2012 cowpeas & other Vigna

zeedman Zone 5 WisconsinNovember 29, 2012

What cowpeas or yardlongs did everyone grow this year? And how well did they do?

This is a report on the cowpeas & other genus Vigna that I grew in 2012. All but one were repeats:

Yardlong beans and cowpeas

* "Bush Sitao Var. BS-3" - snap/dry, from SSE, developed in the Philippines. Semi-bush cowpea with 6-8" pods, bred to be eaten as snaps. The pods are light green, have a firm cooked texture & semi-sweet flavor. These did incredibly well this year; two large pickings of pods, then let the rest go for seed. Kidney-shaped tan & white seeds, the pods let go produced over 4# of dry seed from a 20 foot row.

Bush Sitao Var. BS-3

* "Fagiolino Dolico Veneto" - dry, from SSE member. This is a semi-bush black eyed pea. The seeds are a little smaller than commercial varieties, but the yield is very high. Did really well, over 5# of dry seed from 20' of row. For some reason, this was much more attractive to wasps than my other cowpeas. They were swarming on this patch in large numbers; but the nectar appears to make the wasps docile, I was never stung while harvesting as long as I moved slowly.
* "MN 157" - dry, from SSE member. This is a true bush, purple hulled, calico pea... very unusual. It was bred in Minnesota for short-season areas (hence the designation) and usually does well here. This year, however, it was heavily stunted early, and did not bear as well as in years past. I was able to coax the plants into producing a second set, but this was heavily attacked by box elder bugs (!!!) which destroyed most of the seed. Only got 2.5# of dry seed from 36 feet of row, about half of what I expected... which is a shame, because it is my favorite for flavor.
* "Yardlong, Galante" - pole, commercial variety from the Philippines. Light green, sweet, very firm pods 24-28" long. This one bore consistently all summer long; we ate them, froze them, gave them away. The seed is dark reddish brown, with a small cream patch on one end. Curiously, when temperatures finally began to cool into the 70's, the white patch on the seed grew larger; seed that matured during hot weather was almost completely brown. The pods in the photo below are old & not typical of the variety, but it was all I had at the time.
* "Yardlong, Sierra Madre" - pole, another commercial variety from the Philippines. Deep green pods just shorter than Galante, but wider. Slower to develop fiber than any yardlong I've grown; even the dry pods are papery. In diameter, flavor, and texture, this is the closest yardlong I've found to snap beans... snapped & frozen, you can hardly tell them apart. A good yield, but still less than Galante and Chinese Red Noodle. Dry seed is tan & cream.
* "Yardlong, Three Feet Plus" - pole, GW seed swap several years ago, originally from Evergreen. Was sent to me as "Yard & 1/2" (as shown in the photo below) but corrected to match the listing by Evergreen Y.H. This was a new...

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I won't go into that level of detail, will just state that deer got inside my electric fence and managed to eat most of my peas for this year.I did get a decent crop from Phillipine Purple yardlong.

By the way, did anyone else notice the "edit post" button which now appears under the My Clippings link?


This post was edited by fusion_power on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 10:58

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 10:56AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Very impressive Zeedman, I have yet to grow a cowpea successfully, not that I've tried any other than Chinese Red Noodle. I'd love to be able to grow at least one yardlong, we really enjoyed the few CRN we sampled the first year I grew them.

Dar, yes I did noticed the edit button....Hip, Hip, Hurray!!!


This post was edited by aftermidnight on Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 11:23

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 11:21AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

My Hercules southern (some call them cow) peas were fabulous! I filled my big freezer, the fridge/freezer in the garage,ate them nearly daily and gave away a couple of bushels.

We are having a Christmas potluck lunch next week and I'm taking a big pot full @ their request!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 12:00PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Sorry to hear about the deer, Dar. I know how frustrating that can be... a groundhog did a lot of damage to my preservation plot several years ago. Glad to hear that "Philippine Purple" did well, though. My own seed is aging, so it's good to know someone else is able to keep it going. Are you using it for breeding?

Annette, "Chinese Red Noodle" is about mid-range in DTM for yardlongs; and in my observations, seems to require more heat than some. The black-seeded pole varieties are earlier, and more cool tolerant. The dark green podded variety given to me by a friend (I think it is "Asparagus bean") is the earliest pole yardlong that I grow, and also the most productive. "Taiwan Black" is just slightly later, and only a little less productive, with very long (over 24") light green pods. Both are extremely vigorous, and might perform a little better than CRN in cooler climates. I'd be happy to send you seed for "Asparagus", but my seed for "Taiwan Black" is old & in need of renewal.

Wertack, you've just reminded me to break down & buy a sheller. I think that will be my Christmas present to myself this year. ;-)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:04AM
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zeedman, it is easy to break down and buy a cheap one. Take time to get one of the Taylor units.

There is one on ebay right now.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 2:04PM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Thanks Zeedman, I'm game to try again if you can spare a few seeds. We really did enjoy the CRN the first year I grew them, had enough for a couple of meals and got enough seed to try again this year but they were a bust, not even one flower. Maybe I'll have better luck with your Asparagus beans.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:17AM
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  • My surprise bush cowpea(Biwa Sitter), from the regional Meskwaki tribe did very well this year. I thought this would be a dry bush bean when planted. It is a smaller white seeded cowpea and is used traditionally in soups.
  • My bush cowpea(Purple Hull) did good again, this has always has been a great cowpea here in Iowa for me.

I plan on growing both again next season and think I will grow the bush yardlong Yancheng(from Zeedman) again along with a few other dry bush cowpeas I have in stock(Colilma Mayo, Holstein or Fagiolina de Transimeno). I also want to try my luck again with a pole yardlong, either Chinese Red Noodle(have seed) or order an interesting one from SSE Yearbook.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 5:20PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Hercules are so easy to shell that I wouldn't buy a sheller for them. I can shell a bushel in about 30 minutes.

That is one of the reasons, besides the great taste, that I grow them. When I lost my seed and couldn't find them for years I almost bought a sheller for the other peas that I was trying. White Acre was the hardest I ever dealt with.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 12:12PM
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I grew zipper creams. Living in the deep south, southern (cow) peas are one of the only things I can grow successfully in the heat of the summer. But black eyed peas are almost inedible without liberal amounts of pig fat. They just don't taste so good. Zipper creams and Conch peas are the favorites around here. They are easy to grow, mature quickly and taste wonderful! When fresh they almost taste like english peas. I finally grew them myself this year and will now grow them every year.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:52PM
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