- Created on Monday, 02 December 2013 08:51
It's begging for trouble, saving runner bean seeds from plants grown on an allotment plot. They'll have definitely cross-pollinated with other varieties grown close-by but I'm going for it anyway. My good friend Maurice, a life long farmer and grower of runner beans assures me that he hasn't bought fresh runner bean seeds in over fourteen years and he still gets a great crop each year. So I've got to try saving my own, just this once.
They were originally Scarlet Emperor
It was Scarlet Emperor that we grew this year (as always - out of blind habit), while my neighbour Doreen only ever grows White Lady, a very different kind of runner bean altogether. It must be said of Maurice's runner beans, some flower red, some white and quite a few a bit of both. None the less however, he always gets a lot of runner beans, year after year. It'll be fun, waiting to see what we get.
I got started on the idea of saving runner bean seeds this year after getting involved with helping Maurice gather in the runners that he had allowed to dry on his plants for next year's seed. I was intrigued to see that what appeared to be brown, manky and possibly rotting pods actually contained healthy seeds almost ready for podding. The plants themselves had completely died back before Maurice judged the pods ready to harvest. I thought it worth the above photo, just to show what they look like.
Having collected the pods, Maurice now has them stored in plastic netting bags hanging up in his shed where they will soon finish drying out. He then stores them in an air-tight plastic container until needed for sowing next spring. Maurice tells me that they'll keep like that for a few years if necessary. It's important to make sure they really have dried out as much as they will, or they'll simply rot while your back's turned.
Here's a hat tip to a great website I found while looking for further advice on saving seed. I can see myself spending some money with realseeds.co.uk in the not too distant future, I like what they're doing and the way they're going about doing it. Their website has lots to say about saving seeds, which is refreshing when you consider that's what they sell.
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