It is understandable that growing and harvesting your vegetables is confusing, tiring yet gives a sense of satisfaction. If you are planning to Grow pigeon peas in containers, then you are at the right place.
Pigeon peas, also known as Cajanus Cajon, is a perennial plant. Pigeon peas are edible beans, which started gaining popularity in West Indies and then later on in the entire world. Pigeon peas can rise to 10 feet if it is appropriately fed.
The pigeon pea grows the best in areas that have moist climate and nutrient-rich soil. This plant requires a minimal amount of maintenance. The average life span of pigeon pea is about five years and should ideally be planted around late spring, late frost, or the early summer.
This plant can easily be planted in the pots, containers, patio, roof, etc. Before that, let us understand what pigeon peas exactly are.
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What exactly are pigeon peas?
As stated above, pigeon peas are known as Cajanus Cajan and belong to Fabaceae or the Leguminosae (legume family). Pigeon peas are evergreen shrubs and are perennial plants. The life span of pigeon peas is five years, and every year the production of the seeds decline.
The ideal climate for pigeon peas is sub-tropical or tropical. It grows appropriately in a warm environment with adequate water and is not frost tolerant. The pigeon peas are very adaptable and can easily tolerate all sorts of soils; they can quickly grow in soil with a low nutrient level and a pH of 5 to 8.
Since the pigeon peas are a part of the legume family, they work pretty well in producing bright yellow flowers. The seed pods initially have a green color, and then they slowly turn into brown color as they grow dry.
Growing pigeon peas from seed: The pigeon peas’ seeds have a high germination rate, and the pigeon peas have large seed pods. Once the peas are harvested and dried properly, they are ready for storage.
Pigeon pea is very useful. The foliage of the pea, once chopped, can be used as a soil improver. The seed pods can again be harvested for green pea.
Since they belong to the legume family, the pea can obtain and store nitrogen, and they achieve this with the help of the bacteria known as “rhizobium.” The rhizobium is found in the nodules of the plant roots and can easily take nitrogen from the air and then convert it so that the plants can use it. The process of Nitrogen Fixation also makes the pigeon peas as a nitrogen improver.
How to Grow Pigeon Peas at Home (Container)?
Planting pigeon peas is very easy and can be done successfully if you sow the seed with an inoculant. To receive good germination, you should soak the seeds overnight. You can plant it quickly in a pot, deck, patio, roof, or stoop.
Before you begin to pot the pigeon peas, keep in mind that you will have to water them frequently, which is about three times a day, and fertilize the soil since the nutrients quickly come out of the soil.
- First step: Choose the variety of the pea you want to plant. Ensure that you choose dark sized of the bush variety since they will not cover the entire area. Though almost all the plants from the legume family can grow at home, we would want something easily contained.
- Keep in mind that peas grow in the warm season, so plant them when the temperature is above 16 degrees Celcius.
- Second step: Choose the container; any container will work as long as it has holes. If it doesn’t have holes, make around three to five holes at 12 inches.
- Once the holes are made, fill in the container with soil. Fill the entire container; make sure that you have left about 1-inch space at the top.
- Third step: Take root cuttings from the plants and create a support system using bamboo poles.
- Then take the pea seeds and bury them at a distance of 5 cm from each other and about 1inch beneath the soil. Watering pigeon peas thoroughly is essential and also add 1-inch layer of mulch.
- Once all this is done, keep the container in a lightly shaded area for about 9 to 13 days until the germination. Then move them to the area that has full sun exposure.
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Caring for the Pigeon Peas
- Once you have planted everything and the germination is over, start keeping an eye on the plant. The plant shouldn’t be too dry, and the soil shouldn’t be too saturated; otherwise, the roots will rot.
- Fertilize the plant twice amidst its growing season with nitrogen fertilizer, after seedlings grow.
- Make sure to protect the container in which the peas are growing by moving them indoors in frost.
Harvesting Pigeon Peas
- As stated above, cover the green clipping of the plant with a layer of mulch, this will make sure that the nitrogen produced by the green leaves is contained, and the plant isn’t losing its moisture and nutrients.
- You can spray manure like bones, etc., as this will help in the decomposition of the pruning. Once the bones are sprinkled, you can add mulch and water to it.
- Since it’s a short-lived perennial, you will have to water it and plant them in larger numbers.
- Once the pigeon pea is removed from the pod, they can be eaten. The best way of storing the peas is to keep them in an airtight container.
Consumption of Pigeon Peas
- The pigeon peas are not only utilized as manure of plant supports
- Pigeon Peas are also grown for food use, and when harvested, the pea is removed from the pods. The dried peas are best stored in an air-tight container.
- Pigeon peas are used in cooking a lot of dishes, and they amplify the taste of burgers, curries, soups, dals, stews, etc. this is also the reason Asians use them in their meals.
- They are cooked in the same manner as lentils, soak them before using them, and cook quickly.
- The pigeon peas can also be used as a flour, soak them for some time, once they are spouted, ground them.
- The peas are high in proteins and vitamins and are easy to cook as well as grow.
Why pigeon peas are essential, for consumption and as a supports system
In Afghanistan, the farmers realized that pigeon peas work great as a cover crop; they provide green manure and break the wind. Then, later on, people started learning its nutritional value both for humans and live stocks.
Pigeon pea is a very sturdy plant and can quickly grow in any condition, be it drought or low-quality soil. Moreover, peas can be stored and dried easily.
Since pigeon peas have the nutritional value that can help livestock and humans, they are favoured all over the world, especially during the lean months in between the harvests.
Human nutritional value of pigeon peas
- Pigeon peas are an excellent source for dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins like phosphorus, potassium, copper, thiamine, and manganese.
- A 100 gram of pigeon peas provide around 114% of daily requires folate. The deficiency of folate is linked to heart diseases, stroke anemia, and congenital disabilities.
- Pigeon peas are like other legumes. They are low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats, so they are an excellent substitution for meats. Pigeon peas are a perfect way of eating a well-balanced diet.
- The digestibility of pigeon peas increases after being kept in a bowl of water or even a wet towel.
Health benefits of pigeon peas
#1 Pigeon peas help in preventing anemia.
As stated above, pigeon peas have high folate, which helps in preventing the onset of anaemia. The leading cause of anaemia is the deficiency of folate. It can easily be overcome by incorporating pigeon peas in the diet. You can have a cup of pigeon peas every day and prevent anaemia, and if you are anaemic, eating pigeon peas will help you stabilize your condition.
#2. Pigeon peas help in weight loss.
Pigeon peas consist of low-calorie amounts, cholesterol, and saturated fats, which is great for your body; furthermore, the legumes have a great dietary fibre content, which helps the person is avoiding the constant feel of snacking as the peas keep the stomach full for a longer period. Dietary fibre also helps in boosting metabolism and curbs weight gain.
#3 Pigeon peas boost energy.
Pigeon peas are a great source of niacin, vitamin b, and riboflavin; these three help prevent the unnecessary storage of fat. In turn, this boosts the energy level and helps enhance carbohydrate metabolism, which means the peas help your energy level without causing any weight gain.
#4 Pigeon peas reduce the inflammation in the body.
Pigeon peas have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they help reduce swelling and other inflammatory problems. The organic compounds present in the pigeon peas have anti-inflammatory agents and reduce all sorts of inflammation.
#5 Pigeon Improves growth and development
We all know that protein is the building block of our body and is essential for development and growth. Since pigeon peas have many proteins, it helps the body form cells, bones, tissues, and muscles. The pigeon peas also help in the regeneration of the cells, which further improves the normal healing process of the body
#6 Pigeon peas help in balancing blood pressure
Pigeon pas has huge amounts of potassium in it, which helps balance the blood pressure levels of the body. The potassium world is to act as a vasodilator that works on reducing the blockage present on the blood vessels while lowering the blood pressure. If the pigeon peas are consumed regularly, they will help clear out the blockages caused by the blood vessel. So pigeon peas are extremely useful for people suffering from any hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
Pigeon peas help in improving the immune system.
Legumes are very beneficial for our health, especially in the raw form, and this works the same for pigeon peas. Raw pigeon peas have more nutrients than the cooked ones.
Consumption of raw legumes in the absorption of vitamin c, which gets reduced by an amount of 25% once cooked, so To get the legume’s vitamins and improve the immune system of the body, it is better to consume the legumes in a raw form. This will help in stimulating the production of white cells and also work as an antioxidant. Incorporate legumes in your diet and improve the overall wellness of your body
#7 Pigeon peas improve digestive health.
Pigeon peas are a rich source of dietary fiber and work as the central component that improves digestive health. Moreover, the fiber content in the legumes increases the nutrient absorption and the digestion process of the work by adding bulk in the stool. This will further reduce any cause of inflammation and strain the body. The legume’s fiber content also works in easing the bowel movements and, if taken regularly, helps reduce cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and other bowel-related issues.
#8 Pigeon peas work towards easing the menstrual disorders.
Because of the fiber content in pigeon peas, the peas help in dealing with the menstrual disorder, and it helps in dealing with cramps and lowering the pain.
Growing pigeon peas at home needs no prior experience. You only need the will to grow them.