A few months ago I visited Jerry Coleby-Williams garden, Bellis. There were loads of pigeon pea plants growing in his garden. This got me thinking about the pigeon peas that was planted in our garden years ago.
Why We Started Growing Pigeon Pea
The reason that we grew Pigeon Pea in our garden was for permaculture reasons. We had just moved into a new house. There were existing fruit trees, but no lemon tree. We really wanted a lemon tree so one went into the ground. Near this lemon tree we planted a Pigeon pea.
The reason we did this is because pigeon pea is a multi-use plant.
You can use the leaves as a chop-and-drop crop for mulch. It means chopping the leaves and then dropping them around the drip line of your fruit trees. We grew comfrey around our fruit trees for the same reason.
Pigeon pea is a legume. Legumes are a nitrogen fixing plant. Nitrogen is important for lush growth in plants. Growing plants such as these can improve nitrogen in the soil without having to use chemical fertilisers.
This plant has a deep tap root. Use this to your advantage. Deep roots means that pigeon pea can access nutrients locked deep down in the soil. Comfrey also does the same.
There are other uses for Pigeon Pea. We didn’t initially grow this plant for these reasons, but they are good to know.
- Great as a hedge, windbreak or living trellis.
- Its flowers attract bees. Yay! Bonus. I must say that I love pigeon pea flowers, the contrast between the deep red and vibrant yellow makes me happy.
- Seeds are edible. After hearing Jerry talk about how he soaks the seeds and uses them in meals, I’m interested in this one. My pigeon peas do have seed pods at the moment. Now just to get around to the soaking and preparing!
Want to Grow Pigeon Pea
Pigeon Pea prefers a sub tropical to warm climate. It is super easy to grow from seed. So easy, that you will get random plants pop up in your garden when the plant seeds.
Tip – Soak your seeds overnight to improve germination. You will also need to inoculate your seeds to get the nitrogen fixation advantages. Green Harvest sells Pigeon Pea seeds with the inoculant.
Do you grow Pigeon Pea in your garden? We would love to hear your Pigeon Pea experience! Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Like to know how to prepare Pigeon peas for eating? Then read Pigeon peas: A sweet summer addition to the edible garden.
And to get you started, here is a Pigeon Pea Curry Recipe.