Boosting Soil Fertility with Plants

The small pigeon pea tree offers shade, pretty flowers, edible peas and soil nitrogen wherever it is planted. (Pigeon pea flower from Diana Duff)

Crotalaria plants produce stalks of pretty yellow flowers while adding nitrogen to the soil. (Diana Duff/ Special to West Hawaii Today)

Perennial peanut is an attractive ground cover that also fixes nitrogen in the soil. (Diana Duff/ Special to West Hawaii Today)

Bacci and Bonnie Perata took me on a tour of their farm to see their nitrogen fixing plants. (Diana Duff/ Special to West Hawaii Today)

Earthly Delights is an eight-acre organic farm in South Kona where Bonnie and Bacci Perata have employed as many sustainable practices as possible during their nearly twenty years on the farm. They are dedicated to composting and mulching as well as growing some of their own fertility to limit their off-site inputs. Growing nitrogen fixing plants is an excellent way to add nutrition to the soil in small gardens as well as on farms.