Purple hull peas seeds

Types Of Purple Hull Peas – Learn How To Grow Purple Hull Peas

If you’re from the southern United States, I’m betting you have grown, or at least eaten, your fair share of purple hull peas. The rest of us might not be as familiar and are now asking, “What are purple hull peas?” The following contains information on how to grow purple hull peas and purple hull pea maintenance.

What are Purple Hull Peas?

Purple hull peas are a member of the southern pea, or cow pea, family. They are believed to be native to Africa, specifically the country of Niger, and most likely came over during the era of American slave trading.

As their name suggests, the pod of purple hull peas is of course, purple. This makes it very easy to spot for harvest among the green foliage. Contrary to its name, purple hull peas are not peas but are more akin to beans.

Types of Purple Hull Peas

Purple hull peas are related to crowder peas and black eyed peas. There are many types of purple hull peas from vining, semi-vining and bush varieties. All varieties are hardy in Sunset’s climate zones 1a through 24.

  • Vining – Vining purple hull peas need trellises or supports. Pink Eye is an early vining purple hull variety that is resistant to all three types of Fusarium diseases.
  • Semi-vining – Semi-vining purple hull peas grow vines that are closer together than the vining varieties, requiring less space. Coronet is a very early variety with a harvest at only 58 days. It has resistance only to mosaic virus. Another semi-vining variety, California Pink Eye, matures in about 60 days and has no disease resistance.
  • Bush – If you are short on space, you might consider growing bush purple hull peas. The Charleston Greenpack is one such variety that forms a compact self-supporting bush with pods developing on the top of the foliage, making for easy picking. Petit-N-Green is another such variety with smaller pods. Both are resistant to mosaic virus and mature between 65-70 days. The Texas Pink Eye Purple Hull is yet another bush variety with some disease resistance that is harvestable in 55 days.

Most of the purple hull pea varieties produce pink-eyed beans, hence, some of the names. One variety, however, produces a larger brown bean or crowder. Called the Knuckle Purple hull, it is a compact bush variety that matures at 60 days with a resulting stronger flavor than its counterparts.

How to Grow Purple Hull Peas

The neat thing about growing purple hull peas is that they are an excellent choice for late summer planting. Once the tomatoes and have finished up, use the garden space for purple hull peas for an early fall crop. Purple hull peas are a warm weather annual that can’t abide frost, so timing is essential for later crops.

For early plantings, sow seeds in the garden four weeks after the last average frost date or start peas indoors six weeks prior to transplanting out into the garden. Succession crops can be sowed every two weeks.

This southern pea variety is easy to grow, not fussy about the type of soil they grow in and needing very little additional fertilization. Spread 2 inches of organic matter (compost, rotted leaves, aged manure) over the bed and dig into the upper eight inches. Rake the bed smooth.

Direct sow seeds 2-3 inches apart at ½ inch deep. Cover the area around the peas with a 2-inch layer of mulch; leave the seeded area uncovered and water in well. Keep the seeded area moist.

Once the seedlings have emerged and have three to four leaves, thin them out to 4-6 inches apart and push the mulch around the base of the remaining plants. Keep the peas moist, not drenched. There is no other purple hull pea maintenance required. The organic matter added to the soil, along with the fact that purple hulls fix their own nitrogen, negates the necessity for additional fertilization.

Depending upon the variety, harvesting time will be between 55-70 days. Harvest when the pods are well filled out and are purple in color. Shell the peas immediately, or if you aren’t using them right away, refrigerate them. Shelled peas can be held for several days in the fridge. They also freeze beautifully if you happen to have a bumper crop that can’t be eaten right away.

Planting Peas

News article for May 28, 2018

News article for May 28, 2018

Strawberries lasted longer this year than usual. The cool spring and lack of rain helped some growers to pick on to the end of May. Now they are busy removing plastic mulch and getting ready to plant peas.

Peas have long been planted as a green manure crop that adds nutrients back into the soil. Growers use all types of legumes, such as clay iron peas, soybeans and southern peas that when plowed in will increase organic matter and will increase organic nitrogen. In addition, a crop of peas will shade the garden soil and reduce broadleaf weeds and grasses.

This is a practice that any vegetable gardener can incorporate into their own garden and if you use southern peas, you can pick the peas before plowing in the vines. Southern peas are ideal because they thrive in the summer heat and require no extra fertilizer when grown behind another vegetable crop.

I would not worry so much about planting in rows. Leave your rows up for good drainage but till them lightly for good seed bed preparation and then broadcast pea seeds.

There are four different types of southern peas and all would work well as a summer crop, it is just a matter of what you like to eat. Your choices are Crowder peas, purple hull peas, black-eyed peas and cream peas. Some varieties actually will fit into more than one category.

I personally like the top pick varieties that have been developed for mechanical harvest. These varieties will produce pea pods above the canopy of leaves so a combine could easily harvest them, but they are also much easier to hand pick, especially when you broadcast seed.

In all four types there are vining and non-vining varieties. The non-vining varieties grow as a bush but if you add too much nitrogen, the non-vining varieties will vine.

Crowder peas are one of the favorites and are characterized as pea varieties that are closely spaced in the pod. Seed are so tightly crowded and pressed against each other that they can dent each other. Recommended non-vining Crowder pea varieties would include Top Pick Crowder (red/purple pod) and vining varieties would include Mississippi Purple, Mississippi Silver, Mississippi Shipper and Dixie Lee.

Purple hull peas are varieties with pods that will turn purple as they mature. As a child they were my favorite to pick because I could tell which ones were ready. There are a number of purple hull varieties that can be classified as black-eyed and Crowder. Non-vining varieties that are also top pick would include Quickpic, Texas Pinkeye and Top Pick Pinkeye. Vining purple hull varieties would include Pinkeye Purple Hull, and Mississippi Pinkeye Purple Hull.

Black-eyed peas are common at a traditional New Year’s Day meal. Their seeds have a characteristic dark eye. Queen Anne, Magnolia Blackeye and Aube are non-vining recommended varieties. Magnolia Blackeye and Aube are recommended for mechanical harvest.

Cream Peas are varieties with light green or white seeds that do not turn dark when cooked. Pods are white to light green at maturity and the pot liquor remains clear when cooking these peas. Recommended varieties of cream peas would include Zipper Cream which is vining. Elite and Top Pick are both non-vining varieties and suitable for mechanical harvest.

Peas will be ready to harvest in 50 to 85 days from planting, depending on variety. Once you have picked the peas, mow the vines, let them wilt and then plow the plants into the soil. If you are just using peas as a manure crop, cut peas when they first start to bloom.

For more information on these or related topics, contact Kenny at 225-686-3020 or visit our website at www.lsuagcenter.com/livingston.

The Southern pea is a warm-weather annual that will tolerate no frost. Southern peas are also called blackeyed peas, crowder peas, and yard-long beans. Southern peas are sometimes called cowpeas or field peas. Sow Southern peas in the garden 4 weeks after the last average frost date in spring. For an early start, sow Southern peas indoors 6 weeks before you plan to transplant them into the garden. Sow succession crops every 2 weeks. Southern peas require 60 to 90 days to reach harvest.

Description. Southern peas are tender bushy or vining annuals. They are more beanlike than pealike. The best know Southern pea is the blackeyed pea. It is white with a distinctive black mark at the hilum or seed scar where the seed attaches to the pod that makes it look like an eye. Other types of Southern peas are: the crowder pea, so named because the seeds seem to be crowded into their pod; cream or conch peas; and the purple-hull pea, named for the color of their pod. Southern peas are also called cowpeas or field peas because they are sometimes fed to livestock or used as green manure.

Southern peas have compound glossy green leaves with white or pale purple flowers. The pods resemble those of the common bean. Dwarf varieties of the Southern pea produce blackeyed peas. Other subspecies of the Southern pea include a very long-podded subspecies (sesquipedalis) known as asparagus bean, snake bean, or yard-long bean and an oblong-seeded subspecies (cylindrical) known as catjang pea or Indian cowpea

Yield. Plant 30 Southern pea plants for each household member. Succession sow Southern peas every 2 to 4 weeks for a continuous harvest.

Southern peas prefer warm to hot weather, with air temperatures between 70° and 95°F–most days exceeding 85°F.

Planting Southern Peas

Site. Plant Southern peas in full sun; they will tolerate partial shade. Grow Southern peas in loose, well-drained soil. Southern peas prefer sandy, loamy soil. Soils rich in organic matter will increase productivity, but Southern peas, like other legumes, are often planted to help improve poor soil. Add aged compost to growing beds at planting time. Southern peas prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5.

Planting time. Sow Southern peas 4 weeks after the last average frost date in spring when the soil has warmed to at least 60°F. Southern peas prefer warm to hot weather, with air temperatures between 70° and 95°F–most days exceeding 85°F. Southern peas require 60 to 90 frost-free days to reach harvest. For an early start, sow Southern peas indoors 6 weeks before you plan to transplant them into the garden. Sow southern peas for later transplanting in biodegradable peat or paper pots that can be set whole into the garden; generally, Southern peas do not transplant well. Sow succession crops every 2 to 4 weeks.

Planting and spacing. Sow Southern peas ½ to 1 inch deep, space plants 2 inches apart later thinning successful seedlings to 4 inches apart. Space rows 3 feet apart. Raise rows 6 to 8 inches above the garden; Southern peas grow best in well-warmed soil. Grow Southern peas up stakes, trellises, or wire supports strung between stakes.

Companion plants. Beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radishes, and turnips. Do not plant Southern peas with garlic, onions or potatoes.

Container growing. Southern peas can be grown in containers, but growing peas in a container may not be practical because many plants are required to produce a reasonable crop. Grow Southern peas in containers 12 inches deep.

Set supports in place at planting time.

Caring for Southern Peas

Water and feeding. Keep the soil moist; do not let Southern peas dry out. Water at the base of plants; overhead watering may cause flowers or small pods to fall off and reduce the yield. Add aged compost to growing beds at planting time. Side dress Southern peas with compost tea at midseason. Too much nitrogen will prevent blossoms from setting pods.

Care. Set supports in place at planting time.

Pests. Southern peas can be attacked by bean beetles, aphids, spider mites, and leafhoppers. Control aphids and beetles by handpicking or hosing them off plants or pinch out aphid-infested vegetation. Plants infested with spider mites should be removed and placed in a paper bag and put in the garbage before they spread to other plants.

Diseases. Southern peas are susceptible to anthracnose, rust, mildews, mosaic, and wilt. Plant disease-resistant varieties when possible. Keep the garden clean and free of debris. Do not work with plants when they are wet to avoid spreading fungal spores. Remove and destroy diseased plants before healthy plants are infected.

Harvesting and Storing Southern Peas

Harvest. Southern peas can be eaten fresh or dried. For fresh use harvest Southern peas when pods are just bulging but still young and tender. The entire pod can be eaten or the pods can be shucked and the seeds or peas eaten after rinsing. Dried Southern peas can be harvested after the pods have matured, turned yellow or brown and dried but before the pods have split open. Southern peas for fresh use will be ready for harvest in 60 to 70 days, for dry use in 90 or more days.

Storing and preserving. Fresh, green-podded Southern peas can be stored unshelled in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks. Green-shelled peas can be blanched, cooled in an ice-water bath and stored in the freezer for up to 1 year. Dried shelled Southern peas can be stored in a cool, dry place for 10 to 12 months.

Southern Pea Varieties to Grow

Common name. Pea, southern pea, black-eyed pea, cowpea, crowder pea

Botanical name. Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata

Origin. Asia


When to Plant Purple Hull Peas

Starting Indoors

These peas require between 60 and 90 days free of frost to mature. In cool climates, start purple hull peas indoors to get a jumpstart on the season. Plant them in trays about 4 weeks before the average last frost in your region. Most warm weather plants, including purple hull peas, prefer a germinating temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

Soak peas overnight prior to planting to speed up germination. Transplant them outside once the soil is consistently above 60°F (15°C). Some gardeners claim that starting peas indoors isn’t ideal because they don’t transplant well, others swear by getting them in early. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Direct Sow

Plant purple hull peas outside directly after all danger of frost has passed. Ideally, soil temperatures should reach 60°F (15°F). This is typically late spring in May or early summer in June.

Plant purple hull peas in full sun to partial shade. Soils that are not well draining could cause the seed to rot in the ground before sprouting. Add 2 inches of compost to the garden bed for nutrients. Purple hull peas are nitrogen-fixing members of the pea and bean family. They do not require nitrogen fertilizers and may become damaged if exposed to a high nitrogen fertilizer organic or synthetic.

Plant them 4-6 inches apart and 2 inches deep. If in rows, plant them along a row trellis of some sort. Another method involves placing a stake next to each pea seed. Either way, most purple hull pea varieties will need something to climb when they emerge. There are semi-bushing and bushing varieties which do not require trellising.

  • Knuckle Purple Hull Pea – Bushing variety, low crowding plant, heavy yields
  • California Pinkeye Purple Hull – Popular variety, semi-bushing, 60 days
  • Mississippi Pinkeye Purple Hull Pea – 24″ Long Vines, Brown peas, Easy shellers,

Successional Planting

Many farmers will plant in succession to maximize their harvest and lengthen the harvest season. It requires a bit more space but will ensure that a supply of fresh peas are coming into maturity all season.

To plant successionally, plant your first crop as you would normally after the frost has passed. Make a note of when you planted that lot because two weeks later you’re going to plant another lot. Continue to plant every two weeks until the peas don’t have enough time to mature before the cold sets in.

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