Saving Heirloom Bean and Pea Seeds
Heirloom peas and beans are open-pollinated, so they set seed that will grow into plants similar to the parent plant. Allow the peas and beans you plan on saving to dry on the plant. Once the pods turn brown and the seeds rattle inside, they are ready to harvest. This is about 6 weeks after you harvest beans for eating and about 4 weeks after the normal picking stage for peas.
Protect plants from frost or pull them out of the ground and hang them in a cool dry location, so the pods can finish drying. Remove the pods from the plants and allow them to further dry indoors for about two weeks.
Remove the seeds from the dried pods, store in an airtight opaque container in a cool dark location. Label with the varietal name and date the seeds were collected.
A bit more information: As your interest and experience saving heirloom seeds increases, consider joining Seed Savers Exchange. They sponsor participatory conservation by connecting gardeners who grow and save heirloom seeds. Gardeners contribute some of their heirloom seeds for Seed Savers to preserve and share with other gardeners to also grow and help replenish the supply. This allows Seed Savers to regenerate heirloom seeds.
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