Monday, 12 June 2017

Pigeon Pea - a perennial permaculture pioneer plant with Morag Gamble

Pigeon Pea (Cajanus cajan) is a super useful permaculture plant. This legume has so many valuable uses in the garden, on the farm and in the kitchen. It would have to be one of my favourite permaculture plants and you'll always find it somewhere, if not in many places, around my garden.


Getting a garden started with Pigeon Pea

It is so useful in helping to get a permaculture garden started. It is a hardy pioneer plant which grows quickly and improves the soil and microclimate for other plants to grow.  It grows only for 4-5 years which is good because in that time, your fruit tree that it was protecting should be hardy enough.

I add the easily harvested leaves to compost, to no-dig gardens and regularly use it as a chop and drop mulch. Because the leaves are soft and small, they decompose rapidly.

It can start off in some pretty difficult conditions, tolerate a variety of soils and is very drought tolerant. It gets going in the warm season and produces an abundant harvest.  It really doesn't mind being hedged too so you can fit it into smaller urban gardens.


Pigeon Pea on the farm

On the farm, pigeon pea is a great fodder plant for animals such as cows, pigs and chickens, and makes a great alley-cropping plant in an orchard situation.


Pigeon Pea in the kitchen

In the kitchen, the green peas can be used like standard peas, but have way more vitamin A and C. The way I mostly use it is as a dried pea. I let them dry on the shrub then harvest and shell them. This makes a great dahl and people in India have been doing this for thousands of years.


Pigeon Pea Film

Here's the link to my latest video all about Pigeon Pea (5:20 min).



I'd love to hear about how you use pigeon pea in your garden and also your favourite recipes using both the green and dried peas.

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