Pigeon Pea - the ultimate multi-tasking plant
Pigeon Peas! These beneficial plants are popular in permaculture gardens, serving many uses… the fresh green peas can be eaten, although their dry form is most preferred, eaten as you would any dried peas / beans / lentils (dhal is made from pigeon peas). The dried peas can also be ground into a flour. All parts of the plant make great animal fodder and chickens especially love them. We have a number of pigeon peas planted in one of the larger chicken pens. Their edibility extends to the soil as well, with the roots feeding the soil with nitrogen and improving soil structure. They can be frequently pruned and used as mulch and make wonderful windbreaks to protect smaller trees and other plants.
Another useful function of the pigeon pea is that they can perform as a living trellis for climbing plants. The bees also benefit and are attracted to their flowers.
So, all in all, a very versatile and extremely easy plant to grow that has a fondness for our sub-tropical climate! If interested in adding pigeon peas to your home garden and you know of someone already growing them, kindly ask them for some of their pods to plant out. Most gardeners are happy to share!