Velvet bean is a vigorously growing and trailing legume species that is capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen which improves the soil fertility and benefits crops grown after it.
Velvet bean is a minor leguminous crop, many cultivars of which are suitable for the more humid regions of the tropics, while others, e. the Mauritius velvet bean, are suitable for dryland farming.
They can be grown successfully on soils unsuitable for cowpeas, but have the disadvantage of a longer growth period and are more difficult to thresh. Moreover, the seed is not highly valued for human or animal feeding, because of the prolonged soaking and, or, boiling required before it can be consumed safely. The leaves and vines make an excellent fodder.
*above specification are indicative only. actual dimensions may vary by +-10%
|Maximum Reachable Height
||easy to grow
Velvet Bean care
The Velvet Bean produces little seed unless they are grown with an upright crop like corn so the vines can climb and bear their flowers where there is air circulation. This also avoids pod decay. Velvet Beans yield about 1,000 pounds of beans per acre.
||Velvet beans are often grown in the tropics and subtropics in areas with an average rainfall of between 1200-1500 mm/yr., or more.
||A wide range of soil types are suitable, including heavy clays, provided that they are well drained, since velvet beans cannot stand waterlogging with a pH of between 5-6.5.
||A warm equable temperature of 20-30C throughout the growing period is preferred.
||any organic fertilizer
Velvet Bean uses
- The possibility of utilizing velvet beans as a commercial source of L-dopa (which is relatively expensive to produce synthetically), used in the treatment of Parkinsons disease
- Velvet beans can be used as a human foodstuff but require considerable care in their preparation, because of the toxic principle they contain
- In many parts of Africa and Asia they are regarded as a famine food
- The toxic principle can be removed by boiling and soaking the seeds in several changes of water
- In parts of Asia, the seeds are sometimes roasted before being eaten
- The immature pods and leaves are occasionally boiled and eaten as a vegetable