Drying bean seeds in humid climate

VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

My bean varieties are relatively rare, so seeds can be hard to buy. I try to save some for seed.

I harvested my remaining bean plants around first frost, dumping the entire plants in the garage. The hope was that they would be protected from wetness, and dry to good, usable seeds.

But although there's no water in the garage, it is unheated and the air has been cool and damp. Many of the pods are rotting instead of drying.

I should have harvested some of my plants for seeds in late summer, when the sun was shining and the weather was hot. But I hate to lose my bean plants early when they will keep producing food if left alone.

(This is another small space gardening issue. If I had a larger garden, I could grow plenty of beans for both food and seed.)

Are there ways I don't know to get bean seeds to form and dry properly in a cool, damp fall/winter?


  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,838 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Could a low heat dehydrator work or one of the new Air Fryers/Dehydrators?

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K Unfortunately a dehydrator wouldn't help, as I would need to put the entire pulled bean plant into it. We're not talking about fully-formed and de-shelled seeds that just need to be dried, but seeds that need to be allowed to finish ripening on the pulled plant.

    I had to give up and compost all of the saved bean plants a few days ago. All of them were rotting instead of drying out, and the seeds were not mature.

    I only have a few bean seeds that I saved earlier in the season. Next year, I will need to start allowing some beans to go to seed in the heat of summer instead of waiting until fall.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,838 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy oh, did not realize it was the whole plant and sorry to hear that they rotted out. Another idea maybe for next year is the big drying table that Tom Bartels (Grow Food Well) talked about in one of his webinars.

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,584 admin

    or hang the plants from the rafters and have a fan going?

    We have a similar problem here in Puerto Rico. Stephanie Syson the biodynamic farmer who is growing our equisetum hymale lives in a very humid area. I mean don't drop a towel on the floor overnight kind of place... We looked at desgins for a heater/ fan setup, but it is just too humid.

    We are looking at trucking them over to where I live (a 75 minute drive) to the west side where I live and it is dryer.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Would something like a mini greenhouse with a light or heat lamp and a small fan be possible? Might keep them growing to maturity and keep the humidity low enough.