2023 Little Easy Bean Network - Beans Beyond The Colors Of A Rainbow

heirloomgal

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I tried my best to capture the gorgeousness of these big ol' seeds; my device struggles with both dark seeds and certain fabrics bounce the light differently than others (and in some cases absorp up all the light and drain the photo). If I had spent more time fussing I could have gotten some better pictures but I was pressed for time. I'm just gonna do a big photo dump and hope some of these evoke the bean in the flesh.

From farther away, looks much smaller than it is
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A bit closer - river pebbles!
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I put Bluejay's 'Passage to India' beside to show how similar they look, and how different the sizes are! If they were both P.vulgaris you'd think they're related!
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Along with the Tekomari runner beans, he sent his Ugandan Bantu pole beans and Horst pole beans as well. I was struck by how much Horst looks like Ram's Horn, and it's a late variety just like Ram's. He says this bean is very similar to a bean that the Mennonites (who settled the area in the early 1800's) in the Waterloo region of Ontario grow.

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Zeedman

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There is hope! I grew Sunset runner last season from 2017 seed. 100% germination.

[and it was not refrigerated seed or anything either]
I concur. My seed saving philosophy has been to grow different varieties in a 5-year rotation... and given that 'life happens', that often gets stretched out to 7-8 years. All of the beans, adzuki, cowpeas, and soybeans I grew last year were 5-7 years old, and even having been stored at room temperature (in freezer bags), most still had good to very good germination. Started in pots & given a little TLC, I have yet to completely lose any Phaseolus or Vigna bean, even after 8-10 years of storage.

Soybeans are more temperamental though. Germination for some varieties (mostly edamame types) really drops off after 6-7 years (and in my experience is unreliable after 5). Sadly, I've lost a few. :( I'm getting ready to germination test all of my soybeans again, and anticipate having to use rescue protocols for at least a few varieties every year now, as my collection ages. The good news is that (most of) the old seed seems to respond well to being started in pots with TLC; both of the 2022 rescues (Bei 77-6177 & Sapporo Midori) had 0% germination in-ground in 2021, but had 40-50% germination in pots.
 

flowerbug

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... Sadly, I've lost a few. :( I'm getting ready to germination test all of my soybeans again, and anticipate having to use rescue protocols for at least a few varieties every year now, as my collection ages. The good news is that (most of) the old seed seems to respond well to being started in pots with TLC; both of the 2022 rescues (Bei 77-6177 & Sapporo Midori) had 0% germination in-ground in 2021, but had 40-50% germination in pots.

please elaborate on the rescue protocols... :)
 

Zeedman

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I tried my best to capture the gorgeousness of these big ol' seeds; my device struggles with both dark seeds and certain fabrics bounce the light differently than others (and in some cases absorp up all the light and drain the photo). If I had spent more time fussing I could have gotten some better pictures but I was pressed for time. I'm just gonna do a big photo dump and hope some of these evoke the bean in the flesh.

From farther away, looks much smaller than it is
20230131_141630.jpg


A bit closer - river pebbles!
20230131_141855.jpg


I put Bluejay's 'Passage to India' beside to show how similar they look, and how different the sizes are! If they were both P.vulgaris you'd think they're related!
20230131_142439.jpg
Those look better than mine! I'm really borderline for runner beans, they often don't fill out for me as well as they do in cooler climates. But I'm glad I live in a "Goldilocks zone" where I am just cool enough to succeed with runner beans, and just warm enough to succeed with limas. The jury is still out on favas, maybe I'll find out this year. :fl
 
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nune

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If anyone is interested, Sistah Seeds, a very new seed company (their catalog just launched today) that specializes in heirloom seeds from the Black diaspora, has a few beans and bean relatives with interesting history available.
Their catalog is very limited right now, but it's worth taking a look.
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Zeedman

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please elaborate on the rescue protocols... :)
The "rescue protocol" is creating ideal conditions for germination. For most beans, that just involves planting in pots with sterile seed starter, then bottom-soaking the pots over-night in a sterile low-N solution. That solution could be a teaspoon of liquid plant food per gallon (I sometimes use DW's liquid houseplant food) or an organic equivalent. If using an organic fertilizer, unless it is labeled as sterile, it is best to boil & then cool the solution. After soaking over-night, I pour off any excess liquid (saving that for any additional trays) then place the tray(s) in a lighted, climate-controlled chamber that I constructed from a folding greenhouse, maintained at 80 degrees F. Although this method will improve germination for most garden vegetables, beans really respond to it. A yardlong bean that once gave me 0% germination in ground, gave me close to 60% using the rescue protocols... and that was from shrunken, immature seed.

For seeds that have tested as 5% or less germination, I pre-sprout a large number of seeds (hundreds) in a plate or tray, watch closely for sprouting, then immediately plant any which sprout in sterile soil-less mix as per the above procedures. For such mass pre-soakings, it is vital to watch for & remove any signs of mold, and remove those before they can contaminate the entire seed lot. Both of the rescue soybeans last year had 0% germination in-ground (twice!) but I was able to salvage 16-20 good seeds of each using mass sprouting. It really should have been twice that; but despite my best efforts, mold destroyed about half of the sprouting seeds. As an organic gardener, I prefer to use chemicals only as a last resort... but in this case, it was necessary to use a fungicide to prevent total loss of an irreplaceable variety. :(
 
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