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Growing Southern Peas For Green
Green Shelled Or Dried Beans

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Southern Peas - Cow Peas - Blackeyed Peas - Purple Hull Peas Versitile And Delicious

Growing Southern Peas

The southern pea, which is not a true pea, but a bean, consists of many different varieties all of which are subspecies of the cow pea (Vigna unguiculata).

Because this family mutates easily it gives rise to a number of cultivars that are grouped or identified by color of hull, the difference in bean shape, size and color or by spacing (crowding) of seed within the pod.

While many different varieties are available the most commonly known and grown are Blackeye, Pink Eye, Purple Hull, Cream and Crowder peas.

Southern peas can be used fresh, canned, frozen, or as dry shelled beans. The seeds and pods can be eaten while still in the green growing stage, like green beans, or they can be left to fully mature and picked as dry beans.


Photo of southern peas in green stage for eating like snap beans

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These southern pea pods are at the stage to be picked and eaten like snap beans.

Photo of southern peas at stage for shelling and eating as green beans

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Growing southern peas to be picked for shelled green beans are best when the pods have half their final color. These purple hull peas are almost at the perfect stage.

Photo of southern peas drying on vine for use as dried beans

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For dried southern peas, let the pods change to their full color and continue growing until dry on the plants.




Quick Reference Guide



Veggie Garden Dairy
Vegetable Southern Peas - Heirloom Cowpea Early Lady
Also Known As Rather than being known by other names the Southern Pea, consists of many different varieties the most common of which are Blackeye, pinkeye, purple hull, cream and crowder pea
Botanical Family - Fabaceae, Genus - Vigna, Species - V. unguiculata
Plant Type Warm season - annual - podding vegetable
Frost Tolerance Tender
Planting Position Requires at least 8-10 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Seed Viability 3 years
Germination 7-10 days at 60-90 F (16-32 C)
Growing Temp 70-95 F (21-35 C)
Seed to Transplant Direct sow only
Planting Method Direct sow
When to Plant Spring
Time to Plant Wait until at least 1-2 weeks after the last average 32 F (0 C) freeze in your area but not before soil temperature are consistently 60 F (16 C) or above
Seed Sowing Direct sowing cow pea seeds 2 -3 inches (5-7 cm) apart in the rows 12-30 inches (30-75 cm) apart. Or double rows 6 -8 inches (15-20 cm) apart.
Plant Spacing Sow seeds only - do not thin
Soil Conditions Well drained - Low to moderate organic matter - Low to medium fertility
Fertilizer Low fertilizer needs, 2-3 quarts per 100 sq feet (2.2-3.3 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer icon, same rate for each side dressing.
When to Fertilize 2 weeks before sowing - After the main flowering and the pods are setting
Days to Harvest 50-80 days - depending on conditions and variety.
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