen again to last April's General Conference.  I usually listen while I spin in the mornings or while I am taking care of the animals. Since the October General conference is almost upon us I thought I should review the last one in preparation for the coming one. Yesterday morning I listened to talks by President Monson and President Uchtdorf.  When I listen to the modern day prophets and apostles I am always touched by their humility and sincerity. I am so grateful there are such good and kind men who are willing to make such great personal sacrifices to serve the rest of us. It makes me feel a bit embarrassed that I have ever complained about the time I spend in church service.


  1. So you just let the bean pods mature? Like to the point of when the outside starts to brown/rot?

  2. Yes, but the bean pods only rot if they are unable to fully mature and dry down before the rains start. That is why early maturity is such an important characteristic in selecting a good dry bean variety for our maritime climate. If necessary the plants can be pulled from the ground and allowed to finish drying down in the garage, but I'd rather plant varieties that can finish on their own outside. The Rockwell beans are an heirloom variety from Western Washington meaning farmers were able to grow them as a dry bean crop in their fields without any special coddling like pulling up the plants to save them from the October rains. I'd be happy to give you some seeds if you want to try them. The only down side to growing your own dry beans is that they take a lot of garden space for the relative small volume of the harvest. You end up with about a pound and a half of dry beans for every ten feet of garden row. On the up side there is no canning and dry beans take up a lot less storage space than canned beans.