Tag Archives: beans

Save the Beans

The Snarky Gardener is managing his herd of Jacob’s Cattle beans.
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Jacob’s Cattle beans before the herd was split up

Saving bean seed is really easy. Allow your bean plants with with beans still attached to turn yellow and die off. Collect the seed pods. Open up the pods and there are your seeds. You will want to let these dry out completely before putting them in an airtight container (I use old vitamin bottles though glass jars will work also). Make sure to keep an eye on them over the winter as they could mold up if there was any moisture in them.

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After I do my “shelling”, I like to divide them up based how they look. Some will be deformed or have some flaw that makes them less than perfect. These will be put into the “eat me” pile. Jacob’s Cattle beans are specifically “dry” beans (think kidney or black beans), but I do eat some green.

So, you might be asking “Why does the Snarky Gardener bother with saving bean seed when it’s so inexpensive to buy at the store or online?” In a word, adaptation. These plants grew up in my garden with it’s specific conditions. Plus beans make the soil better, especially through their nitrogen fixing nodules.

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Abundance

The Snarky Gardener writes an abundance of words about abundance.  Imagine that.
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Too many snow peas? I think not.

To the Snarky Gardener, abundance means having plenty (even too much) of a thing. Often people are concerned with what they can’t grow or what’s not doing well because of pests, lack of sunlight, or poor soil. But if you take this “problem” and turn it on its head with abundance, your mindset totally changes. The question, “What can I grow a boat load of?”, offers up all kinds of possibilities. I believe food growers should build upon their successes, with new and experimental plants taking only a small amount of total resources, and removal of those that produce poorly. At Snarky Acres, that means growing more sunchokes, turnips, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, peas, kale, garlic, onions, greens, zucchini, corn, Swiss chard, comfrey, and herbs (especially perennials like mint, lemon balm, oregano, and sage). It also means growing less (or no) broccoli, watermelon, peppers, eggplant, spinach, and beets. It’s hard to stop trying with those fruits and vegetables we love to eat, but not everything grows well everywhere, even in the same relative climate.

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Too much mint or not enough mojitos?
How to create abundance:

1. Grow a lot more of what grows well.
2. Look for alternative resources (weeds, trees, native species)
3. Create environments where abundance happens naturally (perennials and self-seeding plants)
4. Save seeds, plant extra starts (tomatoes, etc), and start new plants from cuttings.
5. Grow in non-optimal spaces (shade, poor soil)
6. “Invasive” also means “Abundance”

How to utilize abundance:

1. Find trading partners (food swaps, seed swaps, time banks, neighborhood barter systems)
2. Learn to preserve (canning, freezing, drying)
3. Find other uses (dynamic accumulators, medicinal)
4. Learn to create products from your produce (extracts, salves, pesto)

Cool (Black Turtle) Beans

Save money by buying your Black Turtle bean seeds at the grocery store.

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The Snarky Gardener was perusing the local health food store when a thought occurred to him, “Those organic beans and peas would work well as seed”.  A little research revealed that Black Turtle beans are a bush heirloom variety that goes back into the 1700’s (and probably much earlier).  I grew Jacob’s Cattle beans last year but wanted to add another dry bean to my collection.  The nice part about buying them at the store is that they are $1.99 a pound versus a lot more from seed companies (including shipping, etc).  And you can eat any you don’t plant.  The down side is that you won’t know exactly what sub-variety of Black Turtle beans you have nor will you know how old the seed is, but I don’t think it matters if they grow well and taste good.

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The Snarky Gardener is now selling seeds online

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Snarky Orange cherry tomatoes available online

Heirloom and non-GMO seeds are now available for purchase with free shipping.

All have been raised and saved at Snarky Acres.

Click here to order today!

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Seven Top Turnips – Heirloom grown just for their tops, though the Snarky Gardener has used the roots in soups and stocks.
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Tendergreen – Heirloom determinate bush beans ready in 60 days or less. Plant several times in a season to get constant pickings through the summer.
 

Seed Saving 2013

With the start of fall comes my seed saving efforts.  With a bounty of seeds, I’ve been considering setting up some type of Internet-based sales site, but that might have to wait until late in 2014.  For now, I’m going to limit my myself to trading, swapping, and time credits from the Kent Community TimeBank.

Tomatoes:

Sylvia’s Amish Low Acid Red

Chocolate Cherry

Snarky Orange Cherry
F3 of Sun Gold (F1)

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Tomato Seed Saving technique
Peppers:

Jalapeno (from my AeroGarden)

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Beans:

Jacob’s Cattle Dry

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Rattlesnake Pole – both green and dry

I grew Rattlesnake beans up my corn and my tomato cages this year.

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Rattlesnake Pole beans on my corn – 7/17/2013
Tendergreen Bush – green

Bean: Tendergreen Improved image

Mustard:

Ho-Mi Z (Dragon Tongue)

Turnips:

Seven Top

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Seven Top Turnips going to seed

Lettuce:

Amish Deer Tongue

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Amish Deer Tongue lettuce going to seed.