Vegetable Cowpea

  • Vegetable Cowpea
  • Vegetable Cowpea
  • Vegetable Cowpea

Vegetable Cowpea

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Vigna unguiculata

Cowpea can be grown throughout the year under normal climate conditions. It can be grown as a pure crop in single crop and double-crop rice flows during rabi and summer seasons. Cowpea can be grown in homestead gardens throughout the year, where rice crop cannot be raised due to water scarcity.

Cowpea ca be grown in any season. As a rained crop, sowing is done in the month of June. The most suitable time is after the first week of June. During the second crop season, sowing can be done during September-October. During summer, cow pea can be sown during January-February.

1. Vegetable type:
    (a) Bushy: Bhagyalakshmy, Pusa Barsathi, Pusa Komal, Kashi Kanchan
    (b) Semitrailing: Kairali, Varun, Anaswara, Kanakamony (PTB-1), Arka Garima
    (c) Trailing type: Sharika, Malika, KMV-1, Lola, Vyjayanthi, Manjeri local, Vyalathur Local, Kurutholapayar, Vellayani Jyothika and Geethika.

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Procedure for lime pelleting

1. Add finely powdered (300 mesh) calcium carbonate to moist fresh Rhizobium treated seeds and mix for 1-3 minutes until each seed is uniformly pelleted. Depending on the seed size, the following quantity of lime will be required.

    a) Small seeds : 1.0 kg per 10 kg of seed
    b) Medium sized seeds : 0.6 kg per 10 kg of seed
    c) Large sized seeds : 0.5 kg per 10 kg of seed

2. Spread out the pelleted seeds on a clean paper to harden. Sow them as soon as possible. However, lime pelleted seeds can be stored up to one week in cool place before sowing.

    i. Lime coating of seeds is required only for seeds that are to be sown in acidic soils.
    ii. Ordinary agricultural lime is not good for pelleting, because of its large particle size.
    iii. Hydrated lime should not be used for pelleting
    iv. The dry pellet should be firm enough to resist moderate pressure. It should appear dry without loose lime on the surface or in the container.
    v. Pelleted seeds should not be sown into a dry field.

Seed inoculation and seed pelleting

Cowpea seeds should be inoculated with Rhizobium and Pseudomonas fluroscens (20 g kg-1) and pelleted with lime.

Procedure for Rhizobium inoculation

The content of each packet of Rhizobium inoculum is sufficient for seeds to be sown in the area indicated in the packet (250 to 375 g ha-1). Use the inoculant only for the specific leguminous crop mentioned on packet before the expiry date. Do not expose the Rhizobium culture to direct sunlight or heat. Mix the inoculant uniformly by using a minimum quantity of 2.5% starch solution or ‘kanjivellam’ in order to ensure better stickiness of the inoculant with the seed. Take care to avoid damage to the seed coat. Dry the inoculated seed under shade over a clean paper or gunny bag and sow immediately. The Rhizobium culture or the inoculated seeds should not be mixed with chemical fertilizers. Vermicompost can also be used for coating seeds.


  1. Farmers practicing organic farming are encouraged to prepare the organic inputs in their own farm and use only permitted external inputs.
  2. The pests collected by using fruit traps should be disposed of safely without posing any hazards to environment and human beings. Dispose the contents of traps with insecticide outside the cropped area after its use.
  3. According to the scientists of National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects (NBAII), Bangalore, the most widely used fungal antagonist in India, Trichoderma viride is actually Trichoderma asperellum or its cryptic species T. asperelloides.
  4. The organic liquid formulations are safe to environment, crop production and human health.
  5. The specifications of vermicompost, organic manures and bio-fertilizers are adopted from the “Fertilizer Control Order, 1985” (as amended upto February 2017)
Seeds and sowing
Seed rate
For vegetable type
Bush : 20-25 kg ha-1
Trailing : 4-5 kg ha-1
Spacing : 25 cm x 15 cm. Dibbling two seeds per hole
Bush : 30 cm x 15 cm
Trailing: 2 m x 2 m (on pandal @ three plants per pit)
After cultivation

Plant protection


Pea aphid (Aphis craccivora)

This is a major sucking pest. Spray Neeamzal T/S 1% 2 ml l-1 at fortnighlty internals for managing pea aphid in cow pea.

The fungus Fusarium pallidoroseum can be used for controlling pea aphrid. Bran based fungus can be applied @ 3 kg per 400 m2 immediately after infestation is observed. Only one application is necessary. Take Hyptis suaveolens extract (1l) + 60 g soap (in ½ lit. water), dilute the mixture 10 times and spray

Jassids and white flies

Spray neem seed kernel extract 5 %

American Serpentine Leaf Miner (ASLM)

(Liriomyza trifolii)

This is a major pest of cowpea. Adoption of the following methods will reduce the infestation of the pest.

Destroy the weed host plants viz. Achyranthus aspera, Amaranthus viridis, Cleome viscosa, Heliotropium indicum and Physalis minima. Apply neem oil, marotti oil or iluppai oil emulsion @ 2.5 % (need based). Cultivate tolerant accession (VU-12).

Pod Borers

Spray diluted cow’s urine (1.1 in 10 l. watet) + asafoetida (40 g) + bird chilli extract (10 g). Apply neem cake @ 250 kg ha-1 at flowering. Apply neem seed kernel extract 5%.

Leaf folder

Collect leaf folds and destroy the larvae.

Pod bugs

Collect with sweep net and destroy different stages of the bug. Wet the crop canopy to destroy young ones. Destroy weed host plants. Spray neem-based formulations or neem seed kernel extract @ 5%.

Pet stem fly

Increase seed rate in endemic areas.

Red spider mite

Apply neem oil emulsion 5%/neem oil-garlic emulsion 2%/garlic emulsion 2 %/fish oil soap 2.5%

Root knot nematode and reniform neamtode

Apply neem or Eupatorium leaves @ 15 t ha-1, two weeks before sowing.

Pulse beetle

Smear the seeds with coconut oil or ground nut oil 1:100 (w/w).Apply dry, powdered rhizome of Acorus calamus @ 1 kg per 100 kg seed.


Soil borne diseases and nematodes

Follow soil solarisation using 150 gauge clear polythene sheets. Cover the soil with these sheets in sunny summer days after slightly moistening the soil. The soil temperature will reach as high as 52°C. Continue the polumulch for 1 week during which, the soil temperature will rise and kill the soil borne fungi, bacteria, nematodes and weeds near the soil surface and thereby reduce the soil inoculum load. Soil drenching with 1 % Bordeaux mixture or 2% Pseudomonas fluroscens protects the crop from fungal diseases.

Collar rot and web blight

(Rhizoctonia solani)

Apply neem cake @ 250 kg ha-1

Reduce soil moisture

Use organic manure enriched with Trichoderma viride

Drench with 2% Pseudomonas fluroscens

Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride @ 20 g per kg seedless

Soil drench with 1% Bordeaux Mixture

Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum)

Burn trashes in the pit before sowing. Remove and burn the affected plants along with the root system. Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride @ 20 g per kg seed + soil application of 2.5 kg ha-1 at 30 DAS coupled with soil application of neem cake @ 150 kg ha-1 during land preparation reduce the incidence of Fusarium wilt. Drench with 2% Pseudomonas fluroscens

Dry root rot

Treat the seeds with Trichoderma viride @ 20 g per kg, Pseudomonas fluroscens @ 20 g per kg or soil application of neem cake @ 250 kg ha-1 .Drench the soil with 2% (20g l-1)Pseudomonas fluroscens .

Management of fungal diseases

Spray 1% Bordeaux mixture to protect the crop from fungal diseases. This will also avoid the entry of white flies that transmit various viral diseases.


The fruits should be washed thoroughly in water before cooking.