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Food Storage Prepping in the Garden: Cowpeas

Food Storage Prepping in the Garden: Cowpeas

Mary Smith |

Welcome to our prepping in the garden series!

Cowpeas are a very easy crop to grow and store. If you're look for a heat tolerant, fast maturing food crop, Cowpeas are a great option.

First, what is a cowpea?

Cowpea, (Vigna unguiculata) also called black-eyed pea or southern pea, annual plant within the pea family (Fabaceae) grown for its edible legumes.

If you live in a frost-free region, you can grow cowpeas almost year round. Otherwise, plant cowpea seeds after your last frost date.

Cowpeas also make a great cover crop. Video: COVER CROPS

They grow upright and spreading, and as a legume, they provide a good source of nitrogen. Their deep taproot is good for soil penetration and enhancing soil tilth.



Growing Cowpeas from Seed to Harvest

Direct sow cowpea seeds after your last chance of frost. Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. Keep soil moist but not waterlogged. Seeds germinate in 7-10 days (sometimes less). Cowpeas grow well near corn, strawberries and cucumbers, but do not plant them near fennel or onions. 

Cowpeas thrive in direct sun and while they are heat tolerant, it is good to water frequently. Some cowpeas can take 80 days to mature. However, it is our experience that Purple Hull Pinkeye Cowpeas can start to produce in as few as 55 days from seed.

Harvesting Cowpeas

Cowpea pods can get up to 6 to 10 inches in length and look similar to green beans. Pods can be harvested when they’re young, as well as when they’ve dried. If harvesting while green, pick the pods when they are very young. To harvest dry cowpea pods, pick after the pods have dried on the vine.

Fresh beans can be cooked and eaten or frozen. Dried peas can be stored in jars or food storage containers for future use. 

As an added bonus, cowpea plants are an excellent source of organic matter. When the plants are done producing, add them to your compost pile. This could be considered another "double duty crop" since you can eat the produce from the plant and then feed your future gardens!



 Food Storage INTRO



Food Storage INTRO


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com




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