A Seed Saver's Garden

Pulsegleaner

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That's interesting @Pulsegleaner, I didn't know Peru was so rich in fava diversity. One can only conclude then that favas do better than P. vulgaris there I guess? I've always been a little on the fence about favas; I haven't had too much trouble with heat negatively affecting my plants (they can get a bit wilty at the height of the day, but spring back to normal in a few hours) I find productivity per square foot very low. That will always be a limiter for me. That, and the fact they cross so readily. I will say though that last summer's fingerprint fava experiment demosntrated that there is quite a margin for heat tolerance in the species, and those in particular are at the upper end of tolerance for sure. I'm goign to try and find space for some Midnight Black favas, the little ones, and see if that small size will also result in significant differences in growing behaviour.

Personally, I feel skeptical about the ancient origins of various bean species. Jack and the Beanstalk is a very old European tale, 5,000 years old, and couldn't possibly be about 3 or 4 foot tall fava plants. I'm sure it's P. vugaris in that story.
Actually, they both have problems. P. Vulgaris wouldn't be known in Europe until it was brought from the new world. And while Vulgaris can get to be very long in it's vining form, it doesn't get that tall without a support. It's clear that Jack's beanstalk doesn't need one (how'd he put one on in any case) and, if it was a bush type bean, it'd knock over his house as well with the branches. A fava, which does grow more or less upright on its own, just seems to fit better.

That being said, I'm not sure Jack and the Beanstalk is that old of a story. The first record is only from something like the 1700's, when it was still the first part of "Jack the Giant Killer". What kind of bean was intended would be a bit questionable.

As for how well they do, it's a cool weather adapted plant, and many parts of the Andes basically have cool weather year round. I wouldn't say it does better that P. vulgaris any more than I'd say it does better than P. lunatus; it's just one more option. Remember, vulgaris itself was domesticated two times, and one of those times was IN the Andes (that's why there is a Mesoamerican bean diversity pool and an Andean bean diversity pool, and they sometimes have problems crossing. )
 

heirloomgal

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That being said, I'm not sure Jack and the Beanstalk is that old of a story. The first record is only from something like the 1700's, when it was still the first part of "Jack the Giant Killer". What kind of bean was intended would be a bit questionable.
Actually, Jack and the Bean Stalk is so old that it was originally told in Proto-European language that is now extinct. It is one of the oldest tales in human history. I believe historically it is connected to a group of stories known as The Boy Who Stole The Ogre's Treasure. Beauty and the Beast, and Rumpelstilskin are also both at least 4,000 years old. The Smith and the Devil I think is the oldest, dating to 6,000 years though that one hasn't the notoriety of the others. The Grimm's only collected and put to paper stories that had been told for thousands of years - they weren't authors. They were worried that the forthcoming changes in society would erase these cultural treasures that had existed for several millenia (boy how right they were on that.)


I guess it's the height that compels me to believe it was the common bean he climbed, as favas are so short, seldom more than 3- 4 feet, and pole beans get so tall they look like they are reaching into the clouds. So much like the Golden Book illustration of Jack and the Beanstalk when I was a child. I guess we'll never know where P. vulgaris comes from, but I think it was in Europe thousands of years before the current record would indicate.
 

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I guess it's the height that compels me to believe it was the common bean he climbed, as favas are so short, seldom more than 3- 4 feet, and pole beans get so tall they look like they are reaching into the clouds. So much like the Golden Book illustration of Jack and the Beanstalk when I was a child. I guess we'll never know where P. vulgaris comes from, but I think it was in Europe thousands of years before the current record would indicate.
I had thought that the beans in that story were runner beans,; but if the tale is that old, those were probably unknown & undiscovered at that time. Ditto for common pole beans, which also originated in the Americas.
 

Pulsegleaner

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I had thought that the beans in that story were runner beans,; but if the tale is that old, those were probably unknown & undiscovered at that time. Ditto for common pole beans, which also originated in the Americas.
That's sort of what I am getting at, as far as anyone can tell, no one in Europe saw a P. Vulgaris until the Spanish brought them from the Americas. The STORY Jack and the Beanstalk is based on may be 5,000 years old, but that doesn't mean the motif of getting there via climbing a beanstalk is. Cinderella goes back to pre-imperial China, but the slipper being glass doesn't come in until you get to Perrault, (before that, they are gold, silver, or fur). To say that the base tale is so old proves they had common beans back then would, in my opinion be like saying that, since the Irish were telling the tale of Stingy Jack and carving Jack O' Lanterns for centuries proves they had pumpkins for centuries before they came from the new world. They didn't (they used turnips, the pumpkins didn't show up until the immigrants got to America.

There are comparatively few crops that have well determined ancient origins in both the Old AND New Worlds. About the only two I can think of are cotton (and even then, it's two different species of cotton, Indian is different from New World,) and Bottle Gourd (and they think that's just because a ripe bottle gourd can float, and one managed to make its way across the Atlantic before breaking open.

As for other Old World legume options, you have peas, yes, also Grass Peas, Lentils, several other vetches and vetchlings, and so on.
 

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I think I may need to get out a mister. There's a piece of seed coat still stuck girdling one of the seedlings (and one I only have one example of) and, now that it is beginning to try and separate its leaves, I'm worried that the dried out coat may be too hard for the pressure to overcome and it will kill the leaves. I theoretically CAN try and get it off with an Exacto knife blade, but I'd prefer not to, the seedling is very small and very delicate, and I'm afraid I'll break it if I handle it too much. And it's on the BACK of the leaves, so I can't just gently pull it off the tip.
 

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I think I may need to get out a mister. There's a piece of seed coat still stuck girdling one of the seedlings (and one I only have one example of) and, now that it is beginning to try and separate its leaves, I'm worried that the dried out coat may be too hard for the pressure to overcome and it will kill the leaves. I theoretically CAN try and get it off with an Exacto knife blade, but I'd prefer not to, the seedling is very small and very delicate, and I'm afraid I'll break it if I handle it too much. And it's on the BACK of the leaves, so I can't just gently pull it off the tip.
You could try a water dropper too @Pulsegleaner, it is a little less humidity inducing than the mister on a delicate seedling, which I found was always a problem with regularly misting to soften it. I think you made a wise choice not to attempt surgery; every single time I've tried to gently, manually release a seed helmet from a small sprout it ends in butchery. And regret.
 

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Exhausting couple of days but I finally got my all my seeds in a better state of organization using shallow totes that are not all in odd shapes, as my last system was, for the tomatoes. It was all alphabeticalized , but the letters were a bit scattered - there are so many tomatoes that start with G, T, B and S. So I had all those letters separated out which was awkward and had me always looking all over the place for stuff. Feels great to fix that tomato system error. A-Z now and simple set up: 4 totes all matching and stackable. I made the mistake of filing this years tom seeds into large long form envelopes then into large ziplocs so now those won't fit with all the others - bit of a problem there, not sure what I was thinking doing that, but not much I can do short of unpacking all those envelopes and repacking them which I'm not doing. So 2023 tomatoes will be set aside in a different box and I go back to small envelopes next year. Sheesh it's a lot of seeds and I can't help wonder if I'm a little nuts.

It occurs to me now at this stage of the seed saving process that putting sllightly more thought into my storing system may have been a good idea. Now I'm up to my neck and it's not as easy to maneuver with set ups. I guess things built up quickly. I really shot a cannon through my bean harvest this year because I only had so many jars (from tomato sauce, salsa, passatta etc. stuff we ate) and matched the bean volume per variety to the jar sizes. Very, very, very bad idea for storage purposes. Now I have all sizes of jars in each shallow box, all the jars are numbered but can't be placed in perfect ordered rows as I prefer. Can't stack 'em either, and they're not in perfect numerical order in the boxes because of the mismatched jar shapes. I created quite a disaster with the beans. Now I'm running out of floor room in the basement! I never really liked the idea of stacking for the bean jars because it stays so nice and cool on the floor, but spacewise I have no choice at this point but to start going up a bit.

I will need to make a project of this seed storage situation. Everything else has always been the priority, and the putting away at season's end the last consideration!
 

digitS'

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seed coat
I will soon be faced with these problems. Tweezers are helpful only at times. Needle-nose pliers work better but the 2 pairs I have are a little large for the task. If the seed coat is only at the very tip of the cotyledons, removal efforts usually have successful results.

The eye dropper idea sounds like a good one even if it turns out to be only a first step.

At one time, we had a herd of 30 (!) first-calf heifers. We pulled every one of those calves except 2. One lived, the other died after being born in the middle of the night. A little more aggressive job than tweez ing ...

;) Steve
 

Zeedman

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As for other Old World legume options, you have peas, yes, also Grass Peas, Lentils, several other vetches and vetchlings, and so on.
Perhaps the Vignas too? I was thinking about the Asian yardlong beans, and wondering not only how long they have been cultivated (I've never been able to determine that) but whether those beans ever traveled the Silk Road. Cowpeas from Africa certainly could have found their way in from the South. I doubt though that either of those would have done well enough in Europe to be widely cultivated there.
I will soon be faced with these problems. Tweezers are helpful only at times. Needle-nose pliers work better but the 2 pairs I have are a little large for the task. If the seed coat is only at the very tip of the cotyledons, removal efforts usually have successful results.

The eye dropper idea sounds like a good one even if it turns out to be only a first step.
With the large number of transplants I start every year, clinging seed coats are a frequent issue. Tomatoes. okra, and water spinach are the worst offenders. I sometimes use a mist sprayer; but since the seed coats often need several applications per day to loosen the expanding leaves, this runs the risk of promoting mold or mildew... so I only do that outdoors. An eye dropper works well for targeting only a few seed coats.

For larger numbers of "helmets", my preferred method is to use a drinking straw, plunged into a tall drinking glass of purified water. By holding my finger over the top end, I can hold & then gradually release the water in the straw as droplets. With practice, you can target large numbers of helmets quickly, with no wet soil or overspray. A used eye drop bottle would probably work well too.

Most seed coats soften after 10-15 minutes of soaking, and can be gently pulled off then. But for the most stubborn seed coats & for small seeds, where attempting to pull off the seed coat can damage the seedling, I try to just assist the natural process. Using either my finger tips or a small tweezers, I gently compress the seed coat until I either see more green emerge, or until the seed coat cracks. This may take several applications (preferably all on the same day) and the seed coat should be kept moist to lubricate the emerging leaves. The seedling is usually able to push off (or through) the seed coat with this help.
 
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