Whippoorwill Southern Pea
Creamy and delicious! This variety is super prolific, even in Truelove Seeds grower Chelsea Askew's sandy soils of Virginia. Chelsea eats these peas with greens and cornbread on New Years Day and loves their flavor and texture. This smaller-seeded variety is vining and will climb your corn, but won't pull it down. In a report published in 1912 by the United States Department of Agriculture, Whippoorwill (also known as "Shinney Pea") was in the top 5 most popular and most widely grown southern peas in the United States. Since the 1990s, Whipporwill has seen a revival, and was nominated by the Slow Food Ark of Taste Committee for the US South as an endangered and culturally important variety. Of course, this species was brought from West Africa, which is its center of genetic diversity, likely where it was first domesticated, and where it is still most widely grown.
Also known as: Shinney Pea, Whipporwill Cowpea
Days to maturity: 70-80
Seeds per pack: 60-80
Germination rate: 55% on 01/21/2022 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
Direct sow southern peas safely after frost, any time between late May and mid-July. Trellis recommended. Full sun, plenty of room and airflow. I like to thin to 1' spacing. Wonderful picked fresh and still lovely once dried to where the seed rattles inside the pod (and much easier to shell!)
Seed keeping notes
Southern peas are self-pollinating, though it is best to isolate different varieties of V. unguiculata (including black-eyed peas, southern peas, cowpeas, and long beans) at least 20 feet, if not much farther to avoid unwanted cross-pollination. At our farm, we give them a few hundred feet of isolation between different varieties. Allow pods to dry fully into a brown crispy state. This is when they are ready to harvest for seed. If necessary, lay them out to dry a little longer in their pods.