Great Northern Beans

alan8(8)January 20, 2008

We buy these in the grocery store and I was wondering if anyone here has grown these? I read that the great northern bean is a matured, dried green, what type of green bean? Any information/experience would be helpful. I'm in Alabama.

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great northern is a cultivar of the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris. This is the same species as those beans hravested immature as "snap" beans or green beans, though clearly this variety has white seeds.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 8:41PM
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peanut, OK so what seed do I order? What's the common name of a snap bean with white seeds? Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:05PM
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you could just plant the beans you buy from the market - the only downside is that they might be a variety designed for harvesting by machine by being self-supporting, which you could also see as an upside.

if you really want to buy seed from a seed company, just look up "great northern bean" or by any white-colored beans they have

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:12PM
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fliptx(Houston 9)

I would just buy a bag of dried white beans that you like the taste of, and plant those.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:13PM
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macheske(6/7 NorthernVA)

Try this...

Here is a link that might be useful: vermont bean company

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:15PM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

Seems like beans are self pollinating and not hybrids. Planting ones from the grocery aisle would probably work....hmmmm....have to add another row to the garden plan.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:35PM
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Thanks for all your help. How are these dry beans normally harvested? Do I wait for the plant to die and the beans are dry in the hull and harvest all at one time?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 9:46PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

I would suggest either checking your seed catalogs for great northerns or planting some from a bag you get at the store, they are not processed or otherwise treated to prevent or inhibit germination. The pods are quite edible when green, just as snap beans are, however they are bred for seed production and not pod production, so the pods are a bit stringy. Raw in the field, the pods can make a nice snack, though.

Plant the seeds 2-4 inches apart in a row and grow as you would snap beans, but don't pick the pods until ripe. When the plant matures the leaves will start yellowing, drying, and falling off and the pods will turn from green to yellow to tan and dry down.

Northern's have a tendency to shatter when dry. When grown commercially, the plants are cut when the leaves are falling but before the pods are completely dry, then allowed to dry in rows for several days and thrashed--you know you should be thrashing when you stand in the field and hear periodic pops as the pods spring open and beans fly out. For a small plot, you can pick the pods when the plants are losing their leaves. The pods will be mostly buckskin colored, some will be dry and others will still hold good moisture but won't be "green", and allow to dry down on a screen or a well ventilated bag. When completely dry, just shell the beans out of the pods. If you are more serious into growing larger quantities of beans, you can get screens for cleaning most of the chaff out, etc.

Great northerns, pintos, navy beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc. are grown as developed varieties and do not readily cross pollinate, so seed will grow true to the parent.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 12:48AM
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beeone, great info. thanks for the help. I'll try these in the spring with 2 rows 100 ft. long. Should be enough to last the family for a year, maybe less. Will adjust the following year. I assume that once these beans are dried, cleaned, etc. you can just store them in a jar or a bag in the cabinet?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Yes, once they are dry you can store them in a jar or sack or tub or can. You truly don't even have to clean them as it can get to be quite a chore sometimes, but they will occupy a lot more space. Just clean what you are going to use at any one time if it gets to be too big a job at once. Do check periodically when you first put them away and make sure there isn't any moisture showing up. If they shell easily, though, they should be good and dry.

We always grab a bunch in the fall off the truck before it goes to the plant for cleaning, then store them in cans or storage tubs until we use them & clean the chaff, clods, etc. then. The bean quality is best if they are relatively fresh. Beans kept for several years will lose their bright color and will not cook up nearly as soft as fresh ones, though they are still perfectly edible.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 1:23AM
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hello about great northernbeans i used the ones you buy at the store a few days ago wrapped them in a wet paper towel and grew so you can just go to the store and buy a pack and grow them it is very very easy and they grow fast they are 18 inch spacing and a vining bush

    Bookmark   October 24, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Do great northern beans grow in Florida?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Do great northern beans grow in Florida?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 8:38PM
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I successfully grow the very similar navy bean in Gainesville, Florida. It works out best as a fall crop planted in late August so that the beans will mature and dry during the cooler, drier weather of late November. Both navy beans and great northerns require about 90 days to mature.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 4:19PM
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