Sunday, March 17, 2013

If anyone feels that they can't grow anything to eat in summer's humid heat, grow "Iron Clay" cow pea (Vigna unguiculata)!!! I've given thousands of seeds over the years to students and people attending my talks, and when I run into them later they report great success and understand why I promote it as a "confidence builder". The young leaves are good in salads and stir fry, I use the vine tips in stir fry and soups, and the pods can be eaten when young and tender raw or cooked, later shucked like black eye peas, or as a dried bean. It is very problem free and is a potent nitrogen fixer too, a perfect summer crop for children or beginning adults who feel they have brown thumbs. each fall I get a brief and seemingly cosmetic "attack" of aphids on the rampant vines, but they always go away...then again, in 2003 I dispersed several thousand Trichogamma wasps of two species to control aphids on my roses, okra and elsewhere. I am very psyched that one of my blog readers mailed me seeds of a Cow Pea that evolved in a friend of hers yard, a stable, seeming hybrid of (Whippoorwill X Iron Clay)....the seeds are MUCH bigger and she reports vast production of plump tender pods. John

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