Cow Peas Seed Pack
Cowpeas: Vigna unguiculata
Southern peas, or "cowpeas" as they are known to northerners, are native to Africa and were most likely brought to the United States in early colonial times during the slave trade. They became a staple food in the southeastern United States where they are eaten as green-shelled peas or left to dry on the vine for later use. As early as 1675, records show cowpeas being used in Jamaica. In 1797, George Washington imported 40 bushels of what he called "pease" from Jamaica to plant in his fields for forage.
Cowpeas are not cold tolerant and need warm soil of 65-70°F or higher to grow. Direct sow in the garden, plant seeds 1" deep and 6-8" apart; space rows 3-4' apart. Seeds germinate in 7-10 days. Thin seedlings to a 12-14" spacing between plants when they are 1-2" tall. Needs 90-100 frost free days. Very drought tolerant.