Black-eyed peas are arguably the most familiar variety of cowpeas. They’re popularly grown for their edible beans, a great energy source, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and various vitamins. This crop is also produced as a vegetable. Its young pods and tender leaves are used to make nutritious dishes. In this feed you ll get to know all about growing black eyed peas.
Who started the habit of eating black-eyed peas? That’s debatable. However, today they are grown worldwide. Black-eyed peas thrive in warmer growing zones. These crops are associated with good luck in the New Year.
They’re usually called ‘black-eyed’ thanks to their black dot where the bean joins the end. Apart from black, the eye can also assume other colors such as brown, green, pink, or red. They’re all green immediately after being shelled and but turn brown after drying.
There exist dozens of black-eyed pea varieties, California black-eye being the commonest. Whether you want to grow the most famous or the newest type of black-eye peas, the procedure and requirements are similar.
Growing and caring for black-eyed peas is extremely easy and rewarding. Regardless of whether you’re an amateur or a renowned ‘peas aficionado,’ here is all you need to grow and care for this fantastic crop.
Most Popular Varieties of Black Eyed Peas
Thanks to their many varieties, it may be hard to differentiate between black-eyed peas. We suggest that you experiment with varied types to find out which you enjoy eating, which does well in your garden. Here are a few popular types to get you kick-started.
- Queen Anne. It’s commonly a vine.
- Big Boy. Popular with those who love the bush varieties.
- California Black Eye. It comes in different stains. Find out which one thrives in your locality.
Tips On Growing And Caring For Black Eyed Peas
- Avoid planting outdoor black-eyed peas early in the season as that can cause the seeks to rot—time for when the soil is warm or try warming it by covering it with black plastic.
- You can grow the bush varieties in containers, even though they thrive best in the ground.
- In favorable weather conditions, you can succession grow your peas on staggered weeks over the summer.
- Since the soil ought to be well-drained with an almost neutral pH level (6.0-7.0), always consider mixing organic manure with the soil before planting for improved drainage and fertility.
- For the variety of the vine, direct sow them to about 1 inch deep and 2 feet apart. Simultaneously, you can broadcast them over the garden of plant them every 2-3 inches for the bush array.
When Is the Best Time to Grow Black Eyed Peas?
As mentioned above, black-eyed peas thrive in warm zones. Being a summer season crop, the best time to grow them is during the summer months.
How Tall Do Black Eyed Peas Grow
This depends on the type of black eye pea you grow, their variety, and growing conditions. The Vining variety can go past 6 feet while the bush variety manages up to 2-3 three feet tall.
Growing Black Eyed Peas
1. Choose a Location
Not all locations are suitable for black eyed peas. Therefore, please start by selecting the best place for growing them. Unlike some crops such as magic mushrooms, black eyed peas require a lot of light to thrive.
Therefore, choose a location that receives maximum sunlight. The area should also be fertile, free of weeds, and be well-drained to avoid flooding.
2. Prepare The Soil Ready For Planting
Start by weeding and cutting down any tall shrubs and trees that may hinder sunlight from reaching your crop. Gather all the weeds remains to reduce the chances of development of pests and diseases.
Although black eyed peas can grow in almost any soil type, they do better in fertile organic soil. You may need to increase the grounds of organic content by adding well-matured manure or homemade compost.
You are using a hoe till your seedbed to about 8 inches. Black eyed peas have shallow roots, so don’t dig too deep. In the case of soil clods, break them using a rake. Finally, level your seedbed.
Remove all foreign materials and debris that may hinder the development of roots. Raised beds are great for any crop; if you need one, here are how to get some soil and add it to a raised bed. If you opt to grow your black eyed peas in containers, ensure they’re big enough and infill with the correct soil.
3. Find Healthy Black Eyed Peas’ Seeds
We recommend that you source for certified seeds from any of your nearest store. Being a typical crop, they should be easy to find. Alternatively, you can place an online order.
Why do we recommend certified varieties? They’re usually gotten from best-performing species and therefore have dominant genes. Their germination rates are relatively high and are more resistant to drought, pests, and diseases.
Alternatively, you can use seeds saved from a previous season once you ensure they’re healthy. Finally, select the correct variety. Some are woody, while others are leafy. We suggest you choose the latter so you can enjoy yummy veggies.
4. Planting Black Eyed Peas
If the soil is dry, start by sprinkling it with water for easier infiltration. Apply the water till it’s saturated. Allow the ground to rest for half an hour as it absorbs enough water. After that, proceed as follows.
- After leveling the soil, mark rows on the soil. The spacing between the rows should be 25 inches.
- Make the planting holes. A simple stick or a machete will come in handy in this.
- Let the holes be at most 2 inches deep with spacing of 2-5 inches apart. Place the peas’ seeds into the holes. Try as much as possible to have the eye face down.
- Cover the holes with a thin layer of soil.
- Sprinkle water on them.
- Avoid unnecessary stumbles on the seedbed. That can compact the soil and interfere with the sprouting of seeds.
- Wait for the seeds to start growing within 5-10 days after sowing.
Caring for Black Eyed Peas
Generally, black eyed pea plants call for very little care. However, going the extra mile and taking some extra care never hurts. If anything, it increases their ultimate production. Here is more about caring for black eyed peas.
- Watering. In case of very scarce rainfall, do regular watering. However, they can still do without supplemental watering. Black eyed peas are drought resistant, and so you should avoid excess watering.
- Fertilize. This is only necessary in a case whereby you didn’t incorporate the compost manure, as mentioned above.
- Mulching. It’s vital in ensuring moisture retention. It also helps in smothering and hindering the development of weeds. The mulch should be applied when the seedlings are 4-8 inches tall. We recommend the usage of compost, straw, or dried leaves as mulching.
- Weeding. Controlling the weeds hinders the competition for soil nutrients, thus helping your crop thrive. You can uproot them using your hands or these organic methods of weeds control.
- Staking. As your black eyed peas grow, they develop tendrils that require support to continue growing upwards. Unless you’re intercropping your peas, you should stake them. Fix sticks beside them. The tendrils will attach themselves and twine om them for support.
- Control Pests and Diseases. These are quite rare in black eyed pea plants. However, it can lead to a loss of more than 90% of your crop’s leaves if there are any. If you spot any, use organic methods to control them. Common pests include leaf miners, aphids, nematodes, bean flies, and pod borers.
- Protect them from animals. Your animals and birds, among others, can wreak havoc in your garden. We recommend that you install a wire mesh barrier or scarecrows to drive animals away.
How Long Does Black Eyed Peas take to Mature
Black eyed peas take about 70 days to be harvested as young pods (snap bean). The dried bean usually takes a little longer, between 90-100 days.
Harvesting of Black Eyed Peas
Their leaves can be harvested after three weeks since the crop typically has sufficient leaves at that time. However, it would help if you gathered these leaves when you’re sure they’ll be cooked within three days. Start by picking the young leaves, but not those near the tip of the crop’s stem. The younger leaves are more tender and nutritious.
For the pods, harvest them once they’re about 4 inches long. Be cautious, pilling the pods from the crop. Harvest the green ones when you’re sure to cook them within five days. They make a delicious meal when cooked together with the leaves.
The mature pods should be harvested after they have dried and turned brown, but before they split. This is when they’re ready for shelling. Leave them to dry then put them in air-tight containers before storage in a dry location.
So, if you didn’t have an idea on how to grow and care for black eyed peas, there you have them. As you can affirm, there are no special technical skills that are needed to grow this crop.
In case you’ve been bored by eating kales and spinach and wish to try a different veggie, grow black-eyed peas and reap the benefits of their edible pods and leaves.
Hopefully, this guide will guide you through every step and fend off any excuses for not having a bountiful harvest. Best of luck as you grow and care for your black eyed peas.