Cherokee Trail of Tears is an easy bean to grow and I love the color ... a shiny purple black! Seed Savers Exchange offers the bean for sale and some history to go along with it. This bean grows on vines and is called a pole bean so a fence, trellis or nearby sunflower stalks will help the growing process.
Last year I left the beans on the the vines to totally dry before I harvested them. This year I decided to harvest a bit earlier in hopes of encouraging a second harvest and I do see some new pink/purple flowers happening already. As you can see in the photo above the beans are at various stages of maturity. Some are brittle and dry; the tan color, some are a deep purple while others are a reddish color. The green color beans are new and should be left on the vine since the beans inside are not yet ready.
The beans in the tan pod are totally dried out and do not need any further drying. The others should be left to dry before sealing them up in a container otherwise they will mold. Here I spread them all out on a cookie sheet and will leave them to dry for several weeks. This harvest is about 2 lbs. ... a nice amount to save for future meals. Next year I will grow more and quite possibly give as gifts for Christmas - an unusual gift and homegrown all the way!
I am anticipating the harvest of the Cushaw Squash which will be soon - these babies are Huge! I have two that I will harvest next week and take down south with us hoping it is not too soon. Since we will be gone I rather take the chance of harvesting now instead of losing them while we are gone.