(Lablab purpureus) Heirloom native to Africa & one of the most ancient crops. Also known as 'Poor Man's Bean'. A very versatile plant producing edible pods with a strong 'beany' flavour which may be cooked like fresh green beans, or left to mature to produce black seeds to be cooked as a legume. May also be used for bean sprouts. Young leaves may be eaten raw in salads & olders leaves used like spinach. Purple flowers may also be eaten either raw or steamed, & its large, starchy tubers may be boiled or baked. It should be noted that the raw, mature, dried beans are poisonous and can cause vomiting and even convulsions and unconsciousness. They are however edible when cooked correctly using two changes of water during the cooking process to remove toxins.
High yields. Frost sensitive but will tolerate light frost once established. Drought tolerant. Due to its deep root system down to 2m it is capable of extracting a wide range of nutrients & is useful for breaking up hard, compacted soils.
As a green manure crop it is useful in fixing nitrogen & adding organic matter back into the soil. Plants are best dug back into the soil when the leaves are still fresh & green after approx. 8 weeks after planting. Allow the green manure to break down in the soil for up to 4 weeks before planting any vegetables.
Beneficial when used as a fodder crop being very palatable & attractive to grazing animals.
Best grown in warmer areas during Spring, Summer, or all year in tropical regions.
Smaller packets are ideal for the home garden.
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