A Seed Saver's Garden

Zeedman

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Sort of a lull in long bean production. Not a lot of pods developing now, but plants in both pots are getting new flowers, so a second flush is possible. There are a fair number of developing pods on the ones in the corn patch, but most seem to be staying thin, which indicates they probably don't have good seed in them (I've been getting a fair number of mature pods on both groups that have no mature seeds when opened, I didn't know long beans could do that.)
Yardlong beans need a lot of water when flowering, to get good pod fill. Not sure if pollinator activity is a factor, but I never see bees on the flowers - only wasps, and those are interested in the extra-floral nectaries on the stem below the flowers. Adequate water also reduces hollow pod, at least until the plants reach their pod load.
 

Pulsegleaner

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Yardlong beans need a lot of water when flowering, to get good pod fill. Not sure if pollinator activity is a factor, but I never see bees on the flowers - only wasps, and those are interested in the extra-floral nectaries on the stem below the flowers. Adequate water also reduces hollow pod, at least until the plants reach their pod load.
Well, that would explain why the number of seeds keeps dropping with every time I harvest. We're still getting rain a lot, but nowhere near the near constant we did a month ago, plus the much higher heat is probably drying everything out a lot faster. And it would explain why everything in the corn patch looks empty.
 

heirloomgal

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No usable seeds in the six most recent cucumbers either; do I have to let them ROT on the vine before any of the seed is good?
My (limited) experience with cucumber seed saving is that in order to get full sized mature seeds, the cucumbers have to be WAY passed the point of eating, right into a full on brown/orange bloat. It probably happens sometimes that the vines die down before the cucumbers have fully developed their seeds, especially once the cool nights set in.
 

Pulsegleaner

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Finally got to take the top off of the sunflower, but no seeds. Maybe the new flower that sprouted from the side will do better.

I now have two pods on the horse gram in the back, but neither is anything close to ripe, nor is the one on the side, it looks like the pods reach full size quickly, but then just sort of stay like that for a long time.

Compared to the mung pods, the one I think is an urd is HUGE (as well as a lot hairier)

My (limited) experience with cucumber seed saving is that in order to get full sized mature seeds, the cucumbers have to be WAY passed the point of eating, right into a full on brown/orange bloat. It probably happens sometimes that the vines die down before the cucumbers have fully developed their seeds, especially once the cool nights set in.
Well, as I said, that's getting increasingly hard to pull off. There one that has reached the yellow sphere stage, but all of the rest are still at the early blocky stage where the flower scar takes up the whole end (these cukes have a VERY big flower scar usually, when they are ready, there's a ring on the bottom, not a point.) and are still pure green/white (ironically, some of those are now BIGGER than the yellow one, so, if they DO make it all the way, they'll probably be full tennis ball sized.) I can't guess which vines will make it, since, at ground level, they ALL look sort of dead (though most are probably just really cracked and suberized by now, dead vines wouldn't keep churning out flowers.)

I really need to get out there and get the dead bean vines out to give the living ones more space, but I need to get a dry day to do that, since they are now so intertangled that the only way I think I can safely pull that off is to bring out a towel, place it on the ground, sit on it, and clip the dead stuff off segment by segment with scissors; pulling on it will probably damage the living stuff. I want to get the dead stuff gone before it starts rotting and attracts mold that could transfer to the living stuff.

The long beans are now sort of a contest between me and the ants who are biting into the pods and eating out the seeds long before they are ready. Next year, I think I had better place them where they will all be so high off the ground that NOTHING can reach the pods (the ants seem to rely on the tips of the pods hitting either the ground of the planting pot or the surface of the patio to get on.)
 

flowerbug

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No usable seeds in the six most recent cucumbers either; do I have to let them ROT on the vine before any of the seed is good? If I do, I'm on the verge of being SOL, at this point there's only one left that has gotten to even the yellow stage, and the vines are dying back faster than new flowers or fruits can be produced.

if my experience of cucumbers is applicable to yours perhaps that is ok because i took these huge yellow cucumbers and tossed them under the lilac tree thinking some creatures would eat them through the fall or winter or they'd rot and become fertilizer. the next spring almost all of them were laying there like nothing at all had happened to them all fall and winter and i had to poke holes into them to get any action going on at all...

...
(I've been getting a fair number of mature pods on both groups that have no mature seeds when opened, I didn't know long beans could do that.)

alas, yes, that can happen, or malformed beans (some which may still be viable but you won't know until you try to grow them again).
 

Zeedman

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The long beans are now sort of a contest between me and the ants who are biting into the pods and eating out the seeds long before they are ready. Next year, I think I had better place them where they will all be so high off the ground that NOTHING can reach the pods (the ants seem to rely on the tips of the pods hitting either the ground of the planting pot or the surface of the patio to get on.)
That sounds like mice. They will chew the seeds out of any pods that touch the ground, or are within easy reach. I'm getting a little of that now, on low-hanging pods. But if I just drape the pods over the first support (which for me is the horizontal rebar, or the first horizontal string on the trellis) to get them about 6" above the ground, the pods are usually safe.

If pods further up are getting opened, the culprits could be birds or rats... but they usually leave broken or empty pods on the ground. Like they just did to my soybeans :mad: (which I will post on the bean thread).
 

heirloomgal

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Question for the corn growers.

I decided to pick off the dry looking cobs with brown husks today seeing as a rain was imminent. Some of the cobs were growing out of the husks and allowed me to see that the kernels are indeed quite hard (I'm growing 'Rootbeer Popcorn'). Probably not 100% dry since there is some green left in the stalks, but close. What is the rule of thumb for determining it's okay to finish drying indoors, or to pluck from the stalks? They are well beyond any milk stage, it's just a matter of fully hardening at this point. I went around peeling back dried 'corn hair' to see what some of the cobs looked like, simply couldn't resist the curiosity. I must say, the color is pretty dazzling - some of them look like chocolate corn.

A few last containers of sauce tomatoes to blend & ferment and the tomato seed saving is complete for this year. Thank goodness!

Went out and pulled some of the dried soybean plants today - Hoseki and Tankuro. The Musan soybeans are very close to dry and, from the looks of it, is wonderfully fecund. Glad I tried that variety. Cha Kura and Ugra Saja are both totally dried and need to be shelled. Black Panther still pretty green but the pods are filling out really well, so I've got more hope than I had a few weeks ago. No mice!

Almost all the dried peas are harvested, but those shelling jobs are not something I look forward to since some of those vines had powdery mildew and I don't like to breathe that in, nor like the feel of that on the hands. I'll sit on that for a bit.
 
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heirloomgal

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First few cobs
E7FE4ED7-01C2-42AC-B3E3-DEDC719260EE.jpeg
0162F843-CC79-48C7-97E4-EC2A0B1231F2.jpeg
 

Pulsegleaner

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Question for the corn growers.

I decided to pick off the dry looking cobs with brown husks today seeing as a rain was imminent. Some of the cobs were growing out of the husks and allowed me to see that the kernels are indeed quite hard (I'm growing 'Rootbeer Popcorn'). Probably not 100% dry since there is some green left in the stalks, but close. What is the rule of thumb for determining it's okay to finish drying indoors, or to pluck from the stalks? They are well beyond any milk stage, it's just a matter of fully hardening at this point. I went around peeling back dried 'corn hair' to see what some of the cobs looked like, simply couldn't resist the curiosity. I must say, the color is pretty dazzling - some of them look like chocolate corn.
In my experience, if the husks have gotten to the point where they feel sort of thin and tissue-y, you can harves the ears and let them finish off inside. If you are planning to hand your corn (say, as a decoration) this is actually a little better than letting it dry down all the way, since the shucks will still be moist enough to bend backwards without breaking off, and you won't need a spray bottle to re-soften them) .

You just have to remember two things, 1. If you are drying them on a surface, turn them every now and again to get all sides to dry evenly and 2. Do NOT place them under a strong light or heat source, that makes them dry TOO fast and they will crack.
 

heirloomgal

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In my experience, if the husks have gotten to the point where they feel sort of thin and tissue-y, you can harves the ears and let them finish off inside. If you are planning to hand your corn (say, as a decoration) this is actually a little better than letting it dry down all the way, since the shucks will still be moist enough to bend backwards without breaking off, and you won't need a spray bottle to re-soften them) .

You just have to remember two things, 1. If you are drying them on a surface, turn them every now and again to get all sides to dry evenly and 2. Do NOT place them under a strong light or heat source, that makes them dry TOO fast and they will crack.
Thanks so much @Pulsegleaner! Such great info!
 
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