Cowpeas, an ancient crop of Africa can also be grown in Florida provided you use the ideal pea variety at the appropriate time. The scientific name for cowpeas is Vigna Unguiculata and it’s an annual leguminous crop that is edible and nutritious.
The vegetable is favorable in arid and semi-arid areas with Sandy soil or poor soil. It doesn’t need fertilizer and the harvest period is within 2 – 3 months under perfect conditions. Most green beans are a product of cowpeas. It can also serve as a cover crop and is invaluable for crop rotation.
Southern peas have a remarkable ability to grow in poor soil. Many kinds are also utilized as cover crops and they are remarkably bug and disease-free in the Mid-Atlantic.
Cowpeas Varieties In Florida
In Florida, there are two varieties of peas that can be cultivated. Summer peas and English peas are two different varieties. In the cooler months, English peas will thrive, whereas summer peas will thrive in the warmer months.
Summer and English peas are different kinds of peas. English peas are tastier and are what most people think of when they hear the word “pea.” Summer peas resemble beans.
Read also: How To Grow Cowpeas In South Africa
Rules of Growing Cowpeas In Florida
You can’t just grow cowpeas without proper guidance, if not they won’t see the light of the day. The following are ways to grow your cowpeas in Florida.
- Ensure to maintain a depth of 1 inch and 2 inches apart in rows 3-6 feet apart and thinning to 4 inches apart.
- More space should be created for vining varieties that climb dent corn stalks for their drought-resistant nature.
- Peas from the south have comparable cultural needs as beans. Wait until 3-4 weeks after the last frost to plant them since they require warmer soil.
- A warm growing season and full sun are required.
- Provide well-drained soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 for the best results.
- If you don’t use nitrogen, your yield will suffer and your foliage will be lush.
Planting Season In Florida For Cowpeas
Cowpeas can be planted in Florida’s zone 9 from mid-March to mid-September. Gardeners in southern and northern Florida will need to alter their plans accordingly. However, summer peas and English peas have various planting seasons.
Planting English Peas in North Florida starts from Jan – Mar, while Central Florida and South Florida starting from Nov – Feb.
Planting Summer Peas in North Florida starts from Mar – July, while Central Florida starts from Feb – Aug, and South Florida starts from Sep – Aug.
Read also: How To Grow Cowpeas In Zambia
- There are various conditions for harvesting cowpeas. They are as follows.
- Fresh shelly-stage peas are measured in days to maturity.
- Add 2-3 weeks for dry peas.
- Harvest when the seeds have occupied the green pods but before they have dried for fresh use.
- If using dried pods, make sure to pick them before it rains, otherwise, the seeds will mold.
- Allow dried pods to dry completely undercover in a rodent-free environment.
Tip: Learn how to harvest cowpeas here.
Pests And Diseases
Deers are pests to Cowpeas because they feed on them. When pods appear, fence off crops or cover plants with row cover. Dried seeds can be infested by weevils. Freeze-dried seed in sealed containers for 48 hours to eliminate weevils.
Fusarium wilt is a cowpea disease that causes browning and wilting in cowpea plants and stifles their growth. Use root-knot nematodes to prevent fusarium wilt in cowpeas.
Read also: How To Grow Cowpeas From Seeds
I hope you find this article helpful. I would like to hear from you. So, let me know if you have any questions about growing Cowpeas in Florida. Also, learn how to grow cowpeas in containers here.