southern peas

chefgumby(7)June 6, 2011

I was wondering how everyone grew their southern peas here. Do most of ya'll use them as green beans? Does anyone use theirs as dried beans? I had never thought of growing them as green beans before, but I may do just that. Thanks.

Dale, OKC

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

We prepare them the way you prepare shelling beans. We shell them, discard the pod (or make purplehull jelly with the pods from the pinkeye purplehull peas) and cook them more or less the same way you cook shellies. I usually cook them with a little bacon, a little chopped onion and sometimes some chopped jalapeno pepper. If I've inadvertently picked a couple that are still pretty small and have mostly undeveloped peas that aren't bulging yet, I don't shell them, but just snap them in half like you do with green beans and add them to the pot.

Dried southern peas are ridiculously cheap at the grocery store, so I don't bother leaving mine on the vine until they dry and then shelling them and using them as dried peas, although you could if you want to.

We love southern peas and I'm growing about 12 kinds this summer. Right now I have eight varieties of southern peas in the ground, and am getting ready to plant the other 4 varieties. Southern peas carry us through the mid-summer months in between the time when the high heat shuts down the bush green beans and the time later on when the pole beans begin producing.

Also, the flowers of southern peas draw in all kinds of pollinators, which is great for the rest of the plants that need for insects to play a role in pollination.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 10:25PM
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We like ours best dried. Store bought are usually black-eyed peas, which are tasteless compared to other kinds. For snaps during the worst heat we grow a variety of yard long called Georgia Long.

Cowpeas are one of my favorites to grow because they out compete weeds! Dawn already mentioned how good they are at attracting beneficial insects. They're alright as snaps. But I find them laborious to pick and prepare.

Still learning from Southern gardeners,

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 7:36AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I find them very laborious to pick and shell and all that too, but it's better than being out in the heat pulling weeds and hoeing!

I'm growing more kinds than ever this year because we love them so, and I am afraid that with so many more of them growing, I'll find myself shelling peas every single minute of the day that I'm not busy with other chores. At least I can do it inside in the air conditioning.

With this dreadful heat, at least we know that our southern peas, okra, melons, peppers and squashes likely will produce like crazy. I'm not so sure about some of the other veggies that prefer somewhat cooler temperatures.

One enduring memory from my childhood is all of us sitting outside on the porch in the evenings, shelling peas and drinking iced tea, Koolaid or lemonade. Shelling, shelling, shelling. It seems like that was all we ever did! It didn't matter if we were at our home or at a relative's home...if it was gardening season and there were peas to be shelled, we were busy shelling peas while the women talked about how many quarts or pints of this or that they had canned recently and the men discussed the weather, the grasshoppers, the spider mites, etc. At the time, I thought we kids were being treated like slave labor, lol, but looking back down, those were some happy times because we spent them all together. If it was a really wonderful day, somebody would be making homemade ice cream, and we kids had to take turns turning the crank on the ice cream maker. Ah, the good old days!


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 8:08AM
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I like peas and plan on planting more this year. I will try Purple Hulls and Zipper peas. I will also try to find my pea sheller I rigged one up a few years ago to be powered by an electric mixer or drill motor. I liked the mixer power better because you can buy them so cheap at garage sales or flea markets. The peas have to be just right or you end up with pea soup.

If there is any of you that know of an easy shelling pea, good tasting pea, please let me know.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


There are several that are easy to shell, but it is harder to try to advise about taste because all of us have taste buds that perceive flavor in different ways so a flavor that appeals to me might not appeal to you and vice versa.

Among the easier peas to shell are these;

Black Crowder
California Blackeye
Clemson Purple
Zipper Cream
Elite Cream
Mississippi Silver
Mississippi Purple

Our favorites for flavor are any of the purplehull types, including Pinkeye Purplehull, Six-Week Purple Hull BVR and Knuckle. Although they are not commonly described as "easy to shell", I find them easy to shell as long as I wait for the hulls to turn purple and don't get ahead of myself and pick them while the hulls are fairly green.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 7:55PM
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Larry - I'm investing in a pea sheller this year too! It also offers the option of attaching a hand mixer so one doesn't have to hand-crank it.

Last year was the first I'd grown Purple Hull. DH loved, loved, loved them. Not only that, but at the end of the season, Dawn told me I could make jelly out of the hulls! It was delish. DGD only eats that jelly and no other kind. No, we haven't told her what it's made of yet, but she's older this year so I suspect I'll get busted. This year I'm growing purple hulls, lady peas and whipporwill because of the flavors of their hulls for jelly making.

I also found some very informative videos on canning the peas on youtube.


Here is a link that might be useful: Utube video on shelling & canning peas

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 8:31PM
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Paula, I planted your Pinkeye Purplehulls today on my small tee-pees.

Dawn, I found that I also had some from you plus a package that I found to buy locally. I also have a pack of Caliafornia Blackeye that you sent that I will try to find a place for tomorrow. Hey, I'm looking for the best taste. I may plant four or fine types. I ordered a large pack on my seed order the last two years and didn't get them either year. We went to the Amish store in Missouri the other day and they had bags of peas that looked a little different than those I buy in the store, and I feel sure they wouldn't be using a hybrid seed, so I bought a couple of bags. I'm going to cook one and see if I like them well enough to plant from the other one.

Al finished using up the roll of wire today and made me 12 more tomato cages. I love it. I cut the rest of the broccoli this morning and the first of the side shoots from the plants I had cut earlier. Guess I will leave them there until the onions are finished, then I'm cleaning out the whole area for some winter squash. I spent most of the day in the garden and got a lot done.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, My list was scrambled. I had too many purplehulls on my mind and merged two names together. It should have read: "...Pinkeye Purplehull, Six Week Purplehull, Pinkeye Purplehull BVR and Knuckle"."

Paula, I have purplehulls and whippoorwills in the garden now. Tim suggested a pea sheller last year, but we like them harvested and shelled 'green' and it was my understanding that the shellers work better with dried peas than with fresh, 'green' ones. (I'd like to find out I'm wrong about that.)

Today Tim also suggested we get a produce scale. I guess he's tired of seeing me weigh my harvest on my itty bitty kitchen scale which has a bowl that holds about 3 lbs. at a time. A produce scale! It was hard for me to keep a straight face and solemnly nod and say "ok, if you think so". Apparently, gardening is becoming a competitive event at work and he wants to be able to go into work and say with certainty "we harvested 75 lbs. of potatoes today" without having to wait three days for me to get them all sorted, graded and weighed. So, one day when I have nothing better to do, I'll sit down and look at produce scales online.

Isn't it funny that people will become attached to one particular flavor of jelly? The chief of Tim's PD loves Apple Pie Jam, so I make him a case of it a couple of times a year. It is just insane how happy it makes him and it pleases me to know that he enjoys it so much because he's a great guy.

Carol, If I had endless available space, I'd plant one row each of every type of southern pea I have and grow them side-by-side in a head-to-head competition. Instead, because they are one of the last things I plant in spring, they end up being squeezed in here and there wherever cool-season crops have been harvested. Regardless, they still produce well.

I would have loved to have spent as much time in the garden today as you did, but it was just one of those days when so many non-gardening things needed to be done. I am still kind of worn out after all the potato digging, but i think it is more because I stayed out in the heat so much, and not the actual labor involved in digging potatoes from clay soil although it was pretty dry and pretty hard.

I hope I can get a lot done tomorrow, but I've decided I'm just not going to stay outside after the temperature hits 95. That's plenty hot enough for me. My favorite time of the day is early in the morning when it almost feels cool.

Our first summer deer showed up at the garden yesterday. It came crashing through the woods like it was being chased by something, emerged in the pasture just east of my garden and then froze when it saw me. I wondered if something was chasing it because it seemed very nervous. I waved my arms and yelled at it and it went away. I then checked my whole fenceline to make sure there wasn't anyplace it could get into the garden. One deer can almost wipe out an entire garden in one night of grazing and nibbling. Parts of the fence are 8' tall and parts are only 7' tall, and this was a really large deer so I think it could have jumped the 7' section and might have done so if I wasn't standing there in the garden.

That's a lot of new tomato cages! I love my cages and use them for everything. I even have some of my peppers caged with 2' or 3' tall cages. The other peppers are staked so they won't fall over sideways when they have a heavy load of fruit later in the summer.

The garden looks fairly good now that the yellowing/browning potatoes and onions are out of there. I now have onions and potatoes laid out all over the place in the shade drying and curing. In the current high heat and mostly low RHs, everything should dry and curl quickly.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Paula, I grew up on Purple hull peas and love them, but I have not eaten many different kinds so I don't know what to compare them to. I bought the Zipper peas because DW's mother use to grow them. But she told me today to not waste garden space on them as long as I had Purple Hull seed. I may take the Zippers over to parents garden.

My pea sheller has nylon gears and I am a little concerned about how long they will last. That is one reason I made an adapter to run it on a battery powered drill, hoping to drop the rpm. I have not seen it in at least six years, I think it is stored over at the old house.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:36PM
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I have had a lot of weeding to do because only my tomatoes are mulched and the rest is bare soil. I didn't want to mulch while it was cold, then it was wet and rainy. I have a ton of weeds and grass and I have been taking out a lot of it, so I've spent a lot of time on my knees. I don't think I will try to mulch anything else this year. Last year I mulched everything and I had more insect problems than I had ever had before. It just seemed like they used the damp mulch for a place to hide.

Speaking of insects...I think I mentioned that it was pill bugs that were eating on the eggplant and not flea beetles this year (it is still covered). Usually the Hollyhock leaves are totally eaten by the flea beetles, but they haven't been as bad this year. Some leaves are damaged, but not like last year. A little DE around the eggplant seems to have taken care of the pillbugs also. I am pampering my one eggplant. LOL

When Al cleaned out the chicken run a few weeks ago, we piled everything into one unused corner of the garden until it was safe to use in the garden. It just looked like nice rich soil when he took it out but I thought it safer not to use it for several months. Today I was working in that area and noticed a tomato plant. There must be 20 tomato plants growing in that corner. So much for it being too rich for plants. I guess if Dawn's dogs can plant gourds and pumpkins, then my chickens can plant tomatoes. I'm sure I have given the chickens some tomatoes, but otherwise it would have been seeds from tomatoes planted in that area at least two years ago. And to have that many close enough to the surface to actuel grow is unreal since this is piled about 12-14 inches deep.

I will not be surprised if Cluster Goliath is my first tomato this year also. The plant still isn't very big but it already has eight small tomatoes on it. Both of the Early Goliath plants look good though. I think my largest plants are a Kelloggs Breakfast and the Royal Hillbilly that I got from Chandra.

By the way, Priya is still doing fine. Chandra says she goes to the hospital everyday for one test or another and monitoring, but no twins yet.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:58PM
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Dawn, I'm scrambled also, so did not notice you list having a kink in it. I think you were wise to hold off on the pea sheller. They work great under the right conditions, but most of the time my conditions are a little off and I get pea soup or pea pancakes.


    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:02PM
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Carol - so HAPPY you're getting Twin-Updates!!!!! I know I'm logisticly close...but I'm very time-challenged. Chandra, Priya, Tanu and the twins are never far from my thoughts so I thank you so much for the update! (nanny-nanny-boo-boo! I'm physically closer so I get first dibbs on baby-holding!!!)

Not southern-pea related...but, hmmmm...maybe it is? LOL!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:19PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Bugs are the drawback to mulch, but we are dry more than we're wet, so the bugs aren't a big problem in our mulched areas after May ends. Without mulch, I probably couldn't grow anything after mid-June. Our bare, unmulched ground (outside the veggie garden) is very hot (can't walk on it comfortably barefoot!) and is cracking already. I don't know how the grass and forbs survive in the unirrigated areas.

Train those chickens right! With any luck at all, they'll plant tomato plants everywhere for you.

When we clean out the chicken coop, we usually just dump all the manure/bedding on the compost pile. One year Tim put it on the ground just east of the chicken coop (I don't know why) and nothing grew in that area for 2 or 3 years, so far. I think this is the third yea since he dumped it there, but it might be the fourth. It is the area between the woods and the coop so it is somewhat shade-challenged but I have grown flowers there on and off over the years. Nothing much is growing there yet this year. I guess maybe we should spread the chicken litter on the ground just outside the eastern garden fence which is where I have so much trouble with Johnson grass and bermuda grass trying to invade the garden by creeping through the fence. Maybe we could kill off those two by 'overfertilizing' with fresh chicken manure. I'm just afraid it wouldn't be fresh enough and we'd instead have created very well-fertilized rapidly-growing Johnson and bermuda grass.

Thanks for the update on Chandra's and Priya's twins. I am sure the whole family is more than ready for the babies to arrive.

Larry, Thanks for the info on the pea sheller. That's exactly what I was afraid of. I remember when Tim and I used to drive to the Parker County Farmer's Market when we lived in Fort Worth and had too much shade for a big garden, and they had one of the big, commercial pea shellers there. I do remember that they were only running the dried purplehull peas through it, not the green ones. It was really handy though. You could buy a bushel of peas and they'd run them right through the sheller for you.

Paula, That is SO not fair that you'll be able to visit and get to see them and hold them. Lucky you! I hope all is going well for Priya. Can you imagine being pregnant in this heat?


    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:28AM
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Dawn, This wasn't the chicken house where they sleep, it was just the run where they are off and on during the day. Although it is covered, some rain goes on it and I put garden waste in for them to eat, Eventually it builds up so Al just dug it down about three or four inches and then we put a bale of straw down. It wasn't like the total chicken poop that builds up under their roosts. In fact when he was taking it out, it just looked like nice rich dirt, but since it could have had fresh stuff in it, I didn't want to use it on the garden. I did exactly what you were talking about. He burned out everything along the fence with a torch then we piled this stuff on hoping it would smother out the roots of all the vining stuff. I even worried that a little of it might leach over into the garden during a heavy rain and wished that I hadn't put it there because I was afraid it might burn things. I shouldn't have worried, I guess since the volunteer plants seem to love it. It was more like letting your chickens run in the garden and not concentrated manure.

Now, I still need to clean out the bottom of the chicken house, but I take that way out beside a storage shed. There is no doubt that it is strong stuff.

I understand being pregnant in the heat since my first one was born in Texas in early August and my house had no air conditioner. However, Priya is a tiny little thing and she looked like she was miserable 5 or 6 weeks ago, so I can't imagine her carrying those twins to term, but I think she is almost there.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 11:09AM
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My purple hull peas are about 8 inches high and the leafs are very wrinkled /bumpy. Is there a bug or mite or something that would cause something like that? I planted them in a old cow lot that hasn't been used for about 6 years and it has been a johnson grass patch for the last several years. We used roundup to kill the johnsongrass and that worked well on the roots but it still comes up from the seed. So were battling with that -- but easy to catch it when it is so small and not much roots to it. Will my purple hull peas grow out of the wrinkled leaf look or do I need to treat them for something? I tried searching the forums and can't seem to find this being discussed any where. I have all the rest of my garden planted here too and I wonder if this would cause my tomatoes to have more green leaves than they should or not set on fruit. It's on a very sandy farm and the garden gets watered twice a week when needed-- we were in the dry area of oklahoma --Washita/Caddo County line.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 1:56PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Usually wrinkled and bumpy leaves indicate one or more of several possible issues. Blackeyed Cowpea Mosaic Virus is one possibility but the puckered leaves also can indicate other diseases, both bacterial and fungal, that can cause the puckering of plant foliage. Sometimes I see a little bit of it, but I just ignore it and the plants usually grow and produce just fine in spite of the puckered leaves. If it bothers you, you can remove those plants and plant replacements. Sometimes I've seen it on early plant foliage but not on later foliage that comes out on the same plant.

You can help prevent the spread of disease by mulching the plants to prevent soil splash and by watering with soaker hoses or drip irrigation to keep moisture off the plant leaves because wet foliage in high heat is prone to all sorts of diseases.

There'a strain of disease-resistant pinkeye purplehull called Pinkeye Purplehull BVR. I don't see it in local stores which only have regular Pinkeye Purplehull, so I order it online.

Another option that I think is a good possibility, especially since you're in western OK, is thrip damage. Often thrips attack young seedlings soon after they emerge from the soil and the damage they inflict leaves the plants with foliage that is misshapen, curled, twisted, etc.


Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Pea Diseases

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 3:26PM
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All pea pickers,
Dawn mentioned in her next to last message that (dried peas worked better than green in shellers). Here here, and I agree. I have found that when you pick peas, if you will wait just one day the shelling will be much easier.
Best of luck to all,

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 10:50PM
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