Thursday, 22 October 2009

runner beans, free food, seeds, harvesting

Well, it's that time of year when things start to slow down in the garden. Although the days may still become warm and sultry, it's decidedly cooler in the evenings, and the plants are beginning to shut themselves down for the winter. Some will die down completely, others will slumber gently until the gentle warmth of Spring calls them forth again.

My runner beans are still flowering their little socks off, or would if they possessed any! At the same time, they are creating the seeds for me to harvest, and dry out, ready for planting again in the Spring. Free food :)

I always leave one plant, at least, to grow long, plump beans, which I don't harvest to eat. I allow them to stay on the plant until they have dried out. They don't look particularly attractive when they've turned papery in texture, and brownish in colour, but they contain that precious cargo of next year's seeds. For that alone, they could be considered beautiful. They have served their purpose, and that's a wonderful thing.

The photos show the pods agains the sunlight. If you look closely, you can see the shape of the beans within the drying pod, as the light can pass through the thinning shell of the pod, leaving the shadowy outline of the beans. Harvest when brown and dry.

The last shows the dried out shell, and some of the hidden treasure from within, revealed just for you! And aren't the beans pretty? Such attractive markings, and glorious colours. Bright pinks are fashionable just now - I wonder what a dress would look like created from fabric patterned like the beans. Probably quite attractive, I'd say. But then, I'm biased.

I store my harvested beans in an envelope, on which I write the variety and the date - I used to think I'd remember, but nowadays I know I won't, so I write it down. If I have plenty, I share them with family and friends who also appreciate organic, fresh food.


  1. Hi, Christine!

    I wanted to congratulate you--I'm giving you the One-Minute Writer of the Day award for your response to the 10/9 prompt! I'm behind on naming winners and wanted to make sure you didn't miss it. Congrats!

    C. Beth
    The One-Minute Writer

  2. Hi,

    I found this online. It has great pictures. I am employed by Utah State University in the area of public horticulture education. Currently, I am participating as an author in a fact sheet about harvesting and storing vegetable seed from the home garden. I was wondering if I could possibly use a couple of the images of the beans drying on the vine in the fact sheet. The easiest way to contact me is at Thanks again for your consideration.

  3. I'm happy for my words and/or pictures to be used provided I am cited as author/photographer and copyright owner.


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