Even though we are in the month of September, most of us are already planning for Christmas. In the Caribbean, it is a Christmas tradition to have green pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan) in our pots. The bright green colour of these sweet peas is seen in our curries, stews, vegetable pies and rice mixes.
The pigeon pea is a leguminous perennial plant that has a lifespan of three to five years once maintained. These trees thrive in the rainy season and also display a high drought tolerance. Growing a pigeon pea tree is very simple and if planted today, you can harvest your own pea pods just in time for Christmas.
The following is a planting guide for growing green pigeon peas:
Obtain seeds from your preferred agro shop. In a desired area, create a hole four to six inches deep and place one seed into the hole. Cover the hole and water generously ensuring that the soil is damp.
Ensure that the seed is planted in an area where you have full or partial sunlight. If planting multiple seeds, ensure that each hole is dug 12–15 inches apart. Seeds will start to germinate 12 to 15 days after planting and you can then add your first application of an all-purpose slow-release fertiliser with equal parts NPK approximately four inches from the plant’s base.
Eliminate step 1 if your agro shop grows pigeon pea seedlings and directly plant the seedling into the soil. After planting the seedling, you can add an all-purpose, slow-release fertiliser four inches from the plant.
Water your seedlings twice or thrice weekly and fertilise once per month. As your seedlings grow, create a molding around your trees.
Trees can start flowering from two months and pods can appear in three to four months once proper watering and fertilising is maintained.
Once you harvest your pigeon peas, allow a couple of pods to dry so that you will have more seeds to share with family and friends and to plant in the future.
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