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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cowpea-a leafy vegetable?

Cowpea can be grown in homestead gardens throughout the year. Cowpea is grown for vegetable purpose and grain purpose. Vegetable type cowpeas are suitable for homestead gardens. Because the grain type cowpeas requires more area for its cultivation. Though the cowpea is grown mainly for pods, leaves can also be used for vegetable purpose. Cowpea leaf has almost all qualities of other leafy vegetables.
A cowpea variety in green color

The best month for sowing cowpea in Kerala is May. Other seasons are Sept-October and Dec-January.  Seeds can be sown in channels of 30 cm width and 15 cm depth. Spacing of 15 cm between plants and 45 cm between rows may be given.  Irrigate once or twice for germination of seeds. A layer of cow dung powder/compost may be added in channels before sowing. Some fertilizers @ 1500gram Super phosphate and 200 gram Murate of potash per 100 sq meters may also be applied at the time sowing. Ammonium sulphate @ 1kg per 100 sq meter can be applied 15-20 days after sowing in two or three times.

A cowpea in purple color
Irrigate the crop once in a week if necessary. Aphids, Fruit borer and Stem borer are the main pests of cowpea. Tobacco decoction or Kerosene emulsion can be sprayed to control these pests.   Leaves for vegetable purpose can be nipped two or three times before flowering.  Pods in tender stage may be harvested for vegetable purpose. Matured and dried pods may be collected for grain purpose. 

Cowpea tender fruits

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