The heirloom dry bush bean arrived in Coupeville, WA in the late 1800s when Elisha Rockwell brought them to the area. This gem became favored on Whidbey Island because of its ability to germinate in cool soil, early maturity, flavor, and ability to hold its shape when cooked. The beans are creamy-white with a mottled cranberry spot around the hilum. Our seed stock came from the Smith family, long-time seed stewards in Coupeville who worked effortlessly to popularize this bean among Seattle chefs. Due to a tragic fire in 2017, the Rockwell Bean stock was almost lost forever. With the support of the local community and chefs returning what little seed they had, a sufficient quantity was revived. Rockwell Beans are very rare and recently boarded on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste.
Photos of Melony harvesting Rockwell Beans and of the beans artfully spilling out of the jar courtesy of Melony Edwards.
Days to maturity: 80-85
Seeds per pack: 30
Germination rate: 87% on 04/23/21
Planting / harvesting notes
Plant in warm soil at least a couple weeks after the last danger of frost has passed. Sow directly in the ground at a depth of one inch, spaced every few inches in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to one plant every six inches.
Seed keeping notes
Beans are self-pollinating, though it is best to isolate different varieties of P. vulgaris by at least 25 feet (we do 75 feet to be sure) to avoid unwanted cross-pollination from flying insects. For seed saving, harvest the beans when their shells have become dried and crispy on the plants. Lay out the pods in a dry, sunny place to dry down further. Shell the beans and lay out the seeds in a well ventilated place away from direct sunlight for at least another few days to a week before storing for next year.