2022 Little Easy Bean Network - We Are Beans Without Borders

Zeedman

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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?
Plant as many of the desired cross as possible... the more plants, the greater likelihood of getting at least one with the desired characteristics. And if you can bag at least one flower cluster from each plant, it may accelerate the process of selection. Otherwise, with bees potentially doing new crosses each year, you are chasing a moving target. If you blossom bag & at harvest find a plant that matches what you are looking for, use that seed for the next generation. Blossom bagging beans is admittedly a PITA, but it can potentially save years in the selection process.
 

Zeedman

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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).

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.
Population bottleneck is a very minor consideration for beans, which don't exhibit inbreeding depression (although it may make the variety less adaptable). All (or most?) of the "Bosnian Pole" currently being exchanged is descended from a single surviving plant, and it is very high yielding.

If you only have a few plants, then saving the first few pods per plant is a good strategy to preserve most of whatever genetic diversity is present. That works better for pole beans though, where the ripening pods are a smaller ratio of the total pod set. For bush snap beans, if I intended to get both snaps & dry seed, I would use more plants than I would for pole, and only allow 2-3 pods per plant to mature. That might slightly reduce production, but not enough to drive the plants into senescence.

Alternatively, if your growing season is long enough, you could harvest snaps for a week or two, then let the rest go to seed. While that is contrary to the conventional wisdom of saving the earliest, it is one way to have your bean cake & eat it too. For bush beans, you could also succession plant several small rows rather than one large one, and let the first row go for seed.

I either plant a separate row for seed, or leave a portion of a long row untouched. There are advantages to this strategy, in lessening the chances of crossed seed. If you plant 3 rows of bush beans & save only from the middle of the center row, or from the middle of a long row of pole beans, those seeds are less likely to have been crossed.
 

Bluejay77

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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?
I chose these numbers of seed because depending on which plot I'm growing the bush and pole beans. I plant so many varieties per row length and it kind of works out to about that many seeds I plant. You can pick any arbitrary number you like. I don't think there is any particular formula for doing something like this. When believe I got a bean stablized then all the seed that was produced in previous generations of grow outs can now become part of my soup bean cannisters.
 

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And if you can bag at least one flower cluster from each plant, it may accelerate the process of selection
What kind of bags and what might be the source of those bags. If you bagged blossoms how would you know you got to them early enough before the bees did. I don't like handling wet plants from dew. I usually don't even start working among growing plants until about 10:30 to 11 in the morning.
 
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flowerbug

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What kind of bags and what might be the source of those bags. If you bagged blossoms how would you know you got to them early enough before the bees did. I don't like handling wet plants from dew. I usually don't even start working among growing plants until about 10:30 to 11 in the morning.

i've never been a morning person so i'm pretty much the same way. while i do try to get outside during Japanese Beetle season to pick off some of the bugs as early as i can get going some days that just doesn't happen as i'd like. the earlier to get going though means it is much easier to catch them before they can fly off.
 

meadow

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What kind of bags and what might be the source of those bags. If you bagged blossoms how would you know you got to them early enough before the bees did. I don't like handling wet plants from dew. I usually don't even start working among growing plants until about 10:30 to 11 in the morning.
@aftermidnight recommended the organza party favor bags like the one that was in my Network return to you. We got ours from Amazon (xunshun store, sent by Amazon), but uline has them too.
 

Zeedman

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What kind of bags and what might be the source of those bags. If you bagged blossoms how would you know you got to them early enough before the bees did. I don't like handling wet plants from dew. I usually don't even start working among growing plants until about 10:30 to 11 in the morning.
Yes, the organza bags work if the racemes are long enough (and sturdy enough) to use them. For shorter racemes (or even single blossoms) a piece of floating row cover can be wrapped around the flower & stem, and tied off. Blossom bagging (for anything) is best done late in the day, when plants are dry & the buds which will open the next day can be easily identified. With the pumpkins, it was necessary to hand pollinate the next morning & re-close the female flower. With bagged bean flowers, no hand pollination is necessary... but the bags can be removed when pods have begun to form. At that time, pinch off any remaining flowers, and mark that flower cluster with string, to identify it at harvest time.
 

meadow

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and mark that flower cluster with string

Acrylic yarn works well for this, as the color is eye-catching and it holds up well in the garden. It can be quite inexpensive or even free at senior centers (sometimes they get so much from knitters destashing their yarn that it is hard to find takers, especially for unpopular colors), thrift stores, and sales at big box crafting stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.
 

flowerbug

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Acrylic yarn works well for this, as the color is eye-catching and it holds up well in the garden. It can be quite inexpensive or even free at senior centers (sometimes they get so much from knitters destashing their yarn that it is hard to find takers, especially for unpopular colors), thrift stores, and sales at big box crafting stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc.

we've had birds swipe yarn used to tie things. years later i may find bits of it used in nests that have fallen out of trees.
 
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