Despite being called a black-eyed pea, cowpea, or southern pea, these are actually beans. Cowpeas produce in higher heat, humidity, and drier conditions than other beans. Plants are bushy and occasionally semi-vining, producing 6"–8" pods produced at the top (crown) of the plant. Disease resistant.
• Botanical Name: Vigna unguiculata
• Days to Maturity: 75 days
• Family: Fabaceae
• Native: Africa
• Hardiness: Frost-sensitive annual
• Plant Dimensions: 14"–18" upright and bushy with potential for some semi–spreading vines
• Variety Information: Cylindrical, somewhat curved 6"–8" long pods produced on crown of plant. Medium to large, cream colored seeds with black "eyes". Resistant to wilt and root nematodes.
• Type: Shelling bean
• Attributes: Disease Resistant, Good for Containers, Heat Tolerant
• When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 2 to 4 weeks before your average last frost date, when soil temperature is at least 40°F; ideally 50°–70°F. Successive Sowings: Every 3 weeks until 4 to 6 weeks before your average first fall frost date. Mild Climates: Sow in fall for winter harvest.
• When to Start Inside: Not recommended; bean seedlings are sensitive to root disturbance.
• Days to Emerge: 6 – 12 days
• Seed Depth: 1"
• Seed Spacing: 1 seed every 3"–4"
• Row Spacing: 24"–36"
• Thinning: Not required
• Harvesting: For fresh, tasty cowpeas, shell seeds or enjoy in pod about 60 days after sowing, when peas just start to swell in the pod; seeds will be developed but not hard at this point. For dried beans, wait until the pods are dry and straw-colored to harvest. Young foliage is also edible and enjoyed like spinach. At season's end, plants are great compost material if they are disease-free.