Forest Friday is looking at the Pigeon Pea – Cajanus cajan.
“Knowledge is great, understanding is better”
This is a chance for us to explore the different trees we use in our permaculture designs. There is so much to understand about a tree before placing it in a system, and by giving a tree what it needs to thrive, the whole system can benefit from the many design and ecologic functions they provide.
Savour Soil uses the Pigeon Pea – Cajanus cajanin many designs, as a living hedge, IPM (integrated pest management) and privacy screen, fertility tree ad fodder but there is so much more to this tree.
- Cultivated in all tropical and semitropical regions, though can tolerate dryer climates.
- Perennial, in which the crop can last three to five years
- It responds well to coppicing as it is fast growing.
- Wind tolerant and drought hardy
- It is easily propagated by seeds all year.
- Light green foliage
Needs, Tolerances + Susceptibilities:
- Pigeon Pea is very drought-resistant
- Established plants rarely need watering, except in extremely long dry periods.
- It can be burned by a light frost.
- Will tolerate most soils provided they drain well.
- Tolerates rainfall less than 650 mm annual rainfall
- Young plants require watering as they establish.
Charactoristics + Behaviours:
- Pigeon pea is a evergreen shrub.
- Growing 2-4m tall with a similar spread.
- Small yellow flowers in spring to autumn.
- It has lance/olate to elliptical light green shape leaves which can help to capture and retain some heat helping to create cooler conditions.
- A shallow root system makes it easy to remove if necessary
- sprinkle of good compost around the base of the plant annually in spring.
- Has a dense foliage to help support habitat for small birds.
- Due to its height and spread it creates a fantastic low level wind break + shelterbelt.
- Can be used to help create microclimates
- Can be planted around trees to help provide fertility
- Small animals can use it for shade.
- Can be used as a living fence or windbreak that hedges easily.
- Provides erosion control and builds soil.
- Can be used as a cover crop
- Makes a great living trellis
- Most eaten legume in the world – pulses
- Is a fantastic Insectary/nectary plant, great fodder for animals
- Self-replicating mulch
- Edible legumes
- Grows quickly and provides lots of organic material.
- Structure and flowers provide food and home for insects and birds
- Fodder for animals.
- Pigeon pea grows quickly helping to create microclimates
- Pigeon pea builds organic matter which helps nourishes soil.
- Using Pigeon pea as a companion helps build soil fertility.
- Habitat for small birds which frequent the garden.
- Fodder for insects and other animals
What to read next?
In the intricate tapestry of permaculture design, incorporating fertility-bearing plants emerges as a cornerstone principle. These green allies...
In permaculture, where sustainable and holistic practices are essential, few plants are as cherished and versatile as rosemary (Rosmarinus...
Differentiating Agroforestry Part 5- Food Forests, Forest Gardens, Syntropic Farming, Holistic Orchards (While there is much diversity within...