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This mix of pole beans produces a fantastic soup bean mix in all colors - black, brown, gray, white, striped, and speckled. Could also be used as a multi-purpose crop for snap beans as well, but expect some variation in the pods. The beans of different colors have been grown and saved all together for several years now by Chris Smith of Leicester, NC (where he also heads up The Utopian Seed Project). Chris says the origins of the variation is a little mysterious - he started with some beans that looked uniform and were labeled as Cherokee Trail of Tears, but got more than he bargained for and just rolled with it. He’s shared some of the dry beans with Asheville area chefs and gotten rave reviews. Grow some Magic beans, save some seeds, and see what sorts of variations come out of your crop!
Mountain Magic Mix beans can be direct-seeded in a location with full sun after all danger of frost has passed. They will need a trellis to climb, so make sure to have one in place before or shortly after planting. Dry beans will be ready to harvest in about 90 days. 14 gram packet contains approximately 45 seeds.
SMALL FARM GROWN by The Utopian Seed Project, Leicester, NC
|Avg. Seeds/ Packet||Packet Weight||Planting Season||Planting Method|
|45||14 g||after last frost||direct seed|
|Seed Depth||Direct Seed Spacing||Soil Temp. Range||Days to Sprout|
|Mature Spacing||Sun Requirement||Frost Tolerance||Days to Harvest|
Bush beans need full sun and well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. Amending your bed with an inch or two of well-aged compost before planting can help your beans produce a larger crop, but avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, since too much nitrogen can cause beans to over-produce leaves and not put much energy into flowers and pods.
It’s a good idea to inoculate your bean seeds with legume inoculant, to ensure the plants have all the symbiotic microbes they need to help them fix nitrogen. These bacteria are naturally occurring in soil, but may be in low numbers in some gardens, particularly areas that have been recently converted from lawns, or where the soil is depleted. The easiest way to apply legume inoculant is to get your bean seeds a little wet in a bowl or bucket, then sprinkle the powder over them, mix with your hand, then plant right away.
Plant bush bean seeds 1 inch deep and 1 to 3 inches apart in rows 1 to 2 feet apart. Thin the seedlings to 3 inches apart once they get their first true leaves. If you started with good, rich soil, the beans shouldn’t need any further fertilizer. Make sure they get about 2 inches of water per week. Keep an eye out for pests like Mexican bean beetles (which look like large orange ladybugs, or bright yellow larvae) and pick off any you find. Beans can fall prey to many diseases, particularly in hot and humid weather, but often bush beans will “outrun” the diseases and produce a crop before they succumb. Plant successions every 2 weeks throughout the summer until 10 weeks before your first frost. Pick bush beans when the pods have reached full length but the seeds inside have not yet filled out.
Common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) including bush beans and pole beans typically self-pollinate and only need to be isolated by about 20 feet from other bean varieties in order to save pure seed. Note: favas, runner beans, and asparagus beans are not the same species, and require more isolation distance. To collect viable bean seeds, wait to harvest until the pods turn brown on the plants. In dry climates, beans can be left to dry completely on the plants, but if you live in an area with high humidity or a lot of rain during the late summer and fall when beans are maturing, it’s a good idea to bring the mature pods indoors to finish drying on screens or spread out in a single layer on newsprint. Most gardeners shell their saved beans out of the pods by hand, though they can also be threshed and winnowed in large batches. Make sure your beans have completely dried down before storing them in sealed containers in a dark, dry, and cool location.