Which legume to grow?

silkcom(5)December 18, 2012

I'm hoping to add nitrogen into my raised beds. I have a crop of garlic in most of the beds, but am looking for something that will grow well after the garlic is out. Evidently garlic comes out in july. I've been looking at black eyed peas, because they are easy to get the seeds from the grocery store, and even if they go to seed they can still help the soil. This last one isn't a requirement, but it is convenient.

Looks like i have about 80-90 days of no frost, and have a small hoop house over the top of my beds if needed.

I'm wondering, what legumes am i not thinking of? I want to either til them into the soil by hand (using a plot to cut them at the ground, and then a fork to mix them into the soil) or throw them on the compost pile, either is fine. If i can get beans out awesome, if not, no worries.

Any suggestions? And why :)?

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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Most plants create the most nitrogen pre-seed setting stage. So to get the best fixation into your bed, you would grow a field pea for a short time and then, right before it flowers, cut it back and till it under (by hand or machine).
Why not rotate your nitrogen fixing? Start by cover cropping a few beds so that when your garlic comes out you can utilize some of those beds for other crops such as lettuces, zuccini and anything else you can cover in short time.
In the spring, you could then add a fast, cool season nitrogen fixer like hairy vetch and still be able to plant a nice summer garden.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 1:47PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

the biointensive folks are really big on fava as a compost crop. In addition to nitrogen, it makes a good volume of biomass. Great cool season legume.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 4:52AM
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silkcom(5)

Fava, i hadn't considered them yet. I'll look into the dates and times for it. I was currently planning on black eyed peas. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:07AM
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