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Purple Hull Pea Planting

The purple hull pea is a type of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), also called southern pea. Native to India, purple hull peas are shade- and drought-tolerant and thrive in warm weather. The purple hull pea is a central ingredient in southern cuisine and, if you are a fan of the bean, you may enjoy the Purple Hull Pea Festival, held every June in Emerson, Arkansas. Plant purple hull peas in the spring or summer when the soil has warmed to 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

Work the soil to remove any large clumps, weeds, and debris, such as rocks.

Add 2 lbs. of 5-10-10 fertilizer for every 100-foot row that you're planting. Mix the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil, rake the seed bed and wait 10 days to plant.

Plant the purple hull pea seeds 1 inch deep, five to seven seeds per foot, in rows 18 inches apart.

Water the seed bed with a fine mist to avoid disturbing the seeds and keep the top 4 inches of soil moist during germination. Although purple hull peas are somewhat drought-tolerant, irrigation during dry periods can double or triple yields, according to agriculturists with Oklahoma State University’s Cooperative Extension Service.

Purple Hull Pea Varieties

Vining purple hull peas can easily take over a garden, so trellises or supports are recommended. A bacteria-virus resistant variety of Pink Eye is available and shares its traits. A few purple hull peas form vines that grow closely together, taking up less space. These varieties are known as semi-vining. Many home gardeners prefer the bushing habit of varieties like Charleston Greenpack, to save space and reduce the need for trellises or supports. The Charleston Greenpack variety forms a compact bush that supports itself; the pods develop on top of the foliage for easy picking, according to Clemson University. Both mature around 65 to 70 days and resist mosaic viruses. The Texas Pink Eye Purple Hull combines a bushing habit and a variety of disease resistances. It can be harvested at 55 days. The brown-speckled crowder beans have a stronger flavor than their pink or black-eyed counterparts.

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