Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean
Seed Count: Approx. 15 Seeds
Days to Maturity: 65-85 days
Pole variety, Snap/Dry Bean
Description: Cherokee Trail of Tears, also known as Cherokee Black, is a versatile bean variety that can be used as a snap or dry bean. It is one of my favorite varieties to grow, because I find it to be quite ornamental. The 6 inch pods are green with hints of purple, and hold beautiful, shiny, jet black beans. The flavorful dry bean is super versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes like, salsa, chili, rice, and my favorite, burritos. However, the Cherokee Trail of Tears is my absolute favorite variety to pick, while young and tender, to use as a green bean. They're flavorful and crisp, and sometimes they don't even make it into the house. It grows on vigorous 8 ft. vines, and boasts some of the cutest little light purple flowers around. This bean was originally introduced to the Seed Savers Exchange by Dr. John Wyche. It's a bean that has quite an incredible and tragic history. His Cherokee ancestors carried the bean over the trail of tears, during the infamous winter death march, in 1838, where they were forced to migrate from their homes, in the Smokey Mountains, to Oklahoma. It inevitably left a trail of suffering and 4,000 graves. However, because of his brave ancestors, we have a beautiful bean variety that survived the test of time and hardship, that we are able to grow and appreciate in our own home gardens.
How To Grow
Sowing: Beans thrive in heat and humidity. They should be direct sown when the weather is fairly warm, and the soil temp. reaches at least 75 degrees F. Plant in average soil. Too much fertilizer will burn your bean plants.; these beans like full sun. Plant the seeds 1" deep and 3" apart, later thinning to 6-8" apart. Keep the ground moist until germination, which should occur within 7-10 days.
Growing: Beans need to be trained on a trellis of at least 7' to support its vigorous vining habits. Protection may be needed, if cold weather threatens. Since dry weather stunts the growth of the pods, water the plants when the soil completely dries out, but do not keep them swamped with water. Watch out for aphids and mites, which can be a big problem with this bean. Plant with marigolds, corn, potatoes, and eggplants. However, avoid growing near all members of the allium family, and sunflowers.
Harvesting: Pick the beans for fresh eating, and check the vines often. Fully mature beans can be dried and used as soup beans. Fresh beans are best used immediately, but will keep in the fridge for several days. To save seeds, allow the pods to mature fully and dry on the vine. If frost or rainy weather threatens before your beans are dry, pull the plants and allow them to dry indoors. They should be completely dry 10-15 days later. Remove the seeds from the pods by hand, and store the seeds in a cool, dry place for up to 3 years.