Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

We have some friends from Trinidad Tobago and they were complaining that they can't get pigeon peas. So I said I'll grow some for them.

You can get 'seed' supplies from Green Harvest and other seed places, but PPs are also a Indian grocers standard I recall in my foraging. Am I right?

Any legume junkies out there, I'm asking: 'Do wholefoods stores  also stock them?'

They are sold here as chicken food and a cover crop, but their culinary aspects are quite strong in certain cuisines.

I had made a big pot of  pelau and that requires PP. What an interesting dish that is.

So I'm asking for supply suggestions without having to go to too much fuss.

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If you leave a few on the vine they will self seed for you very easily like mine.Would love to grab some of the red type seeds of you one day.

I have only been separating the seeds between Tall and Short varieties. I'll try to remember to separate the different varieties, but I don't know if they grow true to the parent.

I wonder if they can be grown from cuttings? In theory, it might provide a reduction in the amount of time it takes for the tall ones to fruit with the bonus of being able to choose the colour.

I might give it a try just to see.

Yes I see : toor dal -- (I'm not dal savvy) but I couldn't understand why the PPs were so brightly yellow.

How this all started for me was in pursuit of fresh pigeon peas -- like what you've got still on your trees -- as grown, cooked and eaten in Caribbean cuisine.There they are eaten whole and not split.  That's not strictly dal usage --although since 35% of the population of Trinidad is of Indian origin there's a mix of food preferences and cultures.

But like so many times I post here -- it's all about finding stuff out. And when I look at these 'peas' I see a lot of value...

In India, de-hulled split cotyledons... of pigeon pea seeds are cooked to make dal (thick soup) for eating with bread and rice; while in southern and eastern Africa, and South America its whole dry seeds are used in a porridge like recipe. The fully grown seeds of pigeonpea when, harvested green  before loosing their green color, are used as fresh, frozen, or canned vegetable.

The University of Queensland has released the grain-type pigeon pea varieties Hunt, Quantum and Quest. These cultivars do not respond to day length and flower 60 to 80 days after emergence.
Hunt grows to 1 m high and flowers in 65 to 80 days.
Quantum matures marginally faster than Hunt and yields 18 per cent higher than Hunt in northern NSW.
Quest is the latest release and is the main variety recommended at the present time. It has similar maturity to Quantum (flowers in 65 to 80 days after emergence) but has larger, light-coloured seeds, which are more acceptable in the market place. Maturity occurs approximately 50 to 75 days after flowering....

The limitation to early planting appears to be a requirement for a minimum soil temperature of 18ºC ....Pigeon pea characteristically grows slowly and competes poorly with weeds, and low soil temperatures will lengthen the establishment phase.
The recommended planting time is from late November to early January. December is considered the best month to plant in normal seasons.(That's in NSW)

The deep taproot of  C. cajan draws water from deeper soil depths than most legumes,  so will not interfere with the  water uptake of other crops  and grasses.

Pigeon Pea has many uses in the garden. When planting fruit trees I plant a Pigeon Pea with larger trees or Comfrey with smaller trees. It’s very handy to have green leafy clippings close by to help feed the soil.
Use the lush green foliage as a chop and drop around fruit trees, in garden beds or over sweet potato or potato crops. I have many pigeon pea planted through the sweet potato area to allow for chopping and mulching over the sweet potato vines. This helps to improve the humus layer over the sweet potato.

At this point, I really can't find much of a down-side to these...I mean really, it fixes nitrogen, breaks up the soil down deep, it's perenneal, it's certainly productive, brings in loads of bees, low maintenence, easy on the water, mostly edible, good mulch and my biggest personal's a Bean Tree! No vines, no short's a tree...that makes beans! I mean, how good is that?!

My pigeon pea plants have just been discovered by a possum. They reach up from the ground and pull off the pods on the low-hanging branches. I'm not really bothered, I just thought it is interesting to note how possums will gradually figure out that something is edible, especially when they're a bit desperate at this time of year. I'm growing them for nitrogen fixing and so on rather than beans. There are also plenty of branches and pods out of the reach of possums.

Pigeon Pea Cajanus Cajun 2 types Mixed Packet

1x Mixed packet of 10+ fresh seeds from 2 very high yielding perennial varieties.
These are the two main heirloom varieties grown in extensively in India, Africa, Central America, and various other countries. Both have their good points, and we wouldn't do without either.
There is the larger beaned pink flowered form, that yields a bucket of beans, all at once, in 3-4 times a year(great for stocking the freezer!), or the bright Yellow that gets a steady crop of a handful or so for months and months.
You can pick them young and use them like any other bean, or wait till the fill out a bit and shell them like normal peas, or even wait a bit longer and use the dried peas in soups, stews casseroles, curries, lentil dishes etc etc etc etc etc .........
Massively popular everywhere they are grown, not just as a nutritious productive food crop, but also for a multitude of other uses.
They can be used as a pioneer species as they sink down nice deep roots, holding the top soil together, and fixing nitrogen and feeding the surrounding plants at the same time.
They can be cut back really hard after a harvest, and the leaves and stems are a great slow release fertilizer and mulch.
Grow them in a large pot if you want, or just wack them in the ground and forget about them.
In the harsh dry weather we have had last year, they were still looking great, put on heaps of flowers, peas and new growth, when most of our other stuff was long dead, unfortunately!
Minor frosts aren't an issue with them at all and "hardy" is an understatement!
Massively popular with the biodynamic movement, and organic farmers alike.
Very nutritious, for humans and animals alike. Chooks and guinea pigs love them, and the plants themselves are great trellises to grow our morning glory, loofah and bitter melon etc up!
If you plant a climbing bean or vine at the same time you plant the pigeon pea, its a great combination and you don't need a trellis!
Nothing more to say really.......... High protein, great taste, easy harvest, stay productive for more than 5years!
Just awesome! Oh yeah, looks really cool too!
Like a Christmas trees, with all the flowers and beans like the decorations...
Grown by us organically, no nasties, no chems, no problems!!!

1x Mixed packet of 10+ fresh seeds from 2 very high yielding perennial varieties.

I'm pretty sure these trees were grown from the seeds I got from Fair Dinkum Seeds, so I can vouch for their "high yielding" claim.

However, I wouldn't say that the yellow is less productive than the red at this point.

In fact, I would categorise them both as "incredibly prolific".

Beans! Sooo many BEANS!!!

In places, there are more beans than there are leaves, and there are still more and more flowers blooming.


I got the wee pack from FairDinkum last week: 2 heritage types of PP.looking forward to the same view you are getting.

Inasmuch as I'm in the groove: I made some great tasting dal from the dried whole, unsplit, peas.

Looking at your images, I'd think that legume sufficiency, even in small spaces, is viable.

Yum! I loooove Dahl! (Probably a real good thing)

If anyone else wants seeds...I think I'll have a few to share.

I wouldn't mind some of these high yielding variety of seed please Jan. I like to have plants around that produce lots of food without any hassle.

I have one PP plant coming up as a volunteer in the front yard but it's slow growing and I have no idea whether it's going to be productive or not.

I can see us all having a good pidgeon pea swap over when we meet next

The world's your oyster:

Pigeon pea has numerous cultivars suited to different growing areas and conditions. In India alone, more than 86 varieties existed as of 1964. Heights vary from tree types, tall varieties, smaller bushes and dwarf varieties. Tree types can reach more than 16 feet tall and grow in tropical areas with long growing periods. For cultivation in areas with shorter growing periods, short duration or early varieties take less time to produce fruit. Late varieties flower 175 to 430 days after planting, while early varieties bloom 90 to 320 days after planting.


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