How to Save Green Bean Seeds – 2X! Saving Pole & Bush Bean Seeds

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Saving green bean seeds at the end of the season lets you enjoy your crops both in the growing season and year after year. Learn how to save bean seeds so you can always grow your favorite green bean varieties!

Open pod full of bean seeds on a granite table
Saving pole bean seeds (or bush bean seeds!) is so easy! Just snap the pods open and pour the beans into a bag or container.

By the way – Figuring out how to save bean seeds for planting is easy enough that you may not even need this post.

In fact, some of my bean plants dropped mature seeds, which germinated in the garden toward the end of the season. Sadly, we didn’t have enough time for them to grow to maturity.

Too bad we can’t grow a veggie garden year-round here!

Anyway, I am happy to share my methods and favorite tips on collecting bean seeds!

Opened green bean seed pod on a granite table
So easy to save seeds from beans of all kinds!

How to Save Green Bean Seeds

Saving green bean seeds is one of my favorite seed saving efforts as it’s really straightforward this time around.

You can literally set aside a basket of fat, overgrown green beans, let them dry out, and gently pop the bean seeds out of the pods.

Heck, you can even just save the whole darn pod with seeds inside until next growing season!

When saving green bean seeds for next year, the first consideration is what kind of beans you’re growing.

First of all, the process should be pretty much identical for green beans, purple beans, golden beans / wax beans, and so forth. Of course, the bigger consideration is how beans grow – in a bush habit or on a vining plant.

I’ve got you covered on how to save pole bean seeds as well as seeds from bush beans!

Discover how to save green beans for seed to continue growing your favorite plants in future seasons.

Pile of dried green bean seed pods mixed in with purple podded pole beans and possibly golden wax beans
Big pile of dried green bean seed pods mixed in with purple podded pole beans and possibly golden wax beans.
We love saving green bean seeds for next year!

How to Save Pole Bean Seeds

The toughest part of saving pole bean seeds is reaching them! (For me at least, since I am only about 5-ft tall!)

Our pole bean teepee always reaches higher than I can stretch, so it forces me to use a stepladder or request help from my taller other half.

(Of course, the stepladder is usually the easier option. Hah!)

Wire basket full of lots of large, overripe pole beans with seeds inside
Collecting oversized bean pods from our garden in hopes of viable seeds inside

Saving Pole Bean Seeds

Here’s my favorite method on how to harvest bean seeds for next year:

  1. Check your plants to find oversized or dried beans on the vines. Start at the bottoms of the pole bean vines to find the low-hanging seeds. 🙂 Once you gather all of them, use the ladder or stepladder to collect seeds that are otherwise out of reach.
  2. Remove the mature bean pods one by one. To do so, hold the plant with one hand and gently twist the beans free with the other hand.
  3. Toss the dried or oversized bean pods into a breathable container. Consider using a colander, wicker basket, wire wastebasket, or other open and airy container for collection.
    • Note: For those out of reach, carefully stand on a latter or stepladder to extend your reach. Toss the bean pods down to your basket or colander and see how accurate you can be with your throws.
    • Bonus: For even more fun, you can also enlist help from you kids, significant other, or a friend.
  4. Set aside the bean pods you collected and allow them to dry completely. Literally forget about them on your dining room table for a week or so.
  5. Decide if you wish to remove the pods or store them inside the bean pods. You can easily pop all the dried seeds out of the pods and store them in a paper bag. You may also store the pods intact as long as you see no signs of mold or pests.
  6. Label the paper bag with the type of bean seeds and the date. You can store the beans in other containers as well, but paper prescription bags are my favorite in this case.
  7. Store the seeds in a cool, dry, dark place. We keep our seeds safely stored in the basement.

Dried Green Bean Seed Pods!

Dried green bean seed pod cracked opened with seeds visible inside
Dried green bean seed pod cracked opened with seeds visible inside

    How to Save Bush Bean Seeds

    Saving bush bean seeds is even easier than saving pole bean seeds! Best of all, this time you won’t need the ladder!

    1. Inspect bush bean plants for viable seed pods. Toward the end of the season, look for oversized bean pods or those that are nearly dry.
    2. Harvest bean seeds one pod at a time. Firmly grasp the mature bush bean pods and the connection point of the plant. Twist and pull to separate the pod from the plant.
    3. Place the bean pods you’ve collected into a container. Breathable baskets and colanders work well for saving green bean seeds.
    4. Set aside the container of bean pods and allow them all to dry. In a week or two, you should be able to collect bean seeds from inside the dried pods.
    5. Label a paper bag or envelope with the type and date. You can use this for the bean seeds or the entire dried pods with seeds inside.
    6. If desired, press on the seams of the pods to split them open. Gently remove the green bean seeds by pulling them out of the dried pods.
    7. Save and store the seeds in a paper envelope or paper bag. Place all of the seeds or seed pods inside the bag for safe storage. Important to note, you should save this someplace away from sunlight, moisture and heat – keep it cool, dark and dry!

    Of course, you can also consider other seed storage ideas to meet your needs.

    Many green bean seeds inside a white paper prescription bag
    So many green bean seeds fit inside a white paper prescription bag.

    Tips on Harvesting Seeds from Beans

    Finally, just use good seed saving tactics for success. Keep these important tips in mind when collecting any seeds from you garden – not just bean seeds!

    • Choose a dry and sunny day to collect seeds!
    • Always label the seeds you collect on the same day. You may not think you’d forget what something is, but why take the chance.
    • Avoid storing seeds in an airtight container unless you are 1,000% sure they are COMPLETELY dry. I prefer paper bags or envelopes when possible.
    • Consider reusing paper prescription bags from the pharmacy or veterinarian’s office for saving seeds.
    • To save time, you can store green bean seeds intact in the pods. To save space, remove them!

    Do you have any other tips on saving bean seeds? Hit us up in the comments to share!

    Inside of a pole bean seed pod with green bean seeds showing
    Harvesting green bean seeds from mature pole bean pods


    Saving green bean seeds lets you preserve and propagate the specific varieties of green beans that you enjoy growing and eating. Collecting your own bean seeds also saves money so you don’t have to buy new seeds each year.

    Finally, you might also enjoy swapping seeds with other gardeners, and saving your own seeds is a great way to start doing that!

    Yes, you can save bean seeds from bush bean plants as well as pole beans. A similar process yields predictable results with plenty of viable seeds to use in future growing seasons.

    Allow the green beans to mature on the vine and resist the urge to pick them. The pods will swell with fat, viable bean seeds that you can plant for future seasons to come. Pick the dried bean pods or very fat pods even before this and allow them to fully dry. Store the pods intact or remove the bean seeds from the pods for storing.

    Plan on harvesting green bean seeds once you see the brown or yellow seed pods hanging on the plants. Totally dried out bean pods will generally yield the most viable seeds, although you can luck out with others that are ripe as well.

    You can easily collect green bean seeds from fully dry pods. Simply open the pods and shake out the bean seeds or gently remove the bean seeds one by one with your fingers. You may need to squeeze the bean pods at the sides / seams to release the seeds.

    For best results, always make sure seeds are fully dry before storage. If your seeds are totally dry, you can store them in airtight containers or zip-top baggies. Personally, I prefer to store green bean seeds in paper bags or paper prescription envelopes to account for any unexpected moisture. Be sure to label the seeds with the variety and collection date. Keep the seeds in a cool, dry and dark location such as your basement.

    It depends. Although not very common, beans of the same species can cross-pollinate, resulting in hybrid offspring. Keep in mind if you are growing multiple types of green beans, you may see traits of either presenting in crops grown from your saved seeds. According to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, you should be able to space out your bean plants sufficiently to limit the chances of cross-pollination.  

    Colorful dried pole bean pods on the table
    Colorful dried pole bean pods on the table

    Saving Bean Seeds for Next Year

    You really can’t go wrong saving your own seeds. The pricing of starter plants has gotten out of control, and seed packets have their own costs, too.

    Also, by saving seeds from bean plants, you can make sure to keep on growing green beans you love most. It is quick, easy, and really doesn’t add much time or effort to your gardening chore list.

    As easy as it is, of course this garden task comes highly recommended!!

    Now that you know how to save green bean seeds for next year, I hope you will continue growing this delicious veggie for years to come!

    As always, hit us up in the comments if you have any questions on how to harvest bean seeds for next year or any great tips or stories to share! We love hearing from you!

    Happy Gardening!

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