Growing Cowpeas, also Black eye peas, Southern peas

Vigna Unguiculata : Fabaceae / the pea or legume family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P P              

(Best months for growing Cowpeas in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. When soil begins to warm up. After frosts finish.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 59°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: Rows 1 Metre apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Young cow peas on plant ( - Dinesh Valke - CC BY-SA 2.0)
  • Cow Peas (black-eyed peas) ( - Bubba73 - CCA-SA-3.0 License)

Cowpeas are heat and dry tolerant but frost will finish them. Can be grown in cooler areas if they are started under cover and planted out after last frost. They are an ancient food source and have probably been used since Neolithic times.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cowpeas

Young leaves can be cooked and used like spinach and are very high in protein. The young pods are edible.

Your comments and tips

17 Nov 13, herb (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Cowpeas,are they a ground cover or climber? I would like to dig some back in as nutrient.Is that ok?
07 Dec 15, Ray S (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Rather belated reply but cowpeas come in both bush and climbing forms, just like common beans. They make an excellent green manure during the warmer months in my climate zone and I'd expect they'd do well any time in the subtropics. Some are adapted to the wet tropics and others to the dry tropics. I grow them with minimal watering. Some I grow for the dry seeds to use in winter stews and others I grow as a green manure crop.
14 Mar 17, Phil Gray (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can I purchase these peas?
15 Mar 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
After a fair bit of searching I got onto Kiwi Seeds in Blenheim. I spoke to Maren and she said they didn't have them currently but could get them. They normally supply farmers but would be haappy to supply you some. talk to them on 3 578 0468. Trust this helps
15 Oct 18, Kathy J. (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Cowpeas are a staple here in the south. The town of Emerson, Arkansas has an annual purplehull pea festival & has a website with information on purplehull peas & many recipes you can try. There is even one for jelly using the hulls (spoiler alert: tastes like a mild grape). Purplehulls are a cowpea. What we have always been told was that cow peas weren't considered edible by most people. They came on the boats with slaves & that's who first were eating them. They were also given to livestock. An elderly neighbor told me never plant purplehulls until you hear the whipperwill. For us (Arkansas/Louisiana line, zone 8) that's usually mid-April. They will keep producing as long as you keep picking them. My elderly grandfather said instead of parboiling to can or freeze, just shell the peas & stick them (unwashed) in an old (but clean) pillowcase. As you want to cook them, get what you want out, wash & prepare/cook like normal. Tastes like fresh picked no matter how long its been.
24 Aug 19, Natalia (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I want to know the fertilizer recommendation(Including major and minor elements) of cowpea in sub-tropical, Australia. I lived in Armidale, NSW and I am going to grow cowpea. If I have a chance, could you please discuss boron and zinc fertilizer application (both basal and foliar fertiliser application)? Regards, Natalia
26 Aug 19, Anon (Australia - tropical climate)
If you were going to grow these on a large commercial scale then you could go into all this stuff you ask. Are you growing it to eat. In some farming it is used as a green manure crop. It puts N back into the soil - also some fibre. A general vegie fert would do. If really into boron and zinc buy some at Bunnings and apply at the rate on the packet.
09 Dec 19, Donna Georgiou (Australia - temperate climate)
I would like to grow black eye beans (cowpeas) for family use as we like them fresh as well as dry , would I be able to purchase seeds . [Gardenate: we don't sell any seeds or plants]
12 Dec 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try the internet.
28 May 20, Kat (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Is it too late to sow cowpea seeds? Also, can you grow cowpeas and green beans in the same raised bed?
Showing 1 - 10 of 18 comments

Ask a question or post a comment or advice about Cowpeas

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.