Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Edible Legumes As Weed Choking Ground Cover

Several weeks ago I sprinkled most of a bag of Red Chori beans from India (some botanists feel it is the same as Red Adzuki beans) over much of my newly revamped southeast bed, covered them with a couple inches of oak leaves, then deep watered. Germination was RAPID and tropical storm Debby dumped NINE inches on my yard which really kicked them into high gear. Not really a bean (Phaseolus) but a Vigna species it THRIVES in summer in Tampa. The flowers are a lovely lavender at sunrise but by afternoon are a muted yellow. By working with Rhizobia bacteria, the roots convert atmospheric nitrogen gas into natural nitrate fertilizer, thus improving your soil while choking out weeds. The pods, if picked when young and green and tender, are wonderful raw or added to stir fry and omelets and soups. Those allowed to ripen and turn tan provide seeds that can be cooked like any dried bean or saved to plant the following spring. I am very likely going to open the gate this fall and let the chickens in to feast on the dying vines and ripe seeds and the few surviving weeds, with their pooping further boosting fertility.

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