"Jack and the Beanstalk" may be a work of fiction, but the fact that beans grow quickly is not. Bean seeds sprout in as few as three or four days and grow rapidly, making them a favored plant for children's gardens. Common bush beans grow to a height of 10 to 12 inches, while tall pole beans climb to heights of 8 feet or more. Both produce green beans, typically eaten when young and tender. If allowed to mature, bean pods produce bean seeds that can be harvested in the fall and planted in the spring.
Note the features of plants you wish to reproduce. Jot down blooming time, plant height, abundance of fruit, flavor or any other traits you wish to preserve. Plants carry these traits in the seed.
Examine foliage of the plants that exhibit the traits you have selected. Look for any signs of disease or insect infestation. Identify healthy plants that are free of disease or insects.
Insert a plant marker near the plant or tie a colored string to the stem. Inform anyone who has access to your garden that you have chosen the plant to produce seeds and the beans should not be picked.
Allow the bean pods to mature on the vine until they are brown and brittle. If frost is expected, pull the plants and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area like a garage or shed.
Gather the pods from the plants. Spread the pods on newspaper or on a screen and allow to dry in a cool, well-ventilated area for two weeks. Dry bean seeds rattle in the pod when shaken.
Shell the beans and store in a tightly sealed glass jar. Place in a cool, dark area until planting time in the spring.