How to Save Bean Seeds (and a Giveaway!)

 (Guest Post by Melissa K. Norris)

Our entire garden was planted with heirloom seeds this year. Heirloom seeds, sometimes referred to as heritage, are seeds exactly as God made them. They are untouched by science and man.

We already follow and practice organic gardening, but I didn’t want anything genetically modified growing on our land or going into my families bodies. We’ve always used heirloom Tarheel green beans. My grandparents brought it with them out to Washington state when they migrated here from North Carolina in the 1930’s.

I can’t eat any other green bean and neither can my kids. If we’re in a restaurant they think the green beans taste funny. So do I.

Practicing the homesteading/pioneer way of life, we try to be as efficient and frugal as possible. When raising heirloom crops, you can save the seed from year to year. Beans are a self-pollinating plant. You don’t have to worry about them cross-pollinating and mixing the strains. And unlike tomatoes, you don’t have to use the fermentation process.

We also grow a heirloom bean that I’ve always known as an October bean. They are a shelled bean, ready in October, and are excellent in chilis, soups, and refried. These are the beans we’ll be working with today.

To save your bean seed, wait until the beans are ripe. It doesn’t matter if they’re overripe. Shell your mature beans out. You can see in the picture below, the bean pod on the left is still green, which is fine for shelling and canning. The pod on the right is mature and better for bean saving.

On a shallow pan, preferably with a lip, lay a paper towel or absorband towel of you choice. Without allowing any of the beans to touch, spread them out. Keep them in a single layer and store somewhere dry for at least three to four weeks. In our wet area of the Pacific Northwest, we let them dry for up to two months. Check them often and if any beans are molding, throw them away.

When they have shriveled to almost half their size (as the bean on the left), darkened, and your finger nail doesn’t penetrate or scratch the surface, the seeds are ready to be stored for next year’s planting. Store them in a glass jar, plastic bag, or paper envelope in a cool dark area.

Be sure to mark your seed with the name and year. Heirloom seed will keep and be good for up to three or four years. Be sure to save twice as much as you think you’ll need. You always want to be prepared for replanting if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Or if you’re like me, to give away to friends and blog readers. (After last year’s success, I’ll be doing an annual giveaway of heirloom bean seed on my blog)

Planting tip: Always soak your bean seed the night before planting.

Canned October beans

October beans are wonderful canned. We use them as a soup bean with cornbread, refried (excellent with Jill’s homemade tortillas), and in any soup or chili recipe you have. When canning shelled beans, be sure to not pack all the way to the top and cover with plenty of water.

And… there’s a giveaway!

Melissa K. Norris Cover Design FINAL

Not only is Melissa a talented gardener, but she is also an author. And today she is generously giving away a copy of her eBook, Pioneering Today. An excerpt from the book’s website:

In Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, author Melissa K. Norris explains practical and easy methods to cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprint in your everyday busy life. You’ll learn how to:

*Decrease your grocery and energy bill

*Improve your family’s health by cooking from scratch and over 40 delicious recipes

*Grow and preserve your own food

*Reduce your time in the kitchen without sacrificing taste and nutrition

*Expand your view of God in your daily activities

**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. Congrats to the winner, Ruth M.!**

mknheadshotMelissa K. Norris found her own little house in the big woods, where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. Her books and articles are inspired by her family’s small herd of beef cattle, her amateur barrel racing days, and her forays into quilting and canning—without always reading the directions first?

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  1. says

    Thanks for the tips on saving heirloom beans. I had harvested mine but then left them out to dry inadvertently because we’ve been so busy with a house reno project. It’s good to know that I did the right thing, even if it wasn’t on purpose! Thanks for doing the giveaway.

  2. says

    I started researching saving our own seeds last year. Only problem, it was after we already planted many non heirloom seeds. It’s also when I learned the importance of heirloom seeds. :/

    Thank you for your blog as well as a chance to win this book!

    • says

      You’re welcome! When we first started gardening I planted the Tarheel green beans and October beans because they were what we’d always had and just bought regular seeds for the rest. It was only after research that I realized the importance of all heirloom and we switched with the rest of our seeds as well. I’m planning on doing some more in depth series on this a little closer to spring on my blog :)

  3. Raachelle Washington says

    Those beans look like the heirloom beans I planted last year called Dragon Toungue that I got from Bakers creek heirloom seed company! We used them green, canned them green, and then I let the rest of them grow and dry to save the seeds to plant this spring. Even ate them raw! Shared many with friends and even shared the seeds! Neat post, keep up the good work!

  4. kathy wright says

    I’d never heard to put them on something absorbent. So thanks. But, I do have a silly question. All green beans have a cook-able/savable seed right? Where as Kentucky Wonder produces one type of bean product say your October beans and String beans produce another. In effect all bean seed (pinto, black, navy, kidney,…) comes from green beans??? Is that right?

    • says

      Kathy – Saw your question and hope you don’t mind me answering…Yes! Dried beans come from some kind of green bean and it’s the seeds that are dried and used for cooking like pinto and black. :)

  5. Anita Jackson says

    Would love to start harvesting my own seed. I only harvest flower seed But Vegetable seed would be terrific. I love the taste of heirloom Tomatoes!!!! MMM mmmm ! Thank you for the tips! Looking forward to more!

  6. Karen Chaffin says

    Thanks so much for sharing how to save your own seed. I love to garden, but have not tried saving seeds. Heirloom seeds are so much better!!

  7. says

    Good morning! I’m going to show my little man (my son, he’s 7) the “botanist” this post as part of our science, today! :) We were blessed to be able to travel to Mansfield, MO to see Baker Creek (and Rocky Ridge Farm–Laura Ingalls Wilder and husband Almanzo’s home). We love Baker Creek, and plan to plant only heirloom seed this spring.

    Question: Where do you get your seed potato and onion sets from? I want non-GMO/heirloom, but I’m not sure of a good source to buy from. Thanks!

  8. Ali O says

    Thanks so much for this post! My husband and I have been gardening the past few years but I was a little intimidated to tackle saving our own seeds/beans. I can’t wait to try this year!

  9. Susan Dobbins says

    Please enter me in the contest! I like your style and enthusiasm. I am a late to bloom grower, going on 50 and restarting my entire life over, long divorce, probably losing my little farmette dream, but, can container garden and make one just about anywhere. I use to love to can, hope I can get back into it. I love it that you have the same heirloom seeds passed down through your family. How wonderful!!! We need more homespun natural traditions such as that! Thank God you did not stray from your beliefs and family traditions!!! This world needs more like you, thank you!!!

    • says

      Hi, Susan,

      Congrats to you for starting over. I actually talk about container gardening in my book and we do our garlic in containers over the winter to harvest in mid-summer. I love that both sets of seeds are from my family and I encourage you to can, even if it’s just one thing. Blessings to you!

  10. Tita Sokoloff says

    Here in humid Florida I seem to have a problem with most of my bean seeds molding. I can’t seem to find a place keep them dry enough. I’ll try your tip on putting them on something absorbent. Maybe that will do the trick.

    • says

      Try to keep them on the vine as long a possible, too. The dryer the get on the vine, the less mold problem you should have as well. I don’t know how it would work in a dehydrator, but if you can’t keep them from molding, that might be something you could research.

      • Tita Sokoloff says

        Thanks, Melissa….Don’t know why I didn’t think of using my dehydrator. I think that might do the trick.

  11. says

    Thanks for the bean info! Didn’t know I should soak them! Also, I thought I’d read that they do cross polinate. We’ve been careful to only plant one variety a year so we don’t have to deal with it and can still save seeds. Do you have any more info on that?

    The giveaway looks great too! Thanks!

    • says

      From all my research beans don’t cross-pollinate. We grow both kinds and my parents occasionally grow blue lakes and they haven’t crossed pollinated. My neighbors garden is within bee and wind distance and we haven’t had any trouble either. Now corn will cross-pollinate and can be harder to keep true. I hope you plant two varieties this year. I like to do one green and one shell (October).

  12. says

    I am becoming more and more interested in home canning. I used to do a lot of it when my children were growing up. Everything tastes so much better. Interesting to read about heirloom seeds as I just read an article regarding a protest against a large seed company who is against heirloom seeding. I won’t mention any names here to avoid controversy on this site. We all need to become more independent of the large grocery stores and learn to help ourselves. community gardening is getting bigger every year!

  13. Peg says

    Thanks! I have doing it wrong! This is so good know. And thanks for the chance to win this book. It’s been on my wishlist for a while!

  14. Megan says

    I LOVE heirloom seeds and food. Doesn’t it just make SO much sense to eat these and only these?!? Thank you for the chance to win!

  15. Muffet michlitsch says

    I would love this book! Would these beans grow well in Texas? We have long,very hot summers.

  16. Kim says

    I am new to your Blog and am excited to hear about an heirloom seed exchange coming up. I was thinking to myself “I wonder where I can get heirloom seeds as I don’t have any.”. So I look forward to your future post. I hope Canadians can be part of it. Could you enter me into the draw for the giveaway?

      • Bear Nolan Hardin says

        I’m kind of new at this technology stuff but my husband gave me an iPad for Christmas so I’m trying to join the 21st century! I’d like to get involved in your seed exchange if I can figure out how! We’re in Willimantic, Connecticut., but I’m from Louisiana originally and am JUST learning how to garden here.

  17. Debrah Nadler says

    I grew up in Northern VT and had many successful gardens. We now live in Central FL and I am learning to garden in a much different environment. I love enjoy your blog. Thank you for your hard work.

  18. patti says

    Good Morning What a Ray of Sunshine I recieved today in my In Box !!!!
    I So miss my gardens and now’s the time to start thinking of what and where to plant my treasured saved seeds. Thank You for the info on your bean seeds. I would love to hear more of your ideas on homesteading and living natural. Your book sounds very interesting and would be lovingly used.
    Enjoy your day ! Patti

  19. Kathy T says

    We are trying to use more and more heirloom seeds. The book looks very interesting and I would love to win!

  20. tammy mcchesney says

    I have seen these beans in the catalog for the heirloom seed company Seed Savers Exchange. They call them Dragon’s tongue Saving seeds is why I am buying all heirloom this year.

    2″ Apart



    Full Sun

    Green Thumb Tip
    Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Harvest frequently for increased yields.
    ± 1,100 seeds/lb

  21. Elaine says

    I’m in the great state of Texas where friends and family grow fabulous fruits and veggies all around me…..mine….meh-not so great. :0( Uhhh. If I ever make it to the point of having something mature enough to get the seed, I will definitely try this.
    …and I could definitely use this resource.

  22. Kristy says

    I love to read your posts. I can only dream of much living the way your do. I live in the city. I do some gardening, composting and make most of our own food and medicine. My grandson spends a lot of time at our house. He loves to help me garden and he loves beans! He even has a “beans make me dance” dance.
    Peace to you and yours.

    • says


      I think you could grow one bean plant (one plant give off a lot of beans) in a pot with a good trellis if you didn’t have much garden space or no garden space. Awesome you’re teaching your grandson the importance of gardening.

  23. Jenny says

    Very interesting information. When the garden is about done, I usually leave some beans on the vine until they are dried and shriveled. Then put them in plastic bags and put them away for the next year. I would love to win your book. It looks very interesting and would be helpful. I agree with previous posters, we need to become more independent for grocery stores and seed companies. Thanks for the great post.

  24. says

    Thank you so much for sharing all your valuable info and encouraging me. I’m a newbie to gardening and would love to win this book to help me get started on my homesteading journey! LOVE your blog! Thanks!!!

  25. Naomi says

    Oh man, I love beans, whether they are green or fully matured. I don’t know if I’ve ever had any that were heirloom though. I am grateful for the opportunity to win this book! Also, I have always heard that you should just leave them on the plant until they are dried out, and didn’t know you can pick them before they turn brown and then dry them yourself. I like that much better, much less chance of losing them to the elements or critters. Thanks for the post and for the book drawing!

    • says


      If you live where your summers are long and dry then you can leave them to dry on the vine and then store for winter. The Pacific NW (my home) is sometimes too wet to do this and we have to do it inside, but it’s worth it. Thanks for sharing your tip.

  26. Rachelle says

    I love your blog, it’s so informative & you’re always so encouraging! :-) I was wondering where you generally get your heirloom seeds from? Any info would be great, thanks!

    • Jill says

      Hi Rachelle,
      I get mine from Baker Creek ( but Melissa might get hers from somewhere else. 😉

      • says

        Jill, I just found Baker Creek and am planning on trying some of their’s this year. Obviously my bean seed is from our family line, but I have purchased some heirloom seed from Territorial. I try to find growers in my climate so I know the seed will produce well there. Territorial is in OR, which is close to WA. In Territorial’s catalog you have to make sure and only order seeds that have OP (open-pollinated) next to them to ensure it’s heirloom seed.

  27. says

    I’m excited to plant some Scarlet Runner Beans my aunt gave me last fall. They originally came from a plant that my uncle’s grandmother brought from England. I love to surround myself with things that have a story so I loved the fact that the seeds have a story too :)
    The book looks great! It’s about everything I’m interested in, lol!

  28. Erin Moore says

    Thank you for the great info! I plan on planting more beans this year and will look for heirloom beans. I will also make sure I save some for replanting!

  29. A. States says

    We would love this book. We recently moved into our new homestead and will be starting from scratch with a garden this year. I really enjoy your blog!

    • Jill says

      Not yet- but possibly will do a bean post in the future. I know you have to use a pressure canner to do them, unless you pickle them.

  30. Ruth Meach says

    I would love to be entered! Also, could you possibly do a post about planning out your garden with saved seeds and how much you save for food and seed and how you figure it out?

  31. Anne Renouf says

    I neglected the seed saving in the summer, but will most certainly start saving in 2013. I’ve been researching several different types of heirloom beans to grow in the garden and yours would be perfect to grow and use in my mom’s chili.

  32. says

    Sign me up! I’d LOVE to have your book! I just stumbled upon this site right after Christmas and just LOVE it! We’ve made lots of the recipes and have even made the laundry soap. We planted Jacob’s Cattle Beans for the first time last year-and realized we hadn’t planted near enough of them when one of the granddaughter’s couldn’t stop eating them-and she doesn’t like beans! I quickly ordered twice as many and socked back most of the harvest to replant this year-Can’t wait until March when we can start planting here in East Texas! God Bless and have a great day!

  33. Becky says

    I love the hertiage beans too and dry them they are so east to grow, I’d love to win this book!

  34. says

    thanks for the advice, and the commitment you have for helping others, and for the time and energy put into writing your book. I know how time consuming this all can be


  35. Rebecca says

    We’ve tried saving beans before, but they always end up molding or being gross! Now I know how to do this correctly!

  36. G Parkin says

    What a pity they aren’t yellow waxed beans. But thank you for the tips on how to save beans for seed. I hope the instructions work for my waxed beans. :)

  37. Rhonda says

    We had an odd growing season last year – not a good one. I planted an heirloom variety of beans, not once but twice when the first planting didn’t grow. Neither did the second. Ended up planting seeds let from the previous year. Not giving up on heirlooms, just not the one I panted last year. I have been eyeing this book, just haven’t purchased it. :)

  38. Shay Logan says

    Thank you for your posts. I always look forward to getting them in my email. This post is perfect timing, because this is the first year that we will be able to garden with heirloom seeds. I’m excited! The book is one that I have heard about before and would be helpful for us. Thanks and looking forward to your future posts!

  39. Cathi Harp says

    Thanks for the great article! This will be my first year of growing beans and I am researching the best way to grow beans & save seeds. :)

  40. cindy green says

    I raise all heirloom plants in my gardens and I love saving seed. I also share lots of seeds with others. I am always looking for new varieties to grow and love raising beans!

  41. says

    Thanks for the info! I have “saved” bean seeds sometimes by accident as they come up again from where they were planted the previous year. :) I will be pinning this too…I would love to learn more about the heirloom beans you plant.

  42. Kathy Mauck says

    I enjoy the prairie homestead site. I live in central Pennsylvania with a small plot of land, large enough for a very small garden. I buy most of my fruits and veggies from the local farmers markets. I love your blogs on the “how to’s”. :)

  43. says

    Thank you for such a beautiful article on saving heirloom seeds. I have what is known as a “brown” thumb, LOL, but this year, for the very first time, I am going to plant some heirloom seeds. I just learned about them. I’m not very good at growing things, but after I watched the Back to Eden film about gardening, I am much encouraged and want to try it. I need to learn all about saving seed and would absolutely LOVE to win the free book!

  44. Gina says

    I am learning how to homestead. Hoping in a few years to quit my job and move someplace where I can raise, chickens, bees and grass fed beef. Thank you for all the tips and tricks.

  45. missy steiger says

    I’ve just started saving seed this year. Thanks for the chance to win Melissa’s book.

  46. Nichole says

    What a wonderful post – and a way to remind me to be ready for spring planting! It always seems like it’s far away during the winter months…until it’s right upon us!

  47. Linda says

    Thanks for the give away and I would love to be entered in to win! I have not started a garden yet but I
    want to so this is a great tip for when I do!!

  48. Melody says

    i just found your blog and love it. my best friend and I save seeds every year. she has been saving tomato seed her dad brought over from Italy years ago. They are the best tomatoes I have ever tasted.

  49. Karla says

    Hi Jill : )
    Mom and I planted all heirloom seeds last year…beans, we planted twice!! But once they started producing, we picked regularly twice a week for most of the summer. We’d love to try some of yours and I plan to can some this year, too. Hope you guys are staying warm in dead of winter…. Love, Karla

    • Jill says

      That’s awesome! My beans didn’t do so well last summer… Sure love homegrown beans though!

  50. Suzie says

    Great article. Being a Tarheel myself, happy to know that “our” beans are being enjoyed far and wide!

    • says

      Suzie, are you anywhere near Avery or Graham County? My father is from Avery county (and so are my bean seed) and my great-grandmother worked at the Fontana logging camp in Graham County as the cook.

  51. Kelly A says

    I got the gardening bug from my sweet great-grandparents who I was blessed to grow up knowing & learning from. I never learned how to preserve seeds though. Your beans look wonderful & would love to read your book & learn more!!

  52. says

    We grow beans every year — they seem to grow no matter what the conditions. I have yet to start saving their seeds, so hopefully we can give it a try this season. And I would definitely be interestedin your book. Thanks for the opportunity!

  53. meggin says

    I would love this book….may have to buy it if i don’t win it. Thank you for all the important information on your blog! You are a blessing!

  54. Melissa Page says

    I love the Prarie Homestead and would love to win a copy of Pioneering Today. I am learning so much and getting back in touch with my roots is making me very happy. I wish I had paid more attention to what my grandmother’s were doing in the kitchen and helped them out more. Thank goodness for the Prarie Homestead!

  55. Salome says

    Thanks for the post. By any chance is there a seed company which carries this variety? Thanks for the giveaway. Blessings, Salome

  56. Kath Himes says

    Would be grateful for the opportunity to learn from your experience and knowledge. I would like to begin canning and would appreciate knowing some easy and effective methods for food preservation, especially with a large family. Your other tips about gardening, seed saving, and meals would be very helpful to this “newbie” to all things related to “independent living”. May God bless and honor your family and your efforts because you focus and do all for Him!

    • says

      Kath, thanks so much for your encouragement. Jill does a great job of teaching posts and every Wednesday I do a homesteading/independent living post on my website as well. You’ll get the hang of it in no time!

  57. says

    Now this is my kind of Gal she not only helps with gardening but she includes God in it too:) I hope she is a great success!

  58. says

    My husband and I will soon be investing in our own heirloom seeds. I am excited to be able to grow things in my garden, collect the seeds and grow them again! Makes me feel frugal.

    Pioneering Today? Hmmm…I like it. Right now our family lives on the busy east coast (my husband is in the military) but my hubby and I crave the ‘simple life’ for our family. It’s seems more wholesome and closer to God, don’t you think.

    Keep up the fantastic work Jill-keep the inspiration coming. And Melissa, thank you for your work as well. =) You rock!

    • says

      Hannah, thank you and the simple life does make me feel closer to God. In fact, I go into this in chapter 1. When we’re surrounded by the things God made, instead of the things man made, we can’t help but feel closer to Him. I believe that’s why so many people are fascinated with the Amish.

  59. Amy says

    Thanks for posting all this information on seeds. We have our seeds and are garden planning now for this spring.

  60. Pamela says

    Please enter me, and also thank you for the tip on soaking your beans before planting. I never knew that.

  61. Heather Smith says

    Thank-you for the informative post! I am new to gardening and looking forward to learning more. Thank-you for the chance to win!

  62. Cris says

    What do you mean by “untouched by man”? I understand the untouched by science bit – not genetically altered and the like. Did you mean humans are doing the science so that makes them touched by science and man?

    • says

      Cris, yes that’s what I mean. Hybrid seeds are seeds that scientists have bred by combining traits from different species (and not always even the same plant) into their own strain. The problem is they are sterile and unstable after the first planting. If you try and save the seed and get it to grow, it mutates. One year I had volunteer hybrid zucchini come up and they looked beautiful but had the most horrible bitter taste. We couldn’t eat them. Plus, they’re discovering many of the hybrids don’t contain the same amount of health benefits and can be harmful to the soil.

  63. Terri Betz says

    Awesome info! I actually did not know to soak the beans overnight! We too are buying Heirloom seeds for our garden this year! It seems like the smart thing to do! I’ve had my eye on this cookbook for a while now! Great giveaway choice! Thanks for this giveaway! And thanks for the garden info! Hope we see more! :)

  64. Sharon P says

    Would love to win your book..just found your site today. Looks like something I will enjoy reading and doing.Thanks for the giveaway.

  65. Mallory says

    My husband and I didn’t start gardening until we bought our house last year. We have had alot of fun, but need all the help we can get 😉

  66. Kat Wishard says

    I am making the switch this year to heirloom seeds. Cant wait for spring! As usual another great post, thanks for sharing, Kat

  67. Hope says

    Thanks for this post. I didn’t know they wouldn’t cross-pollinate and was having trouble deciding what single kind of bean I should plant! Now I can choose a few! I have just started learning about how to save seeds and am excited to give it a try. The giveaway book looks great too!

  68. dusty says

    we’re working hard this year on urban homesteading & are planning on our garden being completely sown with heirloom seeds. thanks for entering me in the giveaway!

  69. Jen says

    I started saving seeds because I’m cheap! haha I didn’t know the first thing about heirloom vs. hybrid when I first began saving them. Surprisingly, it was a lot easier than I expected. However, I really REALLY get the importance of heirloom now.

    I love okra. (My Pennsylvania husband thinks it’s hilarious that his wife loves things like okra & grits, but what can I say? They are delicious.) I tried saving the seem from some hybrid spineless okra that I had purchased from Big Name Seed Company. Let’s just say that didn’t turn out so well.

    So, yeah. Even if they aren’t GMOs, hybrids are unpleasant things that only keep us dependent on certain seed companies. I don’t plan on buying any more of them. Ever. :)

  70. Laura Hatt says

    Hi I would love to get this book. We just moved a year ago out of the city and into the country so we could have a garden and starting living off the land. I like the idea of this book and think it would be of great help to me and my family. Thanks for writing the blog, I have you saved on my feedworm.

  71. says

    Your beans sound lovely and if my beans hadn’t all been totally fried in the heat wave last week (Im in Australia) I would have been saving the seeds from my heirloom beans. I’m a first year gardener/homesteader and I’ve met more failures than success this first year but still I’ve had some successes. I am very grateful for the opportunity to win your book as I need all the help I can get. :)

  72. says

    I want to enter!
    Those are some pretty beans. My family is the same way about eating the Provider beans that we grow. Grocery store beans just can’t even compare.

  73. Jessica says

    I used to hate green beans because my mom always got store bought canned. Yuck! Thanks to hubby, I have come to enjoy real green beans this past year. This year I want to plant some beans and a few other veggies and am just now learning about heirloom seeds.

  74. says

    I’ve been thinking of saving some kind of seeds this year. I’m the kind of a person who likes perennials and “volunteers” in the garden, but it’s about time for us to start working on a little more advanced gardening, despite it only being a container garden on our front porch. We have grapes, peas, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries, broccoli, lettuce and lavender and roses out, of just the ones that come to mind of our annual/perennial crops (both lavender varieties are food grade, the rose will technically be this upcoming season, since I use things like ladybugs and buttermilk to ward off pests). I saved some squash seeds, in anticipation of the upcoming season, thinking I might be able to get a hubbard going in the front yard. :)

  75. Keith Batterton says

    I print and save all the tip I get and put them in a binder so even if I lose the comp. I still have them. Thanks for everything.

  76. dee m says

    Great post! :) I have been saving seed through the years for my heirloom tomatoes, perennial, squash, etc. Last year we had quite a drought and our fresh bean picking was not very good. I sewed string through all my beans ends and hung them to dry in front of a sunny window in my living room from rack to rack. They were delightful to look at in free style air drying through the months. Great success. We look forward to planting them this summer. :)

  77. says

    Hi Jill,
    Last year I did a lot of soul searching and decided to “return to my roots” and simplify my life. I have read many a websites but I really love yours. You really keep it simple which has inspired me to try new things. Thanks for sharing all that you know and keep up the good work. I look forward to many more posts from you.

  78. peggy says

    I’m so glad you keep adding more and more sites with info….middle aged and wanting to get back to roots that my grandmother always talked about….love the simple life in todays world..less and simple is sometimes best….

  79. says

    I also like to save my heirloom bean seeds ~ although I haven’t tried the type you show there.
    Thanks for the chance to enter the giveaway ~ the book sounds fantastic!!

  80. Kate B. says

    This is one of our goals for this year–to use only heirloom seeds and try to be more efficient in making our garden last through to another year. Thank you for the pointers!

  81. Katy Lamb says

    Thank you for such an informative blog. I’ve learned so much. Would love the book! Have a great day.

  82. Pat says

    We planted mostly heirloom seeds last summer and have saved some of the seeds……but I did notice the seeds didn’t come up as well as I thought they would…….will give them another try this year……
    Thanks for your blog……

  83. Nicole says

    Thanks for the post! I want to try to save seeds this year, so this was a great article! We planted mostly heirloom seeds last year and will do so again this year. Last year was my first garden, though my husband used to garden when he was younger, so it has been and continues to be a great learning experience for us and our kids.

  84. Betty Belcher says

    I really could use that book, and if I dont win, I will purchase it………but I hope I win it. :-)

  85. Lisa Wilson says

    Hi. I would love to win the book. Just found your blog & it’s real interesting. I grew up on th farm & have lived in town last 13 years & I hate it. We are trying to get loan to buy place in country. I hope to be back to canning again .

  86. Carey Kelly says

    I have always wanted to use heirloom seeds. This is my first year of homesteading and I just love everyone’s motivation and wisdom. I plan to dive in this year on the garden aspect! Thanks !

  87. judy metty says

    I am looking at different plants to grow in my garden and where to get heirloom seeds. Can’t wait to get my garden in!!! I’ve never had october beans and would love t give them a try!

  88. Edith says

    My Daddy brought October bean seed (from friends in TN) to Fl where we planted them in our garden. My family loves them. They are so hardy and filling.
    Thank you for the information and the opportunity to win even more valuable information.

  89. Deborah Jennings says

    I love this article. I am going to book mark it so I can find it again. I love beans of all kinds and we have been gardening and saving our seeds from the produce we produce. I love putting food by for the winter. There is just something about looking at all the pretty jars of things that we have canned up. I love the preserving part. Well, everything but the weeding part, but I do my part of it.

  90. says

    This is great information for me to have. I had thought I was very healthy, I ran, lifted weights and watched what I ate, almost all the time. However, 2 years ago I became so sick I couldn’t walk. My body was racked with pain. I started getting migraines, weekly. After being diagnosed with medical condition and given that magic pill, I started doing my own research and have found that most of my problem is linked to toxins in my system that I can’t eliminate. Going on from there, I found that the more “green,” “clean,” and raw foods I eat, the better I feel. I’ve double my garden and stuffed my freezer. I am now starting to save heirloom seeds and eliminate any gmo foods. I am 75% better. I have a long way to go. Some days I get sick of eating kale and spinach. But these are the best detoxers I have found. I would love to have a chance to win. I can add it to my aresenal of better living books.

    • says

      Beth, while I’m sorry to hear about your illness I’m thrilled to hear you’ve taken your health into your own hands and am having success. I pray you’ll have even greater healing.

  91. Gee says

    Please enter me in the giveaway! Would love to have this book. I really enjoyed your discussion on saving seeds. We have never tried those kinds of beans, will have to see about finding some!

  92. Amy says

    What a great article! We’ve been living in Northern California for the past 12 or so years where our growing climate is mild (however, we’ve not been in a position to have a garden due to condo living & renting a home with no yard to speak of except patio cement). We’ll be moving back to the Midwest in the next couple of months & I’ll be needing to figure out not only the growing season there, but how to incorporate seed saving, canning, etc. An exciting & overwhelming time for me in the homesteading department!

  93. says

    Last year I started saving seeds, so this upcoming growing season I’ll have my first try at planting saved seeds! I’m looking forward to seeing what works, what doesn’t, and figure out the quality of the harvest.

  94. alexandra day says

    I am still learning at saving seeds. Have yet to really try any of my saved ones. Just now getting into heirloom seeds and might just save the others as a just in case I need. As long as they will hold up lol. Would love to have the book as well.

  95. Johanna says

    Thank you so much for this post! It was very informative and inspiring. I had grown some dry beans last year, but I didn’t grow enough to save for food. So the little I was left with I hope to use as seed for next year! Thank you and thank you for the chance to win!

  96. Tammy says

    Thanks for the great information about saving beans. We will be saving seed this year from our garden. Thanks for having the giveaway also.

  97. Shirley McFarland says

    Please enter me! I am so interested in learning about heirloom seeds…this is very new to me! Thank you for this great post! Cheeryshirley

  98. Tina says

    Please enter me in your giveaway…I am new to this and it is adventure unfolding before my eyes…I need all the help I can get!

  99. christine w says

    Thanks for the great post on saving seeds and please enter me in! That book looks amazing!

  100. Rebecca says

    I love heirloom seeds!! I’ve farmed and raised a garden my whole life, but now that i’m raising my own kids and i see the way the world is getting i’m more interested in going back to nature and being more self sufficient, sites like these are so inspiring. Please enter me in the giveaway, it would be a great start to my first time ever, completely heirloom garden this spring!!!!

  101. DianeM says

    OMGoodness…what a great book (and blog). Please enter me for a chance to win :) Thanks so much to both of you ladies for your generosity.
    Smiles, DianeM

  102. Riversana says

    Thanks for the great tips, I’ll be bookmarking this one! I’m just getting into gardening, and will hopefully be planting my first vegetable garden this spring, so all advice is appreciated. I was also thrilled to read that self-pollinators don’t cross, as that’s something I’ve been concerned about. Thank you so much for sharing with us! And thanks for the giveaway!

  103. Steven Verwiel says

    We’re just starting out, but have plans to move into the rural area of our county and start homesteading in my retirement. There’s much to learn!

  104. Rick Allen says

    Thanks for an interesting article and please enter me for a chance at your E-book. Ive just gotten into prepping/natural living/heirloom gardening, and while the info curve has been steep (wilderness survival training), it has also been enjoyable. I look forward to a new growing season to get my fingers dirty with heirloom gardening. Best of health! Rick.

  105. Carolyn says

    We, too, are planning a homestead for our retirement and trying to learn everything we can on how to do it properly. Alot to learn for sure but fun at the same time. Please enter my name for your e book giveaway.

  106. says

    Love your blog! We’re working on expanding our homestead and aquiring more heirloom seeds. Thank you for your giveaway and keep up the good work!!

    In His Service,

  107. Karen says

    I have been hearing more and more, about the importance of Heirloom seeds. The more
    I read about what is happening to our food supply, the more I want to grow my own food.
    Thanks for the great post and the chance to win your book. I am so happy to have just
    found you and I signed up for your newsletter.

  108. says

    Your book looks like a breath of fresh air. We are learning more about heirloom seeds and having a great time doing so! Thank you for this opportunity!

  109. says

    It’s a good idea to put your dried beans in a plastic baggie and store them in the fridge or freezer. They lose viability much quicker at room temperature. Corn and most other seeds last longer this way also. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks! :)

  110. Gayle says

    Would love to have a copy of your book. My lovely daughter-in-love has been sharing about heirloom seeds and got me started reading. She is so much smarter than I was at her age. She has had great success with their garden and I am learning so much from her. Would love to have a copy of the book for the two us to read together, Look forward to being a better gardener,

  111. Rose says

    I have been gardening since I was a small child, am now 68 years old. I first ordered seeds from Baker Creek when he just started with a typed list of seeds & have never been disappointed. Saving seeds has always been a way of life. Your bean seeds are new to me & I would really love to win some & test them here in the Black Hills of SD. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

  112. lisa says

    I have a bean question!
    I’m working on an organic co-op down the road, and part of the past couple weeks shares have been green beans. However, as I started canning them, I noticed that some were well past their prime. The outside is turning white and woody and the beans are bulging have a good little shell around them. I would like to have some seeds to plant for next year, but seeing as these have already been picked off the vine, can I still save them for seed use? Should I keep them in the pod, or shell them? Any suggestion would be great! Thanks!