Bean: Great Northern Shell Bean
The Great Northern Shell Bean is traditionally credited to Oscar Will, who claims to have obtained it from a Hidatsa Indian in the late 1800s.
Faster to cook than Navy Beans, the Great Northern Shell Bean is succulent and easy to cook. Used in households throughout the world, this heavy yielding bean grows on robust bushes.
Average: 92 days
Detailed planting instructions:
Beans are generally direct seeded in the garden. The most important point to remember about growing green beans is not to plant them too early. They will rot in cool, damp soil. To get an earlier start, you can put down black plastic to warm the soil.
When bush beans begin producing they often come in all at once. Staggered planting, every 2 weeks, will keep your bush beans going longer. Beans like a moderately rich soil with a slightly acidic pH of about 6.0 to 6.2.
They prefer a loose, moist soil. Plant after all danger of frost is past.
Plant bush beans in either rows or blocks, with 4-6 inches between each seed. Plant the seeds 1-2 inches deep and be sure to water the soil immediately and regularly, until it sprouts.
Harvesting beans is an ongoing process. You can start to harvest anytime, but gardeners usually wait until the beans begin to firm up and can be snapped. They are generally about as think as a pencil then. Don’t wait too long, because beans can become overgrown and tough almost overnight. Harvest by gently pulling each bean from the vine or by snapping off the vine end, if you are going to be using the beans right away.
It is a suggested that you earmark a couple of plants at the beginning of the season for seed saving. Don’t pick ANY pods from them to eat - just pick the crisp brown pods at the end of the season. Don’t feed them, or water them unless it is very dry - as this can encourage leafy growth rather than pod development. There is no point in picking green pods as the seeds are not mature enough at this stage.