Produces heavy yields of purple pods that contain creamy colored peas with maroon eyes. Bush-like plant is self-supporting if planted thickly. Excellent for drying, canning, and fresh eating. Cowpeas are a large family of legumes, also commonly called field peas, black-eyed peas, crowder peas and southern peas. This highly nutritious legume is prized for its easy growing habits and dependable storage. Native to Africa, they are a staple in diets around the world including large parts of Asia, Latin America, and the American South. They can be eaten fresh or dried and are a main ingredient in Hoppin' John, along with greens and rice. Harvest when pods are plump and filled out for cooking immediately or allow pods to dry on the vine before harvesting for long term storage. Nutrients: Protein, vitamins A, C, B6, folate (very high), thiamin, riboflavin.
Average Seed / oz
Seed / 100' Row
Average Yield / 100' Row
Days to Harvest
Ideal Soil Temp
After Last Frost
Direct Seed Spacing
Seeds Per Packet
Days to Sprout
Cowpea is a frost sensitive annual that prefers full sun and tolerates a wide variety of soils. Drought and heat tolerant once established.
Cowpea seed should be direct seeded outdoors once the danger of frost has passed. Sow seeds 1-2" deep and 2-3” apart. Seeds will sprout in 6-14 days. Thin seedlings so that mature plants are 2-4" apart. Plants may need some trellising, but if planted thickly should support themselves.
Cowpea can be harvested in approximately 55-75 days. Harvest when pods are plump and full for cooking immediately or allow pods to dry on the vine before harvesting for long term storage.
Cowpea is self-pollinating and will rarely cross, although it can happen. Like all legumes, the flowers are visited by honeybees and bumblebees, but only the bumblebees are heavy enough to be effective pollinators on the short stigma flowers. On plants being saved for seed, allow the seeds to dry on the plant for as long as possible, gather and continue to dry indoors with good air circulation and then separate seeds from the chaff. Store seeds in a cool dry place and they will remain viable for 4-6 yr.