How to harvest black-eyed peas – Tips for harvesting black-eyed peas

Whether you call them southern peas, crowder peas, field peas or, more commonly, black-eyed peas, if you are growing this heat-loving crop, you need to know when and how to harvest black-eyed peas. Read on to learn more about harvesting and picking black-eyed peas.

When to collect black-eyed peas

Native to subtropical Asia, black-eyed peas are actually legumes rather than peas. They are a common feature of many New Year’s Eve meals in the southern United States. Although a popular crop in this region, black-eyed peas are grown all over the world, but many of us only know them as «black-eyed» dry white beans.

Black-eyed peas can be harvested either as fresh beans at 60 days after germination or as dry beans after 90 days of growth. They are planted after the last frost or can be started within 4-6 weeks before the last frost, although they do not respond as well to transplanting as they do to direct planting. A better idea for a quick start is to place black plastic to warm the soil and plant directly.

How to harvest black-eyed peas

Shrub and pole varieties are available, but either type will be ready for harvest in about 60-70 days for instant beans. If you are harvesting black-eyed peas for dry beans, wait 80-100 days after they have grown. There are several methods of harvesting black-eyed peas for dry beans. The simplest is to wait until the black-eyed peas start to be harvested until they are dry on the vine.

Shrub beans begin to produce before green beans and are usually ready to be harvested at one time. If planted bi-weekly, bush beans will continue to produce longer. You can start harvesting black-eyed peas for snap beans when the pods are 3-4 cm (7-10 cm) long. Pick them gently so you don’t put the whole vine on the pods.

If you want to harvest to shell beans or dry beans, let the vine pods dry completely. Wait until the pods are dry, brown, and you can see the beans almost burst through the pods. Shell the pods and let the beans dry completely. Store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for at least one year. Add the empty shells to your compost pile.

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