GREEN-THUMBED angels have been visiting homes around the Fraser Coast dropping off green pressies.
Pigeon pea seeds have been delivered to a number of lucky residents thanks to Transition Town Hervey Bay and the Hervey Bay Seedsavers Seed Bank.
The gift is to encourage people to get stuck into their gardens to help lower the region’s carbon output.
Transition Town Hervey Bay founder Maggie John explained pigeon peas can not only be used to make delicious recipes but are also good for soil.
Pigeon peas grow as a shrub about two metres high, said Ms John.
They are also native to India and are grown there as a commercial crop.
The plant is drought resistant and survives well with little care.
“People shouldn’t be worried that it is not native,” said Ms John. “We did risk management and it is not likely to escape as a weed.
“It improves soil in a number of ways,” she explained. “It puts life back into soil; worms can feed off it and it can hold moisture.”
The leaves can also be used for mulch while chickens and silk worms apparently love to eat them.
Transition Town media officer Christel Schrank is using pigeon peas in her garden to create a wind break and to provide nitrogen in the soil for other plants.
The group’s website says recent research shows the roots of the pigeon pea shrub produce a chemical that dissolves iron phosphates in the soil, making it available to surrounding plants.
If you are interested in the various ways you can enjoy eating pigeon peas there are a number of recipes on the website.
Ms John said she was no whiz in the kitchen but the seeds could replace lentils in any meal.
She opts however to simply pick them off her plants to eat fresh and describes them as having a flowery aroma similar to musk.
If you are yet to receive any of the seed packs in your letterbox you can grab some at The Cottage on Peters Lane at Pialba today.
A morning of gardening is being held at the Multicultural Community Garden between 7am and 10am.
If you cannot make the working bee give Ms John a call on 0434 144 394 to pick up some seeds.
The pigeon pea is also known as Cajanus cajan, the Congo bean, pesinngon, katjang goode, kachang kayu and tua re
Pigeon peas have been cultivated in South-East Asia for more than 500 years
The pigeon pea shrub is best sown from late spring through summer once the soil has warmed up
Plant the seeds about 2cm deep and at least 1m apart
The peas contain five times more Vitamin A and three times more Vitamin C than ordinary peas
For more information about what you can do with your seeds visit transitionfrasercoast.org.au
PIGEON PEA PATTIES
Soak 1½ cups cooked, dry pigeon peas overnight for quicker cooking. Cover with water and simmer until tender for about 15 minutes.
Drain, mash and add: 1 egg; 1 finely chopped onion; 1 crushed clove of garlic; ½ tsp minced ginger; 1tsp ground coriander; 1tsp cumin; 1 pinch of chilli powder or a little bit of fresh chilli; lemon juice; 1tbs tomato paste; soy sauce or salt and pepper; 2tbs chopped parsley; 4tbs breadcrumbs and mix together thoroughly then place in the fridge for an hour for it to firm up
Form into patty shapes and coat with flour then fry lightly in oil for about three minutes each side.