Monday, March 3, 2014

Bamboozled by Bambara beans

Many of you will have followed my adventures with Bambara beans and here is this seasons last installment.

From the beginning: After having a hard time getting them and at an extraordinary cost I finally managed to get 8 beans. Of those eight I only managed to grow 4 plants.

These plants were always sickly and tiny, not getting above 10cm in height so I have been worried about them all along as I doubt I will be able to get more seeds unless I can find a friend who can help.
Anyway, these 4 plants started flowering well a few weeks ago and I had high hopes of getting some seed.


This morning, as I noticed that the plants had died down I did a bit of a scrabble at the bases in the hope of finding some pods. Yay, there was one pod per plant, not a lot but better than nothing. With the number of flowers I really did expect more though. Four seeds to replace the four plants. Note that the green plant in the first picture is a small skirrit plant, not the Bambara bean which was in front of it, you can see the dry leaf stalks of the bean behind my hand..

At least I have a bit more experience in growing them now and I hope that these precious few seeds will make some better plants next year and a whole lot more pods. Luckily these plants are self pollinating, lol.

Bamabara beans (Vigna subterranea) love poor soil and are drought and high temperature tolerant and also very nutritious so I hope I can get them growing next year as they will be perfect for some of the dryer spaces in my blocks. They are native to West Africa and develop their pods under the ground like peanuts. As they are a legume they also add nitrogen to the soil.  

In other news, I finely harvested my first watermelon today, it was delicious and oh so juicy. It was a 'White Wonder' which has white flesh. I appreciated every mouthful as I have not had much luck with my watermelons this season, like all the summer veg. I never really liked watermelon before I started growing them. Like most veg, home grown ones taste so much better than the supermarket ones and they have more flavour as seedlessness is linked to poor flavour genes which is why your own taste better.


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