Friday, November 28, 2014

Velvet beans: useful and medicinal

I've been growing velvet beans (Mucuna pruriens) for a few years now.

Actually, I just planted them once and they keep reseeding around the food forest.

My kind of plant.

The beans are slightly toxic; however, I find that when cooked green in the pods in briny water the flavor is delicious - a lot like boiled green peanuts. They're a natural testosterone booster as well as a mood lifted thanks to their dopamine precursors.

Just don't eat too many.

Velvet beans are known to be an excellent nitrogen-fixer so I planted them in the lousiest and driest areas of my yard.

In rich conditions they grow rapidly and to great height, provided they have something to climb.

Check this out:

They climbed about 30-40' up into that oak tree over the course of the summer, bearing copious amounts of unreachable pods.

Here's a shot at ground level:

Impressive, eh? When you need some green cover, these guys fit the bill. They shade the ground while adding fertility and biomass. Plus, since they freeze to death in the winter in areas with frost, you don't have to worry about them eating your entire yard.

Since velvet beans are not frost tolerant at all, plant them in the spring after all danger of cold, then stand back and watch them ramble.

If you're looking for seeds, I noticed this week that Grower Jim has some for sale, along with a nice profile on this excellent bean.

At some point I may offer some for sale - I have a boatload of them in my home seed bank - but not yet. Grower Jim is a good source for rare and beautiful plants and I've bought from him before. His blog is also an excellent resource - I recommend you check it out.

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At November 28, 2014 at 7:17 AM , Blogger Grower Jim said...

Thanks David!
With all their benefits, everybody should be planting velvet beans in their gardens!


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