I recently harvested my blackeyed peas. I grew them because I would like to grow enough blackeyed peas to feed us for a month, 6-months or a year. The thing is, I have no idea how many plants I would need to harvest that many blackeyed peas.
Since I have never grown blackeyed peas before, this was an experiment to learn about growing and long-term storage of blackeyed peas.
Growing Blackeyed Peas
I purchased my blackeyed peas from The Buffalo Seed Company, here in Kansas. They specialize in regionally grow, regionally adapted and landrace seed varieties. Many of the seeds they sell have been grown for several years without irrigation. I really like that because that means I don’t have to water my garden to get a crop! These are Queen Anne Blackeye cowpeas.
This is what blackeyed peas look like when they are growing (see the arrows). Each branch seems to grow two beans. Each bean holds several blackeyed peas.
The beans start out green, and eventually turn to a dark purple, that is almost black.
Harvesting Blackeyed Peas
I harvested my blackeyed pease by picking the pods when they were relatively dry and would snap off the plant. Since not all of the beans were ripe at the same time, I saved the pods and let them dry out. After they were all harvested, I let the pods dry for another week. I just wanted to make sure that they were sufficiently dry.
Processing Harvested Blackeyed Peas
After drying the blackeyed pea pods, I put them in an old baking pan. Then I crushed the pods, so that the dried blackeyed peas fell out. As you can see below, blackeyed peas are tiny.
After shelling the peas, I collected them into a glass. From 25 plants, I harvested 50-grams, or a quarter cup. That’s not much. It tells me that I will have to grow a lot of plants to grow enough to store.
How Many Plants To Grow Next Year?
Now that I know that I can harvest 50 grams of blackeyed peas from 25 plants, I can calculate how many plants I would need to grow to produce a given amount of dried blackeyed peas. I will use pounds, since those are the units with which I am most familiar.
50 grams = 0.11 pounds = 25 plants.
So, 1 pound of beans = 250 plants. Yikes!
Sooooo…. 50 pounds of blackeyed peas requires about 12,500 plants! Is that right?!
That seems like an awful lot of plants. I need to go contemplate this. I either need to grow something that produces a lot more than these 25 plants did, or get more land. I don’t think I will be growing that many plants in my back yard.
This is going to take more thinking….