Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gandule Beans/Pigeon Peas

Gandule Beans (Pigeon Peas) are a stand alone legume crop SUPER easy in Florida in summer...can be perennial if winters are mild. I suspect that they would thrive as an annual crop all along the Gulf coast and even in northern states where summers are long, hot and humid. I think the botanical name is Cajun cajunus or the reverse of that or something close....I've been growing them since the mid 80s so I have no idea why I continue to have a mental block about their botanical name! It gets 6-8 feet tall fast in fertile soil that is not too heavily acid, but a light sprinkling of dolomite annually would correct that. The young leaves are great in stir fry and soups, and to feed to poultry, plus the raw flowers are lovely in salads. I find the green pods a real pain to shuck.....I don't see how folks in the Caribbean manage to do that! Someone told me they have a hand cranked shucking machine that does it. So I cook my green pods in water with salt, garlic, sometimes hot peppers and eat them like edamame soybeans as finger food. Just buy a bag of the "beans" in the Hispanic foods section and sow them 1 inch deep and 2-3 feet apart. They grow FAST and thus can be a great emergency privacy screen around a hot tub or outdoor shower. If I can find pics of the blooms I will attach them. This crop is an excellent soil nitrifier perfect for farmers who rotate crops. Good forage for livestock too. No pests that I know of. Loves rich damp soil. A bag of the beans is about $1.50 so you'd get thousands of viable seeds very cheaply that way vs. buying them from a seeds catalog...give them a try! John

1 comment:

  1. Moving to Florida soon, I shall try these. Thanks