Pigeon Peas – A Nutritious Legume
Pigeon peas, scientifically known as Cajanus cajan, belong to the legume family and are cultivated for their edible seeds and pods. These perennial plants have been domesticated for over 3500 years and are widely consumed worldwide. In this article, we will explore the growth requirements, propagation methods, common pests and diseases, and the importance of nutrition for pigeon pea plants.
Pigeon peas thrive in hot and humid climates, with temperatures ranging from 18 to 38 degrees Celsius. They can adapt to various soil types, from sandy to clay soils. However, well-drained soils with a pH level between 5.0 and 7.0 are most favorable for optimal growth. Pigeon peas have a remarkable tolerance for drought and can survive with minimal rainfall.
Propagation of pigeon peas is done through direct seeding. The seeds should be sown in prepared land, ensuring a planting depth of 2.5-10 cm. It is recommended to maintain a spacing of 30-50 cm between plants and 150 cm between rows. Aim for a seed rate of 20-100 seeds per square meter.
Common Pests and Diseases
1. Bacterial Leaf Spot and Stem Canker: These bacterial infections affect the leaves and stem, resulting in leaf spots and cankers, respectively. The best control method is the use of copper-based fungicidal sprays such as TRINITY GOLD (50g/20L).
2. Halo Blight: This bacterial infection causes blight on the leaves, forming brown patches of dead tissue with a halo concentric ring. It can be controlled by using TRINITY GOLD (50g/20L).
3. Alternaria Blight: A fungal infection that leads to burnt leaf surfaces. TRINITY GOLD (50g/20L) is effective in controlling this disease.
4. Anthracnose and Cercospora Leaf Spot: These diseases affect both leaves and pods. Use TRINITY GOLD (50g/20L) for the best control.
5. Powdery Mildew: A fungal infection characterized by a powdery white substance on the leaf surface. Control this disease by applying TRINITY GOLD (50g/20L) or CHARIOT (20ml/20L).
1. Pod Borers: These pests cause significant damage, resulting in over 80% yield loss. The larvae feed on pods and flowers, while the adults bore into pods and seeds. Use PENTAGON (10ml/20L) for effective control.
2. Pod Flies: White adult flies lay eggs, and the developing maggots bore into and feed inside the pods. Use PENTAGON (10ml/20L) or PROFILE (440EC 30ml/20L) to control this pest.
3. Pod Bugs: Both adult bugs and nymphs suck the plant sap from flower buds and developing seeds through the pod wall. Infested seeds become dark and shriveled. PENTAGON (10ml/20L) combined with INTEGRA (3ml/20L) provides the best control.
4. Blister Beetles: Also known as flower feeders, these beetles feed on flowers and reduce pod formation, thereby affecting crop yield. Use PENTAGON (10ml/20L) or LEXUS (8ml/20L) for effective control, and the use of INTEGRA sticker is necessary.
To support the vegetative and flowering phases of pigeon peas, it is essential to spray Lavender Total, a complete foliar fertilizer. This fertilizer aids in vegetation and tillering. Additionally, the application of Optimizer is recommended to enhance plant vigor and flowering.
Pigeon peas are versatile and nutritious legumes that have been cultivated for thousands of years. By understanding their growth requirements, employing effective propagation methods, and implementing appropriate pest and disease control measures, farmers can cultivate healthy and high-yielding pigeon pea crops.
Additionally, providing the necessary nutrition through foliar fertilizers like Lavender Total and Optimizer can further enhance the growth and productivity of these plants.