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Botswanna Cowpea
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Botswana Black-eye Cowpea (15 seeds) (WW244) $4.00
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Botswana Black-eye Cowpea

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This old African landrace was found among the seed stalls in the farmers’ market at Palapye, Botswana. Smaller than most American blackeye peas, whiter in color, and creamier in texture when cooked, we were immediately charmed by this unusual variety for several reasons. It produces snowy white flowers against dark green leaves, and the 7 to 8 inch pods turn rich golden yellow when ripe. The entire plant exhibits ornamental qualities that make it perfect for a porch trellis, especially since the leaves turn bright yellow after a light frost. In Africa the young leaves and pods are cooked as greens, and with roughly 14 seeds per pod, it is easy to use most parts of the plant as food. The shelly peas are buttery soft and the dry peas cook like Arborio rice. As an experiment we have been growing a number of cowpeas from far Southern Africa with the idea of learning what may do well north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Many American cowpeas (like Running Conch) are difficult to grow in our region, which is roughly 40 degrees North Latitude. However, the Botswana varieties are as easy to grow as Whippoorwill, at least in southeastern Pennsylvania where our gardens are located. For the gardener looking for the perfect cowpea for space-saving pole-bean culture, here is your answer!

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