2022 Little Easy Bean Network - We Are Beans Without Borders

Zeedman

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how many beans do you think you've cleaned up over the years?
From others, only a few. A couple runner beans, which actually surprised me in how easy they were to clean up. I've had to clean up a couple of my own saved beans too, when I detected a cross in the population... given the amount of isolation that I use, those crosses have been few. I have had 2 beans sent to me over the years that were so heavily crossed that I abandoned the entire crop to the bean pot. As i recall, Jeminez was one of those; out of 10 plants, no two were identical... I couldn't even determine which (if any) was what it was supposed to be. :eek: And all that seed was identical prior to planting.

I've only had 2 crosses that I thought might be worth stabilizing; one a nearly solid red large bean from BE#3, and a very high-yielding black-seeded version of Bosnian Pole that alone produced over a pound of seed !!! Both of those are strong pole beans. But since my emphasis is on preservation grow outs, and with my gardens now greatly reduced in size, I may never get around to them. I have stored seed for both in the freezer in case I or someone else might attempt to stabilize them in the future.
 
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Ridgerunner

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I don't think anyone has mentioned recently (and hopefully someone will speak to it), but a bean needs to breed true for something like 3 generations in order to be considered a stable variety.
By growing it for a certain number of generations you are giving any recessive genes hiding under a dominant gene at that gene pair a chance to pair up and reveal themselves. If you use the Punnett Squares, the odds of a recessive pairing up and revealing itself is 1 in 4 if a recessive is hiding in there. But that is just the odds. There is no guarantee that you will get exactly one plant with that recessive trait of you grow 4 seeds. You may get none, you could easily get two or more.

This assumes that every plant you are collecting from has both the dominant and recessive versions at that gene pair. If you are collecting from multiple plants in a pretty stable bean that won't happen, most plants probably do not have that recessive gene.

Two points from this. In the third generation you might want to grow a few extra plants to give those recessives a better chance to show up. I've done that a few times but this is mostly a do as I say, not as I do. Most times I don't do that.

This can also explain why a recessive might show up several generations late. They can stay hidden under the dominant genes for several generations. If that happened to me I'd probably consider it a new segregation, not knowing any better.
 

heirloomgal

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@Bluejay77 @Ridgerunner When you're trying to stabilize a bean, in any given year how many seeds would you plant of the seed ''variety''? Let's say one plant in a row of bushes doesn't come true, but you like it. How many would you plant from that single crossed plant? I have a pole cross I'd like to stabilize and wonder if planting my typical 4 seeds to a pole would be too few seeds to bother with?

I'm a little curious about, on average, how long it takes to stabilize something and what your odds have been at each attempt?
 

Blue-Jay

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@Bluejay77 @Ridgerunner When you're trying to stabilize a bean, in any given year how many seeds would you plant of the seed ''variety''? Let's say one plant in a row of bushes doesn't come true, but you like it. How many would you plant from that single crossed plant? I have a pole cross I'd like to stabilize and wonder if planting my typical 4 seeds to a pole would be too few seeds to bother with?

I'm a little curious about, on average, how long it takes to stabilize something and what your odds have been at each attempt?
When I'm trying to stablize a bush bean I plant about 15 seeds and Pole beans 12. Most beans that I've stablized it seems to take about 4 to 6 years. What my odds have been at each attempt. I wouldn't know how to calculate that.
 

meadow

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I'm curious how others manage seed-saving on their green bean varieties?

Maturing pods compromise production of green beans, but dedicating a small number of plants to seed production narrows the diversity (and running up against 'population bottlenecking' that flowerbug mentioned).

population bottlenecking is what selecting and only planting a few beans of a variety will accomplish but then that also can remove other genes so i'm ok with planting a lot more seeds and selecting from a larger population as long as the overall seeds and plant growth habits are within the right range.

You're eating Purple Dove as a snap bean? How do you go about deciding which will be used to save seed? Or is it a matter of saving seeds from pods that have accidentally gone too long?
 

Jack Holloway

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I'm curious how others manage seed-saving on their green bean varieties?

Maturing pods compromise production of green beans, but dedicating a small number of plants to seed production narrows the diversity (and running up against 'population bottlenecking' that flowerbug mentioned).
Good question @meadow I've also wondered this myself. Never found an answer.
 

flowerbug

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...
You're eating Purple Dove as a snap bean? How do you go about deciding which will be used to save seed? Or is it a matter of saving seeds from pods that have accidentally gone too long?

yes, we mostly eat them over any of the other beans i grow (mainly because they are very good for growing in our different types of garden soils, but also because they seem to survive about anything i throw at them including being eaten by Japanese Beetles) and we really like how tender they are, they're not a super thick bean to begin with so when they're ready they're less than a pencil in size and before the seeds have really begun to fill up.

they can also be harvested and cooked as shelly beans.

because i have so many seeds i plant as many as i possibly can (i use them to fill in any empty spots after i'm done planting the other beans too) along with all the other beans so that there is some spacing in time between the earliest ones and those that come later so i always have some fresh beans coming ready all season. the hard part for me is having time to pick so in the end i will get plenty of dry beans.

i don't even mind planting some now early enough that they might get damaged by frosts because the sooner i can have fresh beans the better. the past few years it has worked out great and the frosts didn't take them out completely.

as for selecting which plants, i pick almost all beans from every plant and leave perhaps a half dozen pods per plant to dry. since there might be more than one flowering i can get dry beans rather early and then some more later. so i get seeds from almost every plant i grow. i do this because i am scouting for PD out-crosses and so every plant i can get seeds from the better.

when the plants are growing and setting pods i'll cull out any that do not match what i am hoping for. so with a Purple Dove grow out for Purple Dove seeds if the plants start spinning off semi-runners, the wrong color flowers or the pods are the wrong color i will get them out of there. i only have culled one plant so far out of several thousand i've grown of PD (i expect more mayhem next year :) )...

next season i'll be growing some PD out-crosses, so i'll let them go to see what the seeds are like and also interested in what the plant habits, flower color and pods are like.
 

reedy

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I also plant very early, basically as soon as I can work the ground. I have plenty of seed too so if a frost takes them out, no big deal, I just plant some more. But if it doesn't then I have very early beans.

When saving seeds, I like to save the first and best, so I take the risk of production suffering a little and leave just 1/2 a dozen or so of the first ones on each of several plants. I grow mostly pole beans though and decline in production isn't really all that apparent. Plus, they keep making new ones even after those first few have dried down. I'm not sure how that would work with bush beans as they are more determinate in production.
 

Branching Out

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When I'm trying to stablize a bush bean I plant about 15 seeds and Pole beans 12. Most beans that I've stablized it seems to take about 4 to 6 years. What my odds have been at each attempt. I wouldn't know how to calculate that.
I am curious about why your strategy involves planting 15 bush bean seeds--and only 12 pole bean seeds. Is it because you are hoping to harvest a specific amount of seed, and as the pole beans are more prolific fewer plants would be required to produce the requisite number of seeds?
 

Ridgerunner

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@Bluejay77 @Ridgerunner When you're trying to stabilize a bean, in any given year how many seeds would you plant of the seed ''variety''?
I plant 5 climbing and 6 bush. Not because of any strategy as far as getting them to stabilize but that's what fits across my 4' wide raised beds. The pole beans get hopelessly tangled but the bush, semi-runners, and often half-runners can be harvested by plant if I need to.

I'm a little curious about, on average, how long it takes to stabilize something and what your odds have been at each attempt?
How to even answer this, it varies so much. I got 4 different packets of Will Bonsall cross-pollinated beans from Russ. I don't know the history of how they had been grown before. In two of the packets all the beans looked similar but the other two packets had beans that could easily be divided by appearance. The only parent bean I was able to find a photo of was Norridgewick and the beans I got looked nothing like that so they had to have been grown at least twice since cross-pollinating.

When I planted those I got 25 different segregations. None looked like the bean I planted though one of the WB #32's was close. I planted more than 25 beans so a few of the plants produced beans that looked like each other but for the most part each bean produced a distinctive look. My bean show that year (the 2016 network thread) was posts #427 through post #433. I apologize for the quality of the photos, they are pretty horrible.

I don't know how many of those I eventually planted (not necessarily the following year) but five of them were stable, four bush and a pole. I never did stabilize any of the others. I'm close on a very few but they need to be grown again to verify they have actually made it.

These copied below are from the 2021 bean show, post #1464. I'll copy them here. These are descendants of the WB #27 and have been through 5 generations. They have segregated each time. You can see the bean they grew from in the center of each photo and see the variation I got. I suspect there is some cross-pollination going on too. The TTA 2B2 looks suspiciously similar to a Miss T I can't get stabiized either.


Next up is TTA 2A. The TT's are also from the WB #27 packet so the parent bean is Dove Kidney. The TT is a segregation, everything after that is a new segregation. Very unstable. It's not just the bean color/pattern. Different bean plants had different colored flowers. I knew this one was not stabilizing even before I saw the beans. You can see the bean I planted in the middle. The quality of the beans I harvested was not great, I think they would look better if growing conditions had been better

TTA 2A Combined.jpg



Then a sister, TTA 2B. Same story but with this one I got 6 segregations instead of only 5.


TTA 2 B Combined.jpg


Some do stabilize, you never know when they will. But they can go a long time without stabilizing too.
 

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