When to Plant Purple Hull Peas

Often called the southern pea, these drought-tolerant peas are a member of the cowpea family. Anyone living in the southern United States is likely familiar with this common staple. Typical garden peas wilt when temperatures climb. These peas go against the grain and actually thrive in warm weather. Grow purple hull peas in warm regions or during the hot summer.


Starting Indoors

These peas require between 60 and 90 days free of frost to mature. In cool climates, start purple hull peas indoors to get a jumpstart on the season. Plant them in trays about 4 weeks before the average last frost in your region. Most warm weather plants, including purple hull peas, prefer a germinating temperature of around 70°F (21°C).

Soak peas overnight prior to planting to speed up germination. Transplant them outside once the soil is consistently above 60°F (15°C). Some gardeners claim that starting peas indoors isn’t ideal because they don’t transplant well, others swear by getting them in early. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Direct Sow

Plant purple hull peas outside directly after all danger of frost has passed. Ideally, soil temperatures should reach 60°F (15°F). This is typically late spring in May or early summer in June.

Plant purple hull peas in full sun to partial shade. Soils that are not well draining could cause the seed to rot in the ground before sprouting. Add 2 inches of compost to the garden bed for nutrients. Purple hull peas are nitrogen-fixing members of the pea and bean family. They do not require nitrogen fertilizers and may become damaged if exposed to a high nitrogen fertilizer organic or synthetic.

Plant them 4-6 inches apart and 2 inches deep. If in rows, plant them along a row trellis of some sort. Another method involves placing a stake next to each pea seed. Either way, most purple hull pea varieties will need something to climb when they emerge. There are semi-bushing and bushing varieties which do not require trellising.

  • Knuckle Purple Hull Pea – Bushing variety, low crowding plant, heavy yields
  • California Pinkeye Purple Hull – Popular variety, semi-bushing, 60 days
  • Mississippi Pinkeye Purple Hull Pea – 24″ Long Vines, Brown peas, Easy shellers,

Successional Planting

Many farmers will plant in succession to maximize their harvest and lengthen the harvest season. It requires a bit more space but will ensure that a supply of fresh peas are coming into maturity all season.

To plant successionally, plant your first crop as you would normally after the frost has passed. Make a note of when you planted that lot because two weeks later you’re going to plant another lot. Continue to plant every two weeks until the peas don’t have enough time to mature before the cold sets in.

Text: Garden.eco