Pigeon Pea, Cajanus cajan is a gardeners dream. This 10-foot-tall perennial shrub produces beautiful clusters of buzzing bee flowers, followed by pea pods with up to eight seeds. These seeds can be eaten unripe, chipped like peas, or eaten at different stages of maturity depending on desires. Not only does this plant produce an abundance of pea pods, the tender leaves and shoots are also edible! Pigeon Pea also acts as a nitrogen fixer, collecting nitrogen from the atmosphere and ‘fixing’ it in the soil. When cut back they release this nitrogen and make it available to other plants. This means they can be grown as a cover crop (cut back completely just as they start to flower) or used for toppings (cut back periodically when woody between 1-6 feet to regrow later).
Climate requirements of pigeon pea
The pigeon pea is susceptible to frost damage at all stages of growth. The most favorable temperature range is between 18-29°C (64-85°F). For the best seed yield bright sunlight is essential. Excessive cloud or shade produces spindly growth and poor seed set. There are short day, neutral day and intermediate types in the wild. They will not grow in areas higher than 1800 m.
Average rainfall between 600-100mm is most suitable. High yields are obtained when there is good rainfall in the first 2 months of growth followed by a dry period during flowering and harvest. The pigeon pea is relatively drought resistant.
Advantages/Benefits of Growing Pigeon Peas
Growing pigeon peas has several advantages or benefits. Here we are describing the most important advantages or benefits of growing pigeon peas.
- Pigeon pea plants are very strong and hardy. They can survive even in poor soil conditions and are able to tolerate dry weather.
- It is a nutritious and high protein pulse crop. The plants are perennial for up to 5 years.
- You can use all parts of pigeon pea plants. The leaves can be used as animal feed to feed livestock animals. And the wooden parts can be used for firewood.
- The pigeon pea plants grow quite quickly and provide good shade for other crops.
- The pigeon pea plants have a deep taproot. And they can take nutrients and water from deep in the soil. And for their deep taproot, the pigeon pea plants can be used to control soil erosion.
- In commercial production, the pigeon peas can make a good profit.
Soil Requirement for Planting Toor Dal:
This crop grows well on all types of soil but loam to sandy soil is suitable. This crop also does well in sloppy soils in the middle of the hills. It can be grown successfully on neutral soils with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. Make sure there will be no water logging in the field.
Read this: Cultivation of Tiger Plumes.
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