AKA Pigeon Pea Beans, Cajanus Indicus, Congo Pea, Toor Dal, Caja Pea, Goongoo pea, Gungo peas, Jamaican Gungo, Puerto Rican Bean
To Start From Seed: Gandules are so easy to grow that it is best to start seeds in the ground. They also grow a very long taproot that will quickly become root bound in a pot.
Gandules are drought tolerant, so pick a fairly dry spot and poke a 1″ deep hole with a pencil and drop in your seed. I like to plant 3 seeds in a triangle shape, about 2″ apart. The multiple trees make a fuller looking tree.
Water every few days. They will sprout within a week.
Year one: Your tree will slowly grow to be about 1-2 feet tall. You may get some flowers and pods.
Year two: Your tree will grow very quickly to 3-5 feet tall, have a woody trunk and produce a mass amount of flowers and pods.
Year three and on: Your tree will be over 6 feet tall.
These beneficial trees have earned the number one spot on our Top Ten Permaculture Plants list for being such an easy to grow tree with an abundance of nutrient dense beans, soil building biomass and nitrogen fixing abilities.
Gandules trees are a short lived perennial and become less productive as they age, so be sure to let some seeds dry on the tree and replant them. We plant seeds every season and now have over 50 gandules trees on the property.
The beans can be a variety of colors including white, beige, light or dark brown, speckled and black.
We let our seeds dry on the tree, then harvest them to cook or replant. You can also eat the green, either raw or cooked.
Cool Fact: Gandules are an important, high protein food crop in poor and malnourished parts of the world.
Gandules are drought tolerant and thrive in poor soil due to their long, fast growing taproot, which reaches deep down in the soil in search of nutrients and water. This taproot breaks up the soil and brings deep nutrients up to the surface.
Here in zone 9b, they bloom between January and May with bright yellow and orange flowers. The self-pollinating flowers develop a long pod containing 1 to 7 seeds.
Once the pods are harvested, I cut the trees back.
Here is a video of our one year old gandules tree in full bloom in February. We have harvested over 200 pods from this tree and it is still blooming in April.