Sunday, September 13, 2009

Black-eyed Peas

A few years back my son ate black-eyed peas for the first time and loved them. Even though a bag of them is pretty cheap at the grocery store, I decided to try to grow them this year for him. They have proved to be a very interesting plant.

They were easy to start, just set for a few days in moist paper towel to sprout, then plant in the ground. Just about every one of my bean sprouts survived.

They do not seem to be bothered by pests. Whereas my edamame and Maxibels without protection were eaten to the ground by rabbits, the rabbits left these completely alone.

The flowers are beautiful and vary in color from bright white, to cream, to almost light tan. Unlike a lot of bush type beans, these flowers are held high on the plant so you can actually see and enjoy them.

The beans are, of course, also held high on the plant. They actually sit almost on top of the plant and are held out horizontally. This adds its own interest to this plant. It also makes it very easy to monitor and harvest the beans.

The black ants love these plants and can always be seen at the base of the bean stems. They seem to be harvesting a thick sap that is oozing from that place on the plant. This may be one of the factors that keep the insect pests away. The ants do make it a little tricky to harvest, as they do try to protect their plant, but I haven't been bit yet and a simple shaking of the plant knocks loose most ants.
Here are beans harvested from two ripe pods. The nice thing about harvesting dry bean is that you don't need all the beans to ripen at once for processing. I will just pick as they ripen, dry the beans, and store in a jar for later use. Easy. I like easy.


Anonymous Nell Jean said...

Did you cook and eat any green blackeyed peas before they dried? I am not a fan of dried blackeyes, but the green ones, yum!

Here in south Georgia we eat a pea that is pale green, the edible peas, known as 'white peas' and a delicacy. You can buy them in a store, canned and labeled 'White Acre Peas' but they're older and tougher than the fresh picked 'little white peas' that my children loved.

9/15/2009 8:12 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I have got to try this!!! Easy is my game too. The flower pic is just beautiful. The few times I've had black eyed peas I've really enjoyed them.

I forgot about the sprouting in a paper towel. I do like to grow edemame but tend to sow the seed and forget, so that they don't germinate. I should try the paper towel trick with that.

9/15/2009 2:47 PM  
Blogger donna said...

Ants are busy all the time, aren't they? Vegetable plants have some gorgeous blooms and I never noticed that until I started reading garden blogs.

9/15/2009 7:27 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Nell Jean, I have heard of people eating these green but haven't tried it yet, so I grabbed a flashlight and got a bean from the garden to try. Very nice. The pod is so-so, but the beans inside are very yummy. I could see warming these up with some olive oil & garlic and serving over pasta.

Wendy, I had forgotten about the paper towel trick for a few years too! It works so well I am really going to try hard to remember that for next year. It also works great for hard shelled seeds like beets and morning glories.

Donna, there is a house in town that did most of their landscaping using vegetable plants. It looks fantastic.

9/16/2009 7:46 PM  
Blogger Catalina said...

Nice post!
I've always wanted to try planting black eyed peas.

9/17/2009 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Oh yes, the edamame were rabbit magnets in my garden this year! The plants just disappeared... unbelievable. Maybe I'll try black eyed peas next year, but maybe they need a lot of heat?

It's a good thing you don't really want to try growing capers, they probably wouldn't survive zone 4. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. :)

9/18/2009 12:11 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Catalina, you should. They are easy peasy!

Michelle, I thought most of my edamame were goners -- they were just green sticks in the ground! But they amazingly regrew their nodes and leaves and now have pods.
I was concerned about their possible need for heat when this ended up being one of the coolest summers we have ever had here; but they were just fine.
As far as capers go, I will just pay the $5 for the tiny jar and enjoy your pictures and progress :)

9/20/2009 8:29 AM  

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