Cowpea Vigna unguiculata

How to sow cowpea: Direct seed outdoors, thin to 10cm

Sun requirement for cowpea: Plant in Full Sun

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Cowpeas are an annual herbaceous legume in the genus Vigna. They have a high tolerance for sandy, infertile, acidic soil and low rainfall, making them an important crop for poor farmers in Africa and other semi-arid regions. Cowpeas need 90-100 frost-free days and their optimum growth temperature is 30°C. They are grown for human consumption, cattle feed, and as a cover crop. There are four subspecies of cowpea, three of which are cultivated. Common cultivars include black-eyed pea, southern pea, yardlong bean, catjang, and crowder pea. Cowpeas can be erect, semi-erect, or climbing. Their seeds are high in protein, and their leaves and immature seed pods can also be consumed. The whole plant is used as forage for animals. They make a great cover crop or intercrop because their root nodules fix atmospheric nitrogen. They can produce as much as 315lb./acre of nitrogen. If growing as a cover crop, till under when the plants are flowering and before they go to seed.

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Cowpea crops

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Image of black-eyed pea

black-eyed pea

Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata

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How to grow cowpeas

Scientific names

Vigna unguiculata

Alternate names

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