'Magic Mix' Pole Bean
Origin: Western North Carolina
Improvement status: Breeding population
Seeds per packet: ~35
Germination tested 12/2023: 99%
Life cycle: Annual
This story is an excellent example of finding some lemons and making lemonade! We'll let Utopian Seed Project founder and breeder Chris Smith take it from here:
"The 'Magic Mix' pole bean is an ongoing mystery. About 8 years ago I planted 'Cherokee Trail of Tears', a well-known black-seeded pole bean that was carried along the Trail of Tears by Cherokee seed keepers as they were forcibly expelled from their ancestral homelands in Tennessee in the 1830s. The seeds I planted were from renowned seed (and especially bean) saver, Mr. Bill Best. They were the only beans I grew that year and I saved the beautiful purple beans for replanting the following year. The following year the beans exploded into a wide diversity of phenotypes and have continued to shift and express themselves over time. In the early days of the mystery I corresponded with Mr. Best and we couldn't fathom how this happened given the low level of outcrossing and complete isolation of the beans. I've stopped trying to solve the mystery and have since taken to calling them my "Magic Beans", secretly hoping my superpower is to induce random and beautiful genetic diversity in legumes. This theory was reinforced when I planted pink 'Maggie Flowers' bush beans and they became pole beans that showed pink, brown white and green seeds. In 2023 I combined my Magic Beans with the new 'Maggie Flowers' magic beans as the final step in fully embracing this beautiful mix of (probably mostly) pole beans. One reason I love planting these beans is that they always produce a healthy crop of green beans and seeds despite heavy bean beetle pressure. We don't spray or irrigate and have saved these seeds for multiple years, so it's safe to say they're quite tough!"
Embrace the mystery and diversity of these magic beans! And let us know if anything especially cool crops up for you!!
These seeds were grown by Chris and the Utopian Seed Project team in western North Carolina.
GROWING TIPS: Grow as any other pole bean, planting directly in the soil an inch deep after last threat of frost has passed and soil has begun to warm up. Provide a trellis, fence, or other good support for these climbing twining beans.