5 Reasons to harvest a few seeds this year
2.) Growing your own food organically without chemicals is safer and healthier for you and your family. Bush beans in particular take well to organic gardening and are fabulous bloomers that can provide your family with a bumper crop.
3.) It's so incredibly easy that you'll wonder why you've never tried saving seeds before and the seeds are organic if you spared yourself chemicals this year.
4.) It's a skill that will help you become more off-the-grid and self-sufficient.
5.) Compared to buying full-size plants in 6-packs, seeds are still cheap. If you buy tons in all sorts of varieties, the cost starts to add up quick. But glance over a seed magazine and they don't seem that inexpensive anymore. At $2-$3 a pack for Non-GMO, organic seeds, the price multiples soon.
Why do the seeds have to be an heirloom variety?
Reg Flag - Watch out for hybrid plants and seeds. These are man-made and they are only good for one planting season. Harvest and plant them the following year and the plants that grow will resemble one of its parents, grandparents or something in-between. You don't get an exact replica and the results are totally unpredictable.
Insider tip: Any kind of heirloom bush bean works well like the Contender Bean or Kentucky Wonder Bean; two of my favorites. Remember: heirloom seeds produce exact replicas of the plant you already have. No-name, off beat varieties may or may not do this. Who knows what you'll actually end up with when planted? My 6-year-old is rooting for that Jack in the Beanstalk variety. Me...? Not so much.
How-to harvest your beans
If left alone, you'll notice the pods on the plant go from bright green, to sickly yellow to finally a brownish dud color. This is a good time to harvest...when the bush beans look sickly and old. They may even have dark brown spots, a good indication the seeds are nice and dry inside.
So crack open the pods, save the seeds inside regardless of color and put the pods back to compost in the garden. Next year, you'll plant these hard and dehydrated seeds to get the same plant in your garden. You should get about 5-10 seeds per pod. Not bad for a minutes work!!
You don't just have to do green beans...also consider harvesting
Does it matter when I harvest my seeds from the pods?
If you leave the pods on the bush, they'll start to yellow when they start to go. If you crack open a pod, you'll most likely notice the seeds to be a light purple. The longer you leave the pod on the bush, the darker the seed inside will become. From light purple, the seed will slowly darken into a deep, deep purple. The seeds become this dried out, dark purple seed you'll plant next spring.