Growth of Purplehull Peas

Post last updated: August 13th, 2018

Robert Brault is credited with saying “In every gardener there is a child who believes in the seed fairy.” This is so true.

I thought I would share with you how this child-at-heart plants a seed and then gleefully watches it become food. I had a little help from Evie and Shorty planting 3 rows of Scarlet Pinkeye peas on July 16. I also planted Purplehull peas on July 22 and 26, after I got the first bed re-weeded. In the foreground of row three, there’s an eggplant leftover from the spring garden.

Four days after planting

This next photo was taken from the southern end of the garden because I was trying to minimize the view of all that sawdust I put in the walking path between rows 1 and 2. Weeds have nearly worked me to death this spring and summer so I’m trying all kinds of suggestions to minimize weeds. Somewhere I read to put sawdust on your garden and Farmpest, a reader of this blog, suggested installing newspaper before installing the leaf mulch. I have to beg for newspaper from anyone who will share it.

9 days after planting

The sawdust has now been covered up and I began to photograph the peas from my porch at the northern end of the garden.

Two weeks after planting
Three weeks after planting
Four weeks after planting

At five weeks, the peas had fallen over into the foot path, sprouted vines and begun to bloom. I don’t really like the flopping plants because a snake could be hiding in my foot path but the only alternative is to hammer stakes into either end of the row and run two strings down the row. I’m not even sure that would keep them in bounds.

Five weeks after planting
Green bud on left is first to emerge; it then turns yellow
Yellow bud and flower
Bloom fully open
Six weeks after planting
Lots of blooms and 3 inch peas
Seven weeks after planting
Lots of pods; 7 are red and ready to harvest
Purplehull at 8 weeks

Last summer, the pea plants continued to bloom and set peas. I’m not sure that will happen this year as we’ve had too much rain and the plants already look weak.

I have two stray cats who decided they wanted to live here early in 2012. The first cat, Big Foot, is no longer allowed on the porch by the second stray cat, Whiskey (short for Gray Whiskers). While I was picking peas, Whiskey, followed me into the pea patch. In my many years on this earth, I’ve never encountered such a needy cat. If I’m outside, he follows me around like a dog. He seemed unconcerned about the dangers lurking under all those pea plants but I was gingerly and carefully stepping through the jungle doing the swivel-head as I looked for snakes. If he wasn’t concerned about snakes, he should have been concerned about me. Had I seen a snake, I’d likely have trampled the poor cat in my haste to exit the pea patch. I wish those pea plants would stand up instead of  lounging all over the garden rows. That’s probably going to happen like a lot of other things I’ve wished for that never came to pass.

Most of these are Scarlet Pinkeye peas because the feed store couldn’t get Purplehull Peas this year. I had only one packet of Ferry-Morse Purplehulls leftover from last summer. I actually found the Scarlet Pinkeyes easier to shell because the pod is softer. Momma and I sat on the porch and shelled peas until our thumbs turned blue. This batch was saved for the next day to give my poor old thumb time to recuperate:

Purplehull and Scarlet Pinkeye peas

These peas were some fine eatin’.  Momma, Poppie and I enjoyed a big old pot of them and I have since shelled the peas you see above and plan to cook another pot o’ them tomorrow.

Shelled peas

8 thoughts on “Growth of Purplehull Peas”

  1. Oh, this brings back fond memories of the gardens of my Mother and Daddy as well as the picking, shelling and cooking. Hope you made southern cornbread to go with them. Peas are supposed to flop over and if you don’t want your path to get covered up you will need to make your rows farther apart. Raised beds would work well. Save some of this year’s peas, dry them to use for next years seed. I used to plant peas next to a fence and the things would grow up, hanging onto the fence. Sure was easier to pick!

    1. Now that’s a plan — growing them up. I need some of those cattle panels that some gardeners use but I’d have to head out of town to get something like that because so little farming is done in the city. That wouldn’t be as hard on my injured back. I’m not a fan of cornbread so I just didn’t think about it. Mom and Dad eat cornbread but they didn’t mention it, either. One of my friends is from the north and totally unfamiliar with picking’and shellin’. Claims to not know what shelled peas even look like so I reckon I’ll be taking a picture of the peas before I cook them.

  2. I like the ‘time release’ photos. I grew purple hulls for the first time this year. I loved seeing them flower and grow pods! I trained them up bamboo trellises – they were much easier to pick this way.

  3. Nice lookin’ cowpeas.
    I mix n match my peas n beans when I prepare them, This year I’ve been cookin up purple podded string beans, n shelled cherokee trail of tears beans with speckled limas alongside the cow peas, then add all those to my vegetable soups.

    I don’t understand the comment you left in my front yard piece, I always link to additional information, just click anything underlined.

    1. How come they call them cowpeas? I’ll admit to buying a packet of seeds with that name on it. I like the idea of adding them to soups. As for the front yard piece, you know I’m not the sharpest crayon in the box, and I didn’t recognize the underlining as a link. I’m not even sure I SAW the underlining. Trying to see a link is even worse on my blog. I wanna go back to the days when links were blue and obvious.

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