Its the time of the week to look at my understanding of a horticultural word or term. This week I am looking at the word legume.
Legume is a family of plants otherwise known as the pea family. They include vegetables such as peas, chickpeas, peanuts and lentils.
Most legumes are dehiscent where the fruit splits along 2 seams to release the seed when ready. In a couple of members of the legume family, this doesn't happen naturally.
Whilst many legumes are grown to produce food for humans or animals some are also grown for there ability to put nitrogen into the soil. These crops are known as green manures and include field beans and alfalfa. The ability the plants have for this is pretty amazing. As these plants absorb nitrogen from the air it stores some in little nodules in the plant's roots. When the plant dies (either naturally or through hoeing) this nitrogen gets released into the soil and helps to promote healthy plant growth for the following crop.
How does my understanding of legumes stack p with your understanding? Let me know in the comments or Email me here.