Gardening · Homesteading · Preserving

Seed Saving: Heirloom Bean Seeds We Grew in 2023 And Saved

One of the most important things you can do as a gardener and homesteader is to preserve open-pollinated/heirloom seeds that grew well for you. Keep growing them, but also share with others so they can keep these seeds going. One single bean seed can produce many, so even 6 to 8 shared seeds is huge. By the second year of growing, you will have enough to eat.

These are the shelling beans we grew in the summer of 2023. Shelling means you can let the bean pod dry up on the plant and seed the pods once the outside is crispy dry. They can be stored in mason jars for eating in the cold months. They work well as beans in soups and cassoulets. If rain is predicted, we will pull beans by late August and let them finish drying on the counter or greenhouse.

Tiger’s Eye Beans. Originated from South America: Chile, and Argentina. Bush bean.

Hidatsa Red Indian Bean. One seed can produce a plant that produces 100 pods. Each pod holds 6 to 8 beans. They are called” half-runners” because they grow about 3 feet tall. They are drought-resistant.

Painted Pony Bean. It is a prized bush bean, and the markings often survive the cooking process.

Scarlet Runner Bean. It is an incredible bean known for its pole-climbing ability. It’ll grow very tall, so start building a teepee even before you plant it. Massive pods. It’s very popular for children’s gardens, and pollinator friendly.

Yellow Indian Woman Beans, also called Buckeye Beans now, were brought to the US from Sweden and grown in the harsh climate of Montana by the Indigenous people. They are bush beans.

Jacob’s Cattle Beans. Bush plant.

Rockwell Bean. This bean is named after the late 1800s pioneer Elisha Rockwell, who came to Whidbey Island and farmed in the now-Ebey Preserve. It’s a smaller bean and doesn’t grow as tall as some, making it perfect for the PNW region. It is a bush bean, but needs to have something to trellis on.

Orca Bean. Also known as the Calypso bean. It is a bush bean, with 4 to 5 beans per pod.