Southern peas, black-eyed peas, cow peas, purple hull peas and field peas are all names for the crop known worldwide as cowpeas. They are a member of the legume family and are actually a bean and not a pea.
Southern peas are a warm season crop requiring warm soil temperature (at least 60 °F) for the best germination and emergence.
Many pests and diseases will plague Southern peas planted into cool soils.
Plant four to six seeds per foot in rows. Plant seed 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches deep in rows 30 to 40 inches apart. The older vining type cultivars of Southern peas should be planted with only one to two seeds per foot.
Control weeds early in the season with shallow cultivation. Later the peas will shade out most weeds. Avoid cultivation after the plants begin to bloom.
Southern peas are self pollinating. Insects as well as wind are responsible for moving the pollen to achieve fertilization. Care should be taken when spraying for insect pests to avoid damage to pollinating insects.
Southern peas will produce an adequate crop on most soils but will perform better on fertile soils. Heavy(clay) or wet soils should be avoided.
In soils where Southern peas haven’t been grown before, improve nodule formation and nitrogen fixation with inoculation of the proper pea strain of the Rhizobium bacterium.
Fertilize Southern peas sparingly with 2 to 3 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 feet of row. The fertilizer can be applied seven to 10 days before planting or added in a band 3 to 4 inches deep and 2 to 3 inches from the seed. Caution: High fertility will produce excessive vine growth with poor seed yields.
Irrigation is normally not necessary. Southern peas are renowned for their ability to grow and produce under harsh conditions.
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