Maine Sunset Shell & Dry Bean - Sustainably Grown


Maine Sunset Shell & Dry Bean - Sustainably Grown

Phaseolus vulgaris
(85 days) Open-pollinated. An everbearing variation of the Soldier-type featuring beautiful plump round-oval ivory-white beans irregularly splotched with brownish-maroon splashes around the hilum. A wonderful baking bean with a creamy texture and rich flavor when cooked, comparable to Maine Yellow Eye. Good yielder.

Back in the ’30s, quite near here over on Knox Ridge, a farmer named Bantam passed along some bean seeds he liked to his mailman. Skip ahead to 2015. Fedco staffer Megan O’Brien had just bought a farm in the area and wanted to grow local dry beans. She asked Cedric, brother of the prior farm owner, if he’d heard of Maine Sunset. In typical Maine fashion, he hedged for a bit—then produced a coffee can of beans. His father was the mailman and his family had been growing the seeds all along on that very same land. His parents had discovered the beans “ripen to the fully dry stage somewhat earlier than other favorites like Jakes and Yellow Eye and were every bit as good as baked beans.” So, from the original strain, Sunset returns to our catalog after a long hiatus.

337 Maine Sunset - Sustainably Grown
Item Discounted
A: 2oz for $3.25  
unavailable, crop failure
B: 8oz for $8.50  
unavailable, crop failure
C: 1lb for $13.00  
unavailable, crop failure
D: 5lb for $50.00  
unavailable, crop failure
E: 10lb for $95.00  
unavailable, crop failure
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Additional Information

Shell and Dry Beans

  • Average 130 seeds/2oz packet. 2 oz packet sows 25 ft; 1 lb, 200 ft. All bush beans except where noted.
  • Days to maturity are from emergence after direct sowing.

Culture: In conditions of high nitrogen fertility some bush beans may develop vines in moist hot weather. Tender, will not survive frost. Plant 3–4 seeds/ft in rows 24–30" apart. Pick frequently for maximum yields, but avoid disturbing foliage in wet weather to prevent spread of fungal diseases.

Harvest at shelling stage when beans are plump inside pods. For dry beans let pods dry hard on the vine until pressing the beans with your fingernail leaves no indentation. If heavy rains or hard frost threaten before full dry maturity, either pull plants by the roots and hang them in a dry place to finish; or pick pods into mesh or paper bags and finish drying them indoors before threshing.


  • All beans are open-pollinated.
  • Days to maturity are from emergence after direct sowing.

Culture: Tender, will not survive frost. Plant seeds 3–4" apart in rows 24–30" apart after all danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Minimum germination soil temperature 60°; optimal range 60–80°. White-seeded beans are generally more sensitive to cold soil temps than dark-seeded varieties. Legumes have moderate fertility needs and can fix their own nitrogen (inoculate with Guard-N Combo Legume Inoculant). Excessive nitrogen may induce some bush varieties to develop vines in moist hot weather.

Saving Seed: Saving bean seed is easy! Leave pods on the plants to dry. Hand shell, or stomp pods on a tarp. To ensure true-to-type seed, separate varieties by 30 feet.


  • ANTH: Anthracnose
  • BBS: Bacterial Brown Spot
  • CBMV: Common Bean Mosaic Virus
  • CTV: Curly Top Virus
  • DM: Downy Mildew
  • HB: Halo Blight
  • NY 15: NY 15 Mosaic Virus
  • PM: Powdery Mildew
  • PMV: Pod Mottle Virus
  • R: Rust
  • SC: Sclerotina

White mold, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, affects more than 300 plant species. In beans, low humidity, good air circulation and wider spacing, both between plants and between rows, reduce the likelihood of this soil-borne infection.


Germination Testing

For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.