Why Grow Perennial Legumes – Learn About Planting Perennial Legumes

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener Most legumes grown in the home garden, including beans and peas, are annual plants, which means they complete a life cycle in a single year. Perennial legumes, on the other hand, are those that live for more than two years. Why Grow Perennial Legumes? What are perennial legumes? Legumes, plants that belong to the family Fabaceae, are grown specifically for their seeds. Beans and peas are the most well-known legumes, but the legume family also includes many others, such as: Alfalfa Lentils Chickpeas Mesquite Soybeans Clover Peanuts Agriculturally, legumes are valued cover crops for their ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. This ages-old technique, which involves growing plants in fall and winter before plowing them into the soil in spring, is also used by home gardeners. Planting perennial legumes and other cover crops not only improves soil nutrition but also