Cowpea, California Blackeye No.5
Delicious flavor, either fresh or dried.
Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.
Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.
How to Sow
Cowpea: Direct Sow Vegetable
- Because cowpeas are members of the legume family of plants, they can benefit from an application of a soil inoculant designed for beans and peas, prior to planting. The inoculant will enable the plants to take nitrogen from the air to use as fertilizer, which can increase crop yield and quality.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Sow in average soil in a sunny location after danger of frost from late spring to early summer. Sow after the soil has warmed, as seeds may rot in cooler soils.
- Coat untreated seed with an inoculant.
- Sow in rows 24 inches apart. Sow seeds 2-3 inches apart and cover with 2 inches of fine soil. Firm lightly and water gently.
- Seedlings emerge in 10-14 days depending on soil and weather conditions.
- Keep sowing bean seeds every 2 weeks for a constant supply of beans.
- Thin gradually to stand 10 to 12 inches apart when seedlings are 1-2 inches high.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- In dry weather, keep soil well-watered. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Do not work or handle plants when leaves are wet.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- For fresh use, pick pods as soon as well-filled out with seeds.
- For dried bean use, harvest about 80 days after seeds sprout.
- To dry: Allow the cowpeas to stay on the plants until they are partially dry. Then pull up the plants and hang them in a warm, dry place with good air circulation until the pods and seeds are thoroughly dry. Shell the cowpeas and save the pods and plants for composting.