Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time To Plant Vigna "Beans"

Now that it is hot and steamy and rains are at least possible, this is a great time to plant any members of the legume species Vigna unguiculata, collectively called "Cow Peas". I've given to students free seeds of the heirloom strain called "Clay" due to their red-brown color. But black eye peas (plant ones from the grocery store to save money) or Purple Hull or White Acre or Zipper Peas, Cream peas etc. all thrive in summer into fall here. I use the young leaves and vine tips in stir fry and soups. The plants themselves are excellent nitrogen fixers, especially if plowed under young as a "green manure". "Yard long beans" are a subspecies of V. unguiculata (I forget the name) and they glory in summer too. This year I am growing one called "Thai Long No. 3" that I bought from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have an INCREDIBLE selection of Cow Peas plus the Asian long beans.

If you live in an area with cool summer nights, like Denver, you will see far less vigorous growth.


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