Saturday, 3 January 2009

Pigeon Pea

Botanical Name: Cajanus cajan syn. Cajanus indicus

Family: Fabaceae

Yesterday we finally planted out the Pigeon Pea plants I grew from Seed Savers' seeds. They were well overdue for planting out, all 15 of them crowded into a styrofoam box (which I use for seedlings) and quite tall already.

Pigeon pea grows as a shrub to about 3m high. I have one mature plant from last year's efforts growing on a terraced area behind the house with numerous other edibles and natives. Yesterday, we planted most of them around (outside) two sides of the duck yard, another one on the same terrace and one amongst some bananas.

This edible hedge will have many purposes:
- as animal fodder (the seeds are 25% protein and the leaves are also edible)
- food for humans (the seeds, cooked, become dahl)
- as mulch for themselves and nearby fruiting trees, pumpkin vines and banana plants
- nitrogen fixing for surrounding plants
- a windbreak
- to beautify the duck pen built from recycled materials

These shrubs have a lifespan of up to five years or so, but are quick-growing and can be started from seed when we need to re-plant.


Rhonda Jean said...

Pigeon peas are very under rated as a useful backyard plant. We also feed ours to the chooks while they're still green. The king parrots like eating them when they're green or brown. A great plant!

Anonymous said...

Yes here here Rhonda Jean I have lots of Pigeon peas I have some as a windbreak come shade for the chooks and when the cooler weather comes I thin the branches out for the girls to peck on. I have them on the northern side of my vege patch as a wind break and Gremlin loves them ( Horse)
I haven't ventured to cooking them as yet and have 100's of seeds saved.