Bean Counter

Last night I was sorting through the various papers that had accumulated on our dining room table over the past few days (a seemingly never-ending task at our house).  As I was slipping our W2s and a couple of other tax documents into a file, thinking about how we really should schedule our tax appointment, I was reminded of this little fall project that I haven't shared yet (anything to get out of thinking about taxes!).  The timing might actually be kind of perfect with seed buying season upon us.

Edamame.  I love it, but I was tired of stalking a certain case in the freezer section of the grocery store for a stock up worthy sale price, so I decided to try growing it last spring.  I spent a lot of time looking for seed.  I tried several local garden centers, as well as a few big box stores with massive seed displays without any luck.  My online options seemed like a bust as well, with the seeds either being sold out or upwards of five dollars a packet for not that many seeds.  I had all but given up hope when I just happened to be driving through Zimmerman, Minnesota on my way home from a conference and saw a huge garden center and nursery right on the highway.  Not even really thinking about edamame at the time (I was probably hoping to find a really awesome heirloom tomato plant), I stopped in to check out Nelson Nursery Garden Center. I spend a good amount of time there, wandering around and checking everything out.  I was on my way out the door when something caught my eye on one of the seed displays: edamame!

A few weeks later, my little edamame sprouts were poking out of the ground and growing like crazy.  Fast forward through through the summer and the excitement of learning what to expect from a new crop, not to mention lots of tasty beans to eat and freeze, the season was coming to an end.  My struggle to find those seeds in the first place was not far from my mind, so I decided to let a few of the remaining pods dry in hopes that I might be able to use them for this year's planting.

Here's how I did it:

From everything I've read, beans are the easiest seeds to save (really, the hardest part was giving up that one last bag that could have been in the freezer) and it makes so much sense.  Just look at the math:  I paid $1.99 for the original packet of 50 seeds.  I had nearly 100% germination, and the plants had a very healthy crop full of two and three bean pods.   In addition to what we ate fresh and froze, I was still able to save more beans than I started out with in the first place.  If I get close to the same success rate this year, the yield from my initial investment should, in theory, double.  The final analysis will come this spring when we'll see how these babies do! 

In the meantime, my plans for the coming year include planting a little extra of a few other beans as well (at least one dried bean variety as well as a snap bean variety) in hopes of  saving more seeds from year to year!

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