Black Eyed Peas

Today we planted a field of Black eyed peas.  Originally I had planned to plant maize for fodder on that field but the Guinea Fowl made short work of the germinating seeds. Guinea fowl are ruthlessly efficient when it comes to eating maize seeds. As soon as the seed germinates and pushes up the first tubular leaf, the bird pulls on the leaf to get the seed out of the ground, they then eat the seed, spit out the leaf and then turn their beady eye on the next sprout. They operate like a seed drill in reverse, walking along the rows and causing havoc! This is what it looks like, plant pulled out, seed eaten, crop ruined.

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I had mixed in some black eyed peas with the maize when I planted it, and it also germinate quickly, but with the added advantage that the cursed guinea fowl didn’t eat it. So to save the crop, Sam and I resowed the whole field with the peas. They should germinate in a week and will hopefully provide a nice high protein fodder for the goats.

Black Eyed Peas are also known as Cow Peas and apparently, even after the beans are harvested there is a net nitrogen gain in the soil. Cow peas as a cover crop

Nutritionally they are also very good for humans! Here are some growing in our veggie patch. Cow Pea and Sorghum Biscuits are apparently very nutritious

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Sowing is quite straight forward. I had already disced the field over, so it was just a matter of hand broadcasting the seeds (scattering them everywhere). and then discing again and simultaneously dragging the soil with tyres to cover over the seeds. The seeds were bought from a local supermarket as ‘Black Eyed Beans’, a product of Botswana. I would guess that the seeds are all covered between 1 and 5cm deep. Here’s the resultant field.

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And the disc harrow and tyres.

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Germinating

Here you can see that a guinea fowl tried to dig out the bean, but failed, the plant survives! Good. I don’t mind sharing, but greedy birds shouldn’t eat everything!

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More information

Cultivating Cowpeas

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