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Cowpeas

Posted by soonergrandmom Z6 Grove (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 17, 09 at 20:02

Dawn, Willhite has one called "CT Purple Hull Pinkeye". Is that the one you were talking about. I think that is the only thing I don't have for next year and I thought that I might place another Willhite order. I will wait until after the swap is complete and re-evaluate. I have more things than I can fit in my garden now, but I want to squeeze in some blackeyes somewhere. I may have to buy some additional cattle panels so I can grow a few more things vertically. LOL


Follow-Up Postings:

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Oops

Oops there is another one also, "Pinkeye Purple Hull BVR". They both sound OK.


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RE: Cowpeas

Carol,

There are many types of Pinkeye Purplehull southern peas. I like them all. Not all southern peas are purplehulls--many are green, but I like them all.

The one I grow is just the ordinary old O-P Pinkeye Purplehull that has been around forever. I get it at a nursery that sells bulk seed that you scoop out of giant jars with a metal scoop, and you get a ridiculous amount of seed (hundreds and hundreds) for a very low price.

Many, many university breeding programs and commercial breeders have bred, selected or improved pinkeye purplehulls (and other southern pea varieties) in order to incorporate improvements in them like earliness, disease resistance, etc.

The CT Pinkeye Purple Hull carried by Willhite was introduced decades ago by the C. T Smith seed company (out of Texas)--at least that is what I think the CT means in this case. It is such an old variety that its PVP status has expired in recent years. It has only moderately good disease resistance.

The Pinkeye Purplehull BMV is an improved line that has resistance to Bean Mosaic Virus and it is probably the best of the purplehull peas if you live and grow in a humid climate. I think it was bred by the Univ. of Georgia.

Knuckle is another good pinkeye purplehull but I am not sure if it is still available commercially. It produces pretty high yields.

Every form of Pinkeye Purplehull peas I've ever grown has performed very well. Perhaps some southern pea afficianado would argue that one type is better than the other, but I just love them all.

If you want to grow a southern pea (and not necessariy a purple hull) that climbs a trellis, fence, archway or cattle panel, I'd suggest Mandy, aka Big Red Ripper. How tall does it grow? I don't know for sure, but it is a vining type that grows forever and forever....it has gotten twice as tall as any support I've ever grown it on...it grows all the way to the top and then cascades back down again.

Penny Rile is another great one. Honestly, I don't think I've ever met a southern pea I didn't like.

Both Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds offer more cowpeas than you'll find at Willhite. I think I've grown and like all of Willhite's current offerings too.

When I was a kid, the only southern pea any of my relatives grew that I can remember was the pinkeye purplehull, although we had some friends who grew lady peas and cream peas. I sometimes grow lady peas, cream peas or zipper peas.

All the southern peas are good and I am going to rototill up a big section of bermuda grass this winter, remove it, add a little compost to the soil, and grow a whole lot more next year. We ate southern peas with 4 or 5 or more meals a week all summer and still managed to put quite a few in the freezer, but I want more, more, more. (They're one of the few veggies our DS will eat happily.)

I'm going to find and link the NCSU southern pea cultivar list for you to look at--just for fun. It doesn't include "all" the southern peas that are available but it lists a lot of them.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: NCSU Southern Pea Cultivar Listing


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RE: Cowpeas

WOW, That's a lot, and I had no idea. After looking at all of my seeds, I discovered I only had one pack of southern peas. It is Turkey Craw and has 30 seeds in it.

I am getting an education here because I didn't know there were climbers. I knew about bush and those that are trailing bush, but climbers are new to me. So, do they produce a long time like pole beans? Do you need to plant a bush type for a big crop all at once and a pole for fresh eating all season? You know I am big on things I can pick standing instead of bending or crawling.


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RE: Cowpeas

In an old thread George is talking about Georgia Long and he refers to it as a cowpea/long bean. Now I am confused. I have a ton of long beans, but I thought they were used in stir fry and didn't "boil up" right or become mushy or something. I thought they were just planted like southern peas because of their need for heat.


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RE: Cowpeas

Carol, the long beans, a.k.a. asparagus beans are a variety of cowpea. They will cross. I imagine their seeds are just as good to eat as those of regular cowpeas. However, at least with Georgia Long, I wouldn't consider growing them in order to harvest edible seed. They are sparse producers that way.

Every cowpea (Southern pea) I've tried, which is no where near as many as has Dawn, will climb if given support. Penny Rile will go over 10' if given support. I'm sure that Black Crowder and Zongozotla Pintitos (a native Totonac mix from Mexico) will do the same. I haven't grown Red Ripper. But from what I've heard it is MORE indeterminate than most others, perhaps more vigorous. A friend of mine purchased 50 lb of Red Rippers at our local feed store and used them for a cover crop (with A LOT left over). They worked well. But he didn't like them, as he let them go to seed and they volunteered the next year. He gave us about 15 lb of the dried seed. They're good eating! But I haven't planted any.

I really like cowpeas for overcoming weeds. They are also, what I like to call a "feel good crop." It just makes me feel GOOD to be able to go out to the garden, even if I've neglected it a bit, and find cowpeas flourishing and with something I can pick and take to the kitchen. If I neglect them, they don't get swallowed up in the Bermuda grass!

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Cowpeas

Carol,

Southern peas are like beans...there are just oodles and oodles of varieties. To see some of the older traditional varieties that have been handed down/passed around for generations by indigenous tribes of the southwest, check out the link below from Native Seeds/SEARCH.

I have to agree with George that almost any southern pea will climb and get taller than expected if it finds a support to climb. This year, some of my pinkeye purple hulls, which are technically a semi-bush variety I think, grew across the pathway and climbed the tomato cages and got over 6' tall....and that was after growing horizontally for 2 or 3 feet just to reach the cage and start climbing. I've heard of Red Ripper/Mandy going 15-18 feet. If you don't trellis some of the ones like Red Ripper that grow aggressively, they can become a terrible tangle and I think that they get their reputation for vigorous seeding because you can't find and pick all the peas in that mad tangle of foliage, so a lot get missed and reseed themselves.

George, I gotta agree that black-eyed peas make me a happy gardener too. It doesn't really matter if you water them or weed them or whatever....they just keep on growing and producing. My fall black-eyed peas gave me my last picking on Sunday afternoon. Who would have thought that they'd set peas in the cold October and November weather we had? When it turned cool and rainy, I thought they were done....but they weren't. They're frozen now though.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Peas at Native Seeds/SEARCH


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RE: Cowpeas

I am still learning. I planted some cowpeas this year, but when we had that first threat of frost I pulled them up. They had lots of immature pods on them at the time, but they were kind of in my way. I would call mine "trailing or semi-vining", I guess. I fed the leaves to the quail and they loved them. LOL

I remember in an earlier post George was telling someone (Ilene, I think) about planting long beans, and he said plant them the same time you would cowpeas. I thought that was because of their need for heat, not because they were closely related.

One of my Rodale books says they are Vigna Unguiculata, subspecies Unguiculata, and that yard long beans are Vigna Unguiculata, subspecies Sesquipedalis. So I guess they are very closely related.

I know that my mother grew black-eyed peas when I wasn't very interested, but I think she always cooked them as dried beans. Do you pick yours early and serve them like a green bean, or do you grow them to dry? I know, too many questions.

I planted yard long beans one year, then broke my foot and couldn't work in the garden. Later I found a few dried bean pods hanging on the top of the 8 foot trellis, but I hadn't know they were there, so I didn't get to taste any of them. A vendor at Baker Creed had both purple and green long beans both times I was there and they were beautiful. She said that she loved them, but I think she was probably from the Phillipines and I just assumed she would stir-fry them. I have always read to stir-fry them, not to boil them. Do you grow these, and how do you use them?

Dawn and George, I really do appreciate your experience on things. I have lived so many places and have had small gardens over the years, but have just never had the time or space to experiment until the last few years, and I am loving it. In most of my gardens, I grew the basic things plus anything that I knew did well in those areas. In some locations a certain garden veggie was effortless and and others the same plant was a real challenge. I don't have a huge garden here, but if I keep rotating things all summer, I should be able to grow a lot of things.

George has made me want to try parsnips also. Of course, I don't plan to be like the Brit's and build myself a tall thin box to hold one parsnip and see how long it will grow. That is such a hoot. I only remember eating parsnips one time in my life and they were very good, but I just don't think about buying them. I had a friend from Australia and she invited us to a traditional meal from her country. She laughing told us that they fried everything. She had four root veggies cut in large chunks, and she deep fried them together. I remember potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, but can't remember the fourth one. They were all delicious. I had never tasted a parsnip, nor a deep fried carrot, but I liked them. I was skinny back then and didn't worry about the calories. Obviously, I don't worry much about it now. LOL


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RE: Cowpeas

We cook our Georgia Longs just like we do snap beans. But I've heard they are really best in a stir fry. I like them. Though, I have to say that they are not as good as regular snap beans, when eaten raw. I only like them cooked.

I got Georgia Long from a person in MO, back in 1987. They, in turn, got it from a fellow named Faxon Stinnet, of Vian, OK. I gave some seed to my wife's grandparents, in Salem, IL. And by 1997, after Grandma passed away and Grandpa wasn't well enough to garden, he gave me a bottle of seed and asked me to "keep it going." He didn't remember that I'd given them the seed in the first place. I grew it in Mexico and NJ and eventually moved to Tahlequah, with it. It was kind of eerie, to look it up in my records and find just how close I'd come to bringing it back "home!"

George


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RE: Cowpeas

Carol,

Because I only plant one double-row of them in the spring garden, and two double-rows in the fall garden, I tend to harvest them all at the 'green' stage, shell 'em and eat them fresh...or freeze them fresh. This summer and fall, Central Market had bags of fresh, organic, shelled 'green' southern peas in bags about the size of a well-filled sandwich-size zip-lock bag and they sold them for $5.99 a bag. I remember looking at those bags and trying to guess what our 2009 crop of purplehull pinkeyes would be worth at that price....it was quite a lot. I know I never could have afforded to buy all the peas we ate and froze if I was having to pay that price for them.

Next year, I want to plant a HUGE amount of them and harvest some for fresh eating, but also leave a lot of them to dry on the vine, and then pick 'em and shell 'em dry. I might plant long beans too. I've only grown them once or twice in the past, and it was as an experimental thing. I did pick them and eat them fresh. I assume you can pick them and eat them dry too.

I never had enough space for the garden I wanted in Fort Worth because our old neighborhood had humongous trees and the trees from the neighbors on all three sides of us almost completely shaded our yard. I had to carve out little veggie patches in the scattered sunny spots I had in the front, back and side yards.

I helped my dad with his larger garden, and for a couple of years had a really large (1/4 acre) garden at my brother's place in the country. He started the garden and it did pretty well, but he was one of those who plants and then doesn't bother to weed or water, so production was only so-so. When he told me I could 'take over' his veggie garden plot if I wanted to, I double dug, built raised beds above grade and filled the raised beds with an imported soil mix from Silver Creek Materials that was, I think, 50% sandy loam and 50% compost. I also added tons of manure to that soil mix, so it was really rich. For the three years that I planted and maintained his garden before we moved here, we had incredible production. Of course, I kept it weeded and watered too, and his wife kept saying she didn't know that soil improvement, weeding and watering could increase the yields so much. We split the harvest pretty much 50-50 and it was a wonderful experience for us all....and was great practice for me. I was able to use a lot of what I learned from that experience when we moved here and I started this garden.

After we moved here, I had to experiment and try a gazillion different things....just because I could. One year I had about 30 or 40 kinds of squash. Some years I had six or seven kinds of onions and maybe 10 kinds of basil. After almost a decade of dabbling and experimenting, I've cut back a lot on the 'playing' and am beginning to focus on growing as much of our own produce as possible...and to dabble less in experiments and ornamentals. To do that, though, in the quantities I want so that I can put up lots for winter, I need more fenced garden space with improved soil, so hopefully this winter I can rototill, improve and fence enough space to at least double my growing space. From 1999 until about 2003, the deer didn't bother my garden....I think maybe they hadn't really discovered it, although the did get all my hostas (over 100 of them) in the first two years we were here. (Clearly, I didn't replant hostas after that.) Since then, I've had to keep everything inside a fenced area so that's cut back on how much I can grow.

I learn so much from everyone here and it helps me in my efforts to grow more, and to "work smarter, not harder" as my dad used to say. I learned so much from my gardening relatives by helping them when I was a kid, but it took me forever to get 'here' where I could have the space to grow everything I wanted to grow myself, on our land, in my garden. I am grateful to all my grandparents, aunts, uncles and my dad (and many gardening neighbors too) for all they taught me about gardening. I wish more of them were still arond to enjoy my garden with me the way I always enjoyed their gardens with them.

The funny thing is that gardening more has led me to cooking more. I've always cooked and always been considered a good cook, but used to consider cooking to be just another household chore. Now I cook a lot more and enjoy it more and really love doing it (when I am in a cooking mood, at least)...although on some of those hot summer days, I'd just as soon have a cold sandwich as cook a hot meal.

I wonder what the fourth veggie was that your friend cooked? If they all were cold-season crops, maybe the fourth was rutabaga (might be too similar to turnip, though, to put them both in the same dish) or salsify or even one of the many winter squashes.

I don't worry much about calories now. I know I should, but it doesn't make sense to cook wonderful food and not eat it. I'm afraid all the bread-baking is going to get me into trouble, calorie-wise, if I am not careful. LOL

Dawn


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RE: Cowpeas

Dawn, I have been trying to remember the 4th one, and I think it was just onion. I would have remembered rutabaga because we like that one raw. I actually like rutabaga and turnip slices just to eat like a chip especially if I have a good dip. I think we could more or less stand in the garden and have dinner. LOL


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