Thursday, August 29, 2013

I've grown, enjoyed, promoted and shared the hyper-reliable summer crop Iron Clay cowpea for maybe ten years, but it is even more vigorous than I thought! I gave seeds to Koreen Brennan, I think at one of Andy Firk's events, and she recently reported that the vines had reached the top of a 25 foot tall moringa until it got snapped off by a recent violent storm over in Pinellas! Here at my place, all this summer I've studiously pulled up all Iron Clay volunteers to prevent them from cross pollinating two new cowpeas that I THOUGHT I was going to like much better...turns out both bear pods that are tough and fibrous even when young vs. those of Iron Clay being tender and sweet and stringless up to 5-6 inches in length, even raw, my preferred way to eat them. So I stopped pulling up Iron Clay volunteers from last year and they are already 5-6 feet tall and will clearly bear pods for me to eat plus some to replenish my seed supply. What a wonderful nitrogen fixing crop, plus the young, protein-rich leaves and vine tips are good cooked or raw in salads.

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