Monday, October 28, 2013

Bambara bean

It was drizzly all day today so I didn't get anything done which leaves me with nothing to talk about but my sister will not be happy if I don't update tonight so I have decided to spend a few minutes on Bambara Beans (Vigna subterranea).

I am trying them for the first time this year as the seeds have been so hard to get even though I have heard that they were trialed at one time in Australia. They are a highly nutritious legume that is called one of the 'lost crops' of Africa. I seem to be collecting quite a few of the lost crops of many countries.

It is a small bush that grows like a peanut in that the seeds develop under the ground like peanuts. They love high temperatures and poor, sandy soils, and don't do well if fertilised which might make them perfect in my blocks.

When they are dry the seeds are very hard and resistant to insect attack and store forever but need a lot of boiling to make them edible which is why people often eat them raw or cooked while they are still immature. They are used in many ways from grinding into flour to snacks and used like dry beans. Apparently the taste is acceptable so they might make a good crop to sell at markets, especially as I could store them to sell in spring when I don't have much else.

I'm hoping that is they cope with a bit of water they could be valuable to put nitrogen in the soil when planted with my melons. Their growth habits should fit together well. I only have half a dozen seeds which are germinating now so I hope they all grow well to provide a good amount of seeds for next year.




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