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Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

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Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/12/2011, 8:17 pm

I know I'm early, but I don't stay up late anymore, and I am not always able to function early in the AM so this is going to be early.

Southern Peas, either you cannot remember a time when you have not known about them, or think you have never heard of them, I was in the later group for most of my life. However, one of the most common Southern Pea is actually very popular all over this country, and eaten on New Year's Day, Black-Eyed Peas. They are very easy to grow, full of protein, and quite tastey actually.

The official name for them is Vigna unguiculata. Southern Peas are a Legume. They are a drought resistant, warm weather crop, which is why they do so well in the southern states, and have earned the name Southern Peas. They also do very well in soil that is mostly clay. When they first arrived here in the U.S. they were called Field Pease (yes that is what Thomas Jefferson planted and how he reccorded them in his garden journal, although he preffered English Peas for his table) and used mostly for feeding livestock.

Many people I have talked to have grown them all thier life by just tilling up a patch of land and scattering them, then letting them go. The peas do just fine most years, left to themselves, and the grower picks them when they dry on the plant. In past years we have grown them in rows, but did not "let them go", we watered and kept them picked and were picking peas up to the first frost and sometimes till the first freeze. Last year we tried them in boxes, and they did well. This year I have them in boxes with my corn and squash, legumes fix atmospheric nitrogen through their root nodules making them a great crop to "intercrop" with other crops or to use as a rotation crop after a heavy feeder like corn or cotton. Southern Peas are also shade tolerant, so they will do just fine planted with corn. You can plant them 9 to a square, but they tend to spend a lot of energy growing tall, to compete for light, and a good wind can knock the whole square over. I now plant mine 5 to a square (1 in each corner and one in the center) then put up a 3' steak in the corners and string around the steaks for added support. I wish I could put up a picture, but we are having computer/printer/phone issues right now.

Two subcategories are Crowders (crowded in the pod) and Cream Peas. I tend to prefer the Cream peas, not sure why, just do. In our garden this year we have; Black-eyed, Cream (not sure of technical term, just a mid sized cream pea), Zipper Cream, Lady Cream, Purple Hull, Calico, Holstein, Blue Calico, & Pretzel. Some of these just occupy 1 square as this is the first year to try them, and I am growing for seed. As long as you keep them picked (just like Mel says to in his ANSFG book for all plants) the plants will keep producing.

To preserve them you can shell them, as most do, while sitting on the porch or watching TV with your family, blanch them (about 10-15 minutes in boiling water, depending on size of pea), rinse them in ice cold water (I dunk them), drain, bag and freeze. I really don't bother with flash freezing (spreading on a cookie sheet and placing in the freezer for 15 minutes before bagging) but you do have that option. You can also can them, just check your canning book for the proper time, they are a legume so will need to be canned in a pressure cooker. Recently I have started drying them, we live in the country so a power outage can mean the loss of a summer's worth of work. Sometimes I shell them, spread them on a cookie sheet and set them in the sun, you can dry them in the oven or a dehydrator if you wish. I also have spread them on a cookie sheet still in the pod, let them dry in the sun or oven (250 degrees), shell them and store them in a jar. Drying them is also how you save seed for next year.

Cooking them. If you dry them it does take a bit longer to cook them, but you really cannot tell the difference. Jut toss in a pot in the morning, keeping it at a low boil, (or crock pot, low temp, night before) with some bacon, or ham (chopped or still on the bone), season to taste (that's the offical term here), keep an eye on the pot, stirring occasionally, and by dinner you have a wonderful addition to your meal. Season to taste usally includes any or all of these; pepper, lemon pepper, paprika, salt, seasoned salt, soul food seasoning, garlic, and really anything else in the spice cabinet you may feel inclined to add. I have stopped salting food when I cook, the taste cooks out, but the sodium remains, so I salt if needed 15 minutes before what ever I am cooking is done.

Southern Peas are a wonderful addition to any one's SFG and don't forget they are a GREAT source of protein too.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  WardinWake on 5/12/2011, 8:29 pm

Howdy FarmerVal:

What a great article on one of my favorites, Black Eye Peas. Thanks for posting.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Gimme dem black eyes!

Post  oxmyx1 on 5/12/2011, 8:34 pm

Hey - Thank you, Valerie, for your info on one of my favorite veggies! I never cared much for them... UNTIL... I got to try them Fresh From The Garden. OMG!!!! I cannot tell you what a universe of flavor difference there is from 'store-bought', canned (ewwww), or even frozen peas.

So, here in my first year of retirement from teaching, I was so looking forward to growing them. But it seemed NOBODY here in Santa Fe, NM area has any clue what they are. I couldn't find seed!!!! Can't believe I had to break down and order. But I did, and started them in a grow box on my deck (growing anything but adobe bricks here is, pardon the pun, 'fruitless'). Come to find out they are supposedly a 'warm season crop' - and my last frost date here is May 25!

But miracles do happen... Of the sixteen I planted, 15 are finally showing their brave little leaflets. And number 16? I poked a little, and he/she is IN there, just a little slower than the rest. Woohoo!

And before you all freak out, I started my containers before I found out about SFG, so there. A 4x4 is my next project!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  camprn on 5/12/2011, 8:41 pm

Yum! Nice write up!!! But these are really beans, yes? not peas? Maybe I missed it in the article.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  walshevak on 5/12/2011, 8:48 pm

I can remember picking field peas with my grandmother. She always picked some of the immature pods as well as the full pods. We would go pack to the house and sit on the porch, rocking and shelling and snapping peas for supper.

One thing I want to add. Peas will "take a heat" (sour) as she said if left out in a warm area. Remember, this was pre A/C days. So put them in the fridge soon after picking, especially if you are not able to shell them right away.

Kay

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/12/2011, 9:49 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSD4vsh1zDA

See, now I thought you were talking about THESE cowpeas above...

Well done, FV!!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  middlemamma on 5/13/2011, 3:13 am

Great info! Thanks FV!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/13/2011, 8:26 am

Looks like this post sparked a few memories of siting for a spell and shelling peas. Tom T. Hall once said something like this, "America started to go down hill when they stopped building porches, people no longer sit on the front porch and talk to their neighbors". I'm inclined to agree with him.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 5/13/2011, 9:22 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:Looks like this post sparked a few memories of siting for a spell and shelling peas. Tom T. Hall once said something like this, "America started to go down hill when they stopped building porches, people no longer sit on the front porch and talk to their neighbors". I'm inclined to agree with him.

Ahhhhh, a Tom T reference. Roger Miller, now Tom T Hall....lol. That darned Sneaky Snake drank all my root beer!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/13/2011, 9:51 am

Guess I'm feeling a bit "spunky" again as I'm no popping Benadryl like candy any more. BBG, this is for you, I seriously hope it stays with you ALL DAY.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgUPdbsZYgU

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  walshevak on 5/13/2011, 9:52 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:Looks like this post sparked a few memories of siting for a spell and shelling peas. Tom T. Hall once said something like this, "America started to go down hill when they stopped building porches, people no longer sit on the front porch and talk to their neighbors". I'm inclined to agree with him.

Add to that A/C. Houses stayed hot at the end of the day and folks would sit on the front porch and greet any neighbors that happened by.

I can remember taking my ironing out to the screened porch in the evening where I could catch a breeze and avoid the heat of the house.

But, I'm guilty, I will not give up my A/C.

Kay

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  Miss M on 5/13/2011, 11:48 am

I shelled many a southern pea growing up, and I haven't done it in ages. Now I'm growing Purple Hulls!! I would love to grow what I grew up knowing as "field peas", though I now know the whole group is called that. "Field peas" to us were the cultivar called "Little Red Peanut Peas". They are hard to find now, as not many grow them anymore, but I think I can order them online.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/48747/

It took much searching to find exactly what they were, since we knew them only as field peas. I posted a wanted thing here and at Dave's Garden. A lady at Dave's Garden had some to trade, and I contacted her, but never heard back. Looks like she's not active on DG anymore.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/16/2011, 8:24 am

@camprn wrote:Yum! Nice write up!!! But these are really beans, yes? not peas? Maybe I missed it in the article.

No, you did not miss it camprn, I did not include it, INTENTIONALLY, it's not worth splitting hairs on this either. I did mention that Peas and Beans are all Legumes of some sort, so if you really want to get technical you could say they are all the same family."from the pod", which also includes peanuts-but not walnuts or almonds. Are peanuts a nut? Are walnuts a fruit? Who cares? It seems strange to me that those who delared a tomato a veggie so they could collect import taxes also declare this a bean instead of a pea, when it really does not amount to a hill of beans what it really is. We down here eat them like peas, call them peas, and will forever call them peas, and when you search for them that's where they are, with the peas. Does it really matter?

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Friday's Rookie Topic V-Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  sherryeo on 5/16/2011, 9:50 am

Another great topic! I have a couple of squares of Pinkeye Purple Hulls planted as we speak. They're coming along nicely. I'll hopefully have more boxes to plant more next year. I know I probably won't get many from only 2 squares, but wanted to see how they'd do.

Growing up in the south, this has always been a staple in our families. We always called them field peas. We like them best cooked together with "speckled butter beans" and plenty of small okra pods and ham hocks or bacon! And buttermilk cornbread slathered with butter to go with! Yumm. Man, now I'm hungry! I ran out of room and didn't get to do the butter beans this year, but hope to next time.

for another great post, FarmerValerie! Your weekly posts have become one of my favorite features on the forum! Please keep it up!!! Very Happy

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  camprn on 5/16/2011, 12:43 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:
@camprn wrote:Yum! Nice write up!!! But these are really beans, yes? not peas? Maybe I missed it in the article.

No, you did not miss it camprn, I did not include it, INTENTIONALLY, it's not worth splitting hairs on this either. I did mention that Peas and Beans are all Legumes of some sort, so if you really want to get technical you could say they are all the same family."from the pod", which also includes peanuts-but not walnuts or almonds. Are peanuts a nut? Are walnuts a fruit? Who cares? It seems strange to me that those who delared a tomato a veggie so they could collect import taxes also declare this a bean instead of a pea, when it really does not amount to a hill of beans what it really is. We down here eat them like peas, call them peas, and will forever call them peas, and when you search for them that's where they are, with the peas. Does it really matter?
Actually yes. I was just trying to clarify a fact as some folks (newbees) may be confused about the difference. http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t7232-help-me-understand-beans

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 5/16/2011, 3:15 pm

For those wanting more.

fabaceae
noun
a large family of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs bearing bean pods; divided for convenience into the subfamilies Caesalpiniaceae; Mimosaceae; Papilionaceae

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabaceae

Legume
noun
1. any plant of the legume family, especially those used for feed, food, or as a soil-improving crop.
2. the pod or seed vessel of such a plant.
3. any table vegetable of the legume family.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legume

They are all the same family as I mentioned in the original post, upon further research I have found that both beans and peas are in the "herbs bearing bean pods" section of this family. So maybe we should list them under herbs, however some of my Southern Peas after years of saving seed have reverted back to vine from bush, as they tend to do. When I go looking for Southern Peas in my catalogs I look under peas, not beans, telling a newbie they are beans could lead to more confusion when hunting seeds.

As for the question in the thread "Help with beans please", the OP wanted to know the difference between English and Southern Peas.

Southern Peas are in the Legume family, (again as I stated in my original post), anything else is Tomato, ToMAHto, Potato, PoTAHto.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  GreenBlueberry on 5/18/2011, 8:42 pm

@FarmerValerie wrote:You can plant them 9 to a square, but they tend to spend a lot of energy growing tall, to compete for light, and a good wind can knock the whole square over. I now plant mine 5 to a square (1 in each corner and one in the center) then put up a 3' steak in the corners and string around the steaks for added support. I wish I could put up a picture, but we are having computer/printer/phone issues right now.

Can you post a picture of how the cowpeas look as seedlings and when grown? I've looked and looked and couldn't find one. The packet doesn't say if they are a vine or bush. I planted a square of them (5 as you said) but since I've never seen the plants I don't know how they will grow and how to set up the stakes for them.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  walshevak on 5/18/2011, 8:52 pm

They are a bush pea. This link show a picture of a farmer in a field of black eyed peas.
http://www.arhomeandgarden.org/plantoftheweek/articles/southern_pea.htm

Kay

here are some pictures

http://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view?back=http%3A%2F%2Fsearch.yahoo.com%2Fsearch%3Fei%3DUTF-8%26p%3Dcowpea%2Bplants&w=160&h=153&imgurl=www.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcowpea%2Bplants%23focal%3D438cc39659cada003d7c395950f9a5ff%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fmy2paws.com%252fwp-content%252fuploads%252f2010%252f04%252fDSCF4196.jpg&size=&name=search&rcurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcowpea%2Bplants%23focal%3D438cc39659cada003d7c395950f9a5ff%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fmy2paws.com%252fwp-content%252fuploads%252f2010%252f04%252fDSCF4196.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bing.com%2Fimages%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcowpea%2Bplants%23focal%3D438cc39659cada003d7c395950f9a5ff%26furl%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fmy2paws.com%252fwp-content%252fuploads%252f2010%252f04%252fDSCF4196.jpg&p=cowpea+plants&type=&no=1&tt=111&oid=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fimages%2Fthumbnail.aspx%3Fq%3D971083361123%26id%3D819a2ccd52bc74a61ee3b64b1ddd9346&tit=Cowpea+Plant&sigr=158t8j07k&sigi=151r6h0vp&sigb=11nrnuhs7&fr=fp-yie9-s


Last edited by walshevak on 5/18/2011, 8:59 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add link to pictures)

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  GreenBlueberry on 5/18/2011, 9:11 pm

Thank you, walshevak! Now I see how they grow. I think my plot can handle it.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  laingram on 5/26/2011, 8:17 pm

I used to shell field peas with my great-grandmother during the summers. I am growing both the SaDandy cowpea and the Running Conch cowpeas.

Running Conch


SaDandy

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  sherryeo on 6/5/2011, 3:42 pm

FarmerVal & any others who might want to chime in -

I have several squares of pink-eye purple hull cowpeas planted. I put them in the front row of my sfg because I thought they would be rather compact little bush plants (they were planted before Val did her Friday topic on cowpeas - great post). Well, I'm very happy to say they seem to be doing spectacularly well and even have the beginnings of blooms on them.

But they have grown much taller than I expected and are putting out these long running vines. I've since searched online and some sites say they are bush plants and others call them vining plants. I planted 9 to a square, again before I read Val's topic. I read your method, FV, of tying string around them to help "contain" them and keep them from falling over. Do yours put on these long runners? Do you think the string will be enough to contain them? Will the "runners" try to latch onto other plants the way cucumbers do? I haven't noticed that happening yet.

I can try the string technique since I planted them on the outside squares. I have weedcloth and don't want to puncture it, so can put stakes on the outside of the bed. I sure don't mean to sound "whiney" because I really am thrilled they're doing so well. I just want to know what's the best thing to do to keep them doing well and prevent them from crowding out my eggplant. I have 2 baby eggplants on each of my two plants! Yeaaa!!! I I love you eggplants, as well as field peas, and would like to keep them both happy!

for any advice!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/6/2011, 8:20 am

Some have vine like shoots, some don't. Myson's black-eyed peas do. I string mine more for support during a storm than containment, but with these I'm seeing the benefit of having those stakes with string to contain them. They will not attach to anything, they will just keep sprawling out and over, if I did not have that support they would be laying on the ground some what. I'll try to get an updated picture of my son's black-eyed peas soon, I have to run to town in a bit so just before or after I'll snap one and post it. Also, just a thought, since yours are 9 to a square, they may get taller than usual, they are competing for light and room. The first year we gardened here (in rows) hubby planted the peas way to close together, and refused to let us thin them. They were tall and leggy, and one good wind knocked half of them down.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  sherryeo on 6/6/2011, 10:17 am

Thanks, FarmerValerie. We're supposed to have some thunderstorms here this week, so I'll try to get out there and see if I can get some string around them. I haven't had trouble with them falling over yet, but don't want to chance it since there could be some windy conditions with the storms.

The seed packet said to space 3 inches apart, which should be 16 per square, so I thought I was actually giving them more room than they'd need. Live and learn. I can't imagine these with 16 per square. I'll try your spacing next time - I can't see your original post while I'm in the "Post a reply" box, but I think you said you do 5 per square.

Thanks again for your reply!

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/6/2011, 10:38 am

Check your packet again and see if it tells you to thin to 6" when they start to come up. I came in to take a benadryl (allergies) and sat down for a second, thanks for reminding me to get pictures of the peas, I'll run out in a second, as soon as I catch my breath, and snap some.

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Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

Post  sherryeo on 6/6/2011, 11:59 am

Val,

The seed packet wasn't really clear, to me. It just says "spacing 3". Then, down at the bottom, it says "thin after several inches high." I just assumed the 3" spacing indicated meant the desired final spacing.

It seems that seed packets used to have more info on them - expected range of height and circumference of the plant and a bit more on how to plant. I think, with the advent of the Internet, the seed companies figure you can look more info up online. But I sure wish they'd give a bit more info on the seed packet for those times when you do buy in a physical store, rather than online.

Thanks again for taking your time to offer support/advice. I do greatly appreciate it. I'm looking forward to seeing pics, if you can get them. I'd like to have a digital camera so I could upload photos more easily. I have to get my sons to use their cell phones, mine's not as fancy as theirs, so it takes me a bit longer currently to get photos posted.

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Re: Friday's Rookie Topic V- Southern Peas (aka Cowpeas or Field Peas)

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