How To Plant Black Eyed Peas [ Full Guide ]

Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a popular and nutritious legume that are relatively easy to grow. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, growing black-eyed peas can be a rewarding experience. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the various steps involved in successfully planting black-eyed peas, from selecting the appropriate site and preparing the soil to choosing the right variety and timing for planting.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Black Eyed Peas

  1. Selecting the appropriate planting site: Choose a location with full sun, well-drained soil, and good air circulation. Avoid areas with excessive shade or waterlogging.

  2. Soil preparation and conditioning: Work the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches, amend with organic matter, and ensure a slightly acidic to neutral pH level (6.0-7.0).

  3. Choosing the right time for planting: Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 65°F (18°C) before planting black-eyed peas, typically in late spring or early summer.

  4. Selecting the ideal black-eyed pea variety: Consider factors such as growth habit, maturity period, and disease resistance when choosing a variety that suits your growing conditions.

Now, let’s delve into each of these steps in detail.

Selecting The Appropriate Planting Site

Before you start planting black-eyed peas, it’s crucial to carefully select a suitable site that meets the specific requirements of these legumes.

Sunlight: Black-eyed peas thrive in full sun, so it’s important to choose a site that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Soil Drainage: Good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other issues. Avoid low-lying areas where water tends to accumulate and prioritize well-drained soil.

Air Circulation: Adequate air circulation helps prevent diseases and promotes healthier plant growth. Avoid planting in areas with excessive wind blockage or where air tends to stagnate.

Spacing: When considering the planting site, think about the space available for the black-eyed pea plants to grow. They should be spaced about 6-8 inches apart in rows, allowing them room to spread and thrive.

By considering these factors, you can create an ideal environment for your black-eyed peas to flourish.

Soil Preparation And Conditioning

Once you’ve identified the perfect spot for planting your black-eyed peas, the next step is to prepare the soil. This involves ensuring it has the right texture, fertility, and pH level to support healthy growth.

Soil Texture: Black-eyed peas do best in well-drained, loamy soil. If your soil is heavy or compacted, consider adding organic matter such as compost to improve its texture and drainage.

pH Level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level in the range of 6.0-7.0. You can test your soil using a pH testing kit available at most garden centers. If the pH is too low, you can raise it by adding lime, while sulfur can lower a pH that is too high.

Soil Fertility: Ensure your soil is fertile and rich in nutrients. If needed, incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to boost fertility.

Tilling and Amending: Work the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches, breaking up any large clumps and removing debris such as rocks or roots. Mix in the organic matter and any necessary soil amendments at this time to ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the planting area.

By taking the time to properly condition your soil, you provide a solid foundation for your black-eyed peas to establish strong, healthy root systems.

Choosing The Right Time For Planting

Timing is crucial when it comes to planting black-eyed peas. They are warm-weather plants that need a sufficiently warm soil to germinate and establish robust growth.

Soil Temperature: Wait until the soil temperature reaches at least 65°F (18°C) before planting black-eyed peas. This often occurs in late spring or early summer, depending on your geographical location.

Frost Risk: Black-eyed peas are sensitive to frost, so ensure all risk of frost has passed before planting. This typically means waiting until after the last expected frost date in your region.

By being patient and waiting for the right time, you provide your black-eyed peas with the best possible conditions for successful growth.

Selecting The Ideal Black-Eyed Pea Variety

When it comes to choosing a variety of black-eyed peas to plant, several factors should be taken into consideration. These include growth habits, maturity periods, disease resistance, and the intended use of the peas.

Growth Habit: Black-eyed peas can have either a bush or vine growth habit. Bush varieties tend to be more compact and are a good choice for smaller gardens, while vine varieties require trellising but can yield larger harvests.

Maturity Period: Different varieties have varying maturity periods, so choose a variety that aligns with your climate and growing season length. Early-maturing varieties are ideal for regions with shorter growing seasons, while main crop varieties are suitable for longer growing seasons.

Disease Resistance: Some varieties may have resistance to common diseases such as root rot or powdery mildew. Research and select varieties that are known to thrive in your specific growing conditions.

Intended Use: Consider whether you plan to harvest the peas for fresh consumption, drying for later use, or a combination of both. Certain varieties are better suited for fresh eating, while others are prized for their drying qualities.

RELATED  How To Plant Sprouted Potatoes In Containers [ Full Guide ]

By carefully considering these factors and selecting a variety best suited to your specific needs and growing conditions, you can maximize the success of your black-eyed pea harvest.

Planting black-eyed peas can be a satisfying and rewarding experience for any gardener. By selecting the appropriate planting site, properly preparing the soil, timing the planting correctly, and choosing the ideal variety, you set the stage for a successful growing season. With proper care and attention to these key factors, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious black-eyed peas.

Proper Seed Treatment And Storage

Black eyed peas, also known as cowpeas, are a popular legume crop known for their drought tolerance and ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. They are not only delicious when cooked, but they also provide essential nutrients to our diets.

Before planting black eyed peas, it is important to ensure that the seeds are of good quality. Look for seeds that are plump, free from cracks or other damage, and have a uniform color. It’s also a good idea to purchase seeds from a reputable source or save seeds from a previous crop.

Providing the right treatment and storage conditions for black eyed pea seeds will increase their germination rate and overall success. To enhance germination, you can soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting. This will help soften the seed coat and promote faster sprouting.

Once the seeds have been soaked, you should store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant. Avoid exposing them to extreme temperatures or moisture, as this can damage the seeds and reduce their viability.

Planting Techniques: Direct Seeding Vs. Transplanting

There are two main methods for planting black eyed peas: direct seeding and transplanting. Both methods have their advantages and considerations.

Direct Seeding

Direct seeding is the most common method for planting black eyed peas. It involves sowing the seeds directly in the ground where they will grow. This method is generally preferred because it is easier and more cost-effective.

To direct seed black eyed peas, choose a location in your garden that receives full sun. Black eyed peas thrive in warm temperatures, so it’s best to wait until the soil has warmed up to around 60°F (15.6°C) before sowing the seeds.

Before planting, prepare the soil by removing any weeds or debris and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. You can also add organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve the soil’s fertility and drainage.

Plant the black eyed pea seeds about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) apart in rows. Space the rows around 36 to 48 inches (91 to 122 cm) apart to allow enough room for the plants to grow. If you’re planting in a raised bed, you can space the seeds 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) apart.


Transplanting black eyed peas can be useful if you want to extend the growing season or start the plants indoors. This method involves starting the seeds in containers and then moving the seedlings to the garden once they have developed.

To transplant black eyed peas, start by filling small pots or seed trays with a well-draining potting mix. Plant one seed per container, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seedlings emerge.

Once the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, usually after 3 to 4 weeks, they are ready to be transplanted. Choose a spot in your garden with full sun and dig holes that are the same depth as the root ball of the seedling.

Carefully remove the seedlings from the containers, being careful not to damage the roots. Place each seedling in a hole and gently firm the soil around it. Space the transplanted black eyed peas according to the same spacing guidelines as direct seeding.

Spacing And Depth Guidelines For Planting

Proper spacing and depth are crucial when planting black eyed peas to allow for optimal growth and development. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Direct seeding: Plant the black eyed pea seeds about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep and 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 cm) apart in rows. Space the rows around 36 to 48 inches (91 to 122 cm) apart.

  • Transplanting: Dig holes that are the same depth as the root ball of the seedling. Space the transplanted black eyed peas according to the same spacing guidelines as direct seeding.

Ensuring adequate spacing between plants allows for good air circulation, reduces the risk of disease, and prevents overcrowding. Planting at the right depth provides the seeds or seedlings with the necessary nutrients and moisture for successful growth.

Watering Requirements For Black Eyed Peas

Proper watering is essential for black eyed peas, especially during germination and early growth stages. Here are some important considerations when it comes to watering your black eyed pea plants:

  • Germination: After direct seeding or transplanting, keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate or the transplanted seedlings establish themselves. Water gently to avoid disturbing the seeds or seedlings.

  • Establishment: Once the seeds have germinated or the seedlings have established roots, water deeply and infrequently. Aim to provide about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, either through rainfall or irrigation. Avoid overwatering, as black eyed peas are drought-tolerant and excessive moisture can lead to disease problems.

  • Flowering and pod development: During the flowering and pod development stage, it is important to maintain consistent moisture in the soil. Black eyed peas require adequate water during this time to set and develop the pods.

  • Drought conditions: Black eyed peas are well-adapted to drought, but extended periods of dry weather can affect crop yield. If there is a prolonged drought, consider watering more frequently and deeply to ensure the plants receive enough moisture.

RELATED  How To Plant Carrot From Seed [ Full Guide ]

In general, it is better to water deeply and infrequently rather than shallowly and frequently. This encourages the plants to develop deep root systems and makes them more resilient to drought.

Growing your own black eyed peas can be a rewarding and nutritious experience. By following proper seed treatment and storage techniques, choosing the right planting method, providing adequate spacing and depth, and ensuring proper watering, you can successfully cultivate these versatile legumes in your garden.

Remember to always consider your local climate and growing conditions when planning and caring for your black eyed peas. With a little patience and care, you'll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of delicious black eyed peas straight from your garden. Happy planting!

Fertilizer Application And Maintenance

Black eyed peas, also known as cowpeas or Southern peas, are a popular legume crop that is widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds. These peas are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits. They are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and are a great addition to a healthy diet.

Before planting black eyed peas, it’s essential to prepare the soil and provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Here are some tips for fertilizer application and maintenance:

  1. Soil preparation: Black eyed peas prefer well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.8 to 7.0. Remove any weeds or debris from the planting area and loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller.

  2. Soil testing: Conduct a soil test to determine the nutrient content of your soil. This will help you identify any deficiencies and adjust the fertilizer accordingly.

  3. Organic matter: To improve soil fertility, incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the top 6-8 inches of soil. Organic matter helps retain moisture and provides essential nutrients.

  4. Nitrogen application: Black eyed peas have the ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, so they don’t require excessive nitrogen fertilization. However, a small amount of nitrogen can be applied at planting to promote healthy foliage growth. Apply nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 pound per 100 square feet.

  5. Phosphorus and potassium application: Black eyed peas have a higher demand for phosphorus and potassium. Before planting, apply a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-10 or 10-20-20 at a rate of 2 to 3 pounds per 100 square feet. Work the fertilizer into the soil to ensure proper nutrient distribution.

  6. Side-dressing: After the plants have established and begun flowering, you can side-dress them with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to encourage continued growth and pod development. Apply the side-dressing approximately 4 to 6 inches away from the base of the plants.

  7. Watering: Black eyed peas require consistent moisture for optimal growth. Water the plants regularly, especially during dry spells. However, ensure that the soil is well-drained to prevent waterlogging, as excessive moisture can lead to rotting of the roots.

Pest And Disease Management

Like any other crop, black eyed peas are susceptible to various pests and diseases. Proper pest management practices are crucial to ensure a healthy crop. Here are some common pests and diseases that affect black eyed peas and how to manage them:

  1. Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects can suck the sap from the plants and transmit diseases. To control aphids, you can use insecticidal soaps or Neem oil. Introducing natural predators such as ladybugs can also help keep aphid populations in check.

  2. Spider mites: Spider mites are tiny pests that feed on plant sap, causing yellowing and curling of leaves. Regularly spraying the plants with water can help control spider mites. If the infestation is severe, apply an appropriate insecticidal soap or pest control product.

  3. Armyworms: These pests can cause significant damage to black eyed peas by chewing on leaves and pods. Handpicking and destroying armyworms when their numbers are low can help control the infestation. In severe cases, biological pesticides or insecticides can be used.

  4. Fusarium wilt: This fungal disease can cause stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, and wilting of the plants. Crop rotation is an effective way to manage fusarium wilt. Avoid planting black eyed peas in the same area for consecutive growing seasons.

  5. Root knot nematodes: These microscopic worms attack the roots, causing galls to form. Rotating crops and planting nematode-resistant varieties can help manage these pests. Additionally, maintaining soil health through organic matter addition and proper irrigation practices can reduce nematode populations.

  6. Bacterial blight: Bacterial blight can lead to brown spots on leaves, stem cankers, and wilting. To manage bacterial blight, plant disease-resistant varieties and ensure good airflow around the plants. Avoid overhead irrigation, as it can promote the spread of the disease. If the symptoms persist, consult a local agricultural extension office for further guidance.

RELATED  How To Plant Calla Lilies Bulbs [ Full Guide ]

Regular monitoring and early intervention are crucial for effective pest and disease management. It’s important to identify and address any issues promptly to prevent significant damage to the crop.

Harvesting And Storing Black Eyed Peas

Knowing when and how to harvest black eyed peas is essential to ensure high-quality seeds. Here’s a guide on harvesting and storing these legumes:

  1. Harvesting: Black eyed peas are ready to be harvested when the pods have turned brown and are dry. Gently pull the pods from the plants or use pruning shears to cut them. Avoid shaking or pulling too forcefully, as this can damage the plants.

  2. Drying: After harvesting, spread the pods in a well-ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause the seeds to darken or lose color. Allow the pods to dry for about 2 to 4 weeks until they are crisp and brittle.

  3. Shelling: Once the pods are dry, remove the seeds by cracking the pods open. You can do this by hand or by using a rolling pin or a food processor. Separate the seeds from the pods and discard any damaged or discolored ones.

  4. Storing: Store the dried seeds in airtight containers such as glass jars or plastic bags. Keep them in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture and insect infestation. Properly stored black eyed peas can last for up to a year.

Tips For Successful Black Eyed Pea Plantation

Here are some additional tips that can help ensure a successful black eyed pea plantation:

  1. Companion planting: Planting marigolds or basil near black eyed peas can help deter pests such as aphids and spider mites.

  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the plants to conserve moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature.

  3. Trellising: Certain vining varieties of black eyed peas benefit from trellising. Providing support structures such as stakes, trellises, or netting can help keep the plants upright and facilitate air circulation.

  4. Crop rotation: Rotate the location of black eyed peas in your garden every year to help prevent disease buildup and maintain soil fertility.

  5. Regular weeding: Keep the planting area free from weeds that can compete with the black eyed peas for nutrients and water.

  6. Harvest regularly: Harvesting the pods regularly promotes the production of more pods and extends the harvest season.


Planting black eyed peas can be a rewarding experience, both for their nutritional value and for the satisfaction of growing your own food. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can successfully plant and grow black eyed peas in your garden. Remember to properly prepare the soil, provide adequate nutrients, and manage pests and diseases. With proper care, you’ll soon be enjoying a bountiful harvest of delicious and nutritious black eyed peas.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Black Eyed Peas?

The best time to plant black eyed peas is in early spring, after the last frost has passed. In warmer climates, they can also be planted in the fall for a winter harvest.

Do Black Eyed Peas Need Full Sun Or Partial Shade?

Black eyed peas thrive in full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade. However, for optimal growth and yield, it is recommended to plant them in an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Black Eyed Peas?

Black eyed peas prefer well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 6.0-6.8. To prepare the soil, loosen it to a depth of 6-8 inches and mix in a 2-3 inch layer of compost or well-rotted manure. This will provide the plants with essential nutrients and promote healthy root growth.

How Far Apart Should I Space My Black Eyed Pea Plants?

Black eyed peas should be planted 2-4 inches apart in rows that are 24-30 inches apart. This spacing allows enough room for the plants to grow and develop healthy root systems.

How Often Should I Water Black Eyed Peas?

Black eyed peas require regular watering, especially during hot and dry weather. It is important to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. A general rule of thumb is to water deeply once a week, providing about 1 inch of water. However, adjust the watering schedule based on weather conditions and the moisture levels of your soil.