Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Cherokee Trail of Tears...

A chum sent me some seeds of ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears’ beans. She’s a great gardener, with lots of skill and clearly the right temperament for a shared passion. Looking up the origin of the name, I uncovered a large piece of American history attached to the Cherokee Nation, and it makes for uncomfortable reading.

In a nutshell, the Cherokee Indians were hounded around on their settlements, and eventually kicked out of their promised land when gold was found on their new territories. They were transported from their homes by boats in the summer of 1838, and about 4,000 souls died from disease, exposure and famine. The journey has long been chronicled as ‘The Trail of Tears’.

President Andrew Jackson, a Democrat no less, authorised The Indian Removal Act, not long after a force of 500 Cherokee fighters had saved his life, and what remained of his army at The Battle of Horseshoe Bend, in 1814. Nice guys these Democrats.

Back to the beans.

They were just a small part of the allowance for the Indians’ enforced travel, and some of the original black beans were taken by the refugees and planted as soon as they had enough ground to make a sowing.

They are a fabulous crop, the green early growth is a sweet, tender version of a runner bean, and has a texture unlike any other vegetable. When the beans mature on the pole, they turn black, and can then be harvested for use later on. Like all pulses, they are a rich source of protein and fibre, so are really a superveg in their own right, with a long useful growing season, and a great addition to any further menus in the winter.

We’ve grown enough to use during the summer, and also just finished podding about two pounds of the little black beans which will go in the various soups and casseroles which Mrs O’Blene creates at every opportunity! And all this from just fourteen plants!

I suppose I’ll never stop learning about growing things, and this little piece of history makes for much research and interest, with perhaps more than a little bitterness at why after all these years, a tiny black bean builds into a big and rather unpleasant record of bad times for some great people.


A K Haart said...

Interesting - how tall did they grow on the pole?

Thud said...

Thanks for the lesson, I may give them a go.

rvi said...

We don't do much - or indeed any - veggie production these days. Our garden is full of flowers instead. But back in the day each year I used to construct the "wigwam" of bamboo poles for runner beans. We had a small glass entrance to protect the front door which made an excellent greenhouse. A small ledge held about 20 used mini yoghurt pots filled with fresh potting compost into which, at the appropriate time, one of last year's carefully kept beans was inserted to germinate. When the shoots were about 2 inches tall they were transferred into the ground at the base of the poles - and we spent the next three months watching them gradually climb up and across the strings and sprout pounds and pounds of fresh runner beans.

I seem to vaguely recall some time ago an (EU?) edict banning runner beans, but that did not stop us growing our own. Up the revolution!

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

I used a wigwam of 6 ft canes, Mr H, and they easily got to the top.

At first, all you see is greenery and you think, 'Sod that, what a waste of effort', until you notice the beautiful flowers and some small pods at ground level!

They're the ones to take, and steam whole, and they are just gorgeous!

We're drying most of the crop for winter...

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

Go for it Thud!

I reckon Mrs Thud would really enjoy her special cooking skills as they're such a delicate veg, and need careful attention - rather like Mrs Thud I imagine..;0)

Sen. C.R.O'Blene said...

That's the real story on runners isn't it Reevers!

Nobody round here takes any notice of the EU, we all use banned stuff as a matter of course as it's a busted flush as you'd see if you bother to spend an hour reading hilarious posts on

Required reading and saves time watching the crappy lefties overheating with rage!