Las Tablas Long (Vigna Unguiculata) in Virginia – 2020
Well, I'm a cowpea junkie. I LOVE growing (and eating) cowpeas. In correspondence with Glen, he mentioned a “long bean” that grows locally to Las Tablas. He had harvested some seeds and grown them out. He was kind enough to send some seed to me this Spring. We thought we'd give them a try here at 39N in the Shenandoah Valley. Note: This variety has no formal name, so I decided to call it Las Tablas Long.
Seeds were planted on 6/03. Inoculant was not used, as beans have been grown in this soil in prior years. Germination was very good – 8 out of 12 seeds, or 67%. (Note: I'm actually growing two trellises of Las Tablas Long for seed saving purposes, but for this log I will only be documenting this one trellis as a representative sample.) Here's what the seeds looked like.
7/06 – Seeds were planted 6 inches apart. This is 30 days after planting.
7/10 - Plants are reluctant climbers. Training is required.
7/16 – Training of vines still required and marginally successful. I don't know why, but I assumed these were a pole variety. I'm starting to think they may be a half-runner or even a bush variety. Time will tell.
This is exciting! I love cowpeas and tend to neglect planting them in the rush to do other crops. Anytime I get them planted I LOVE them. I do have three kinds planted this year: Georgia Long (Cowpea), Kentucky Red and Penny Rile.
7/28 - Plants are strong and healthy, producing LOTS of lateral branching. So much so, this bean may benefit from 12 inch spacing instead of 6 inches. Still very resistant to climbing on their own. Every few days, I spend several minutes trying to train these vines. It may become a losing battle. Longest vines have reached approximately 6 feet. No sign of flowers as yet.
8/07 - Well, things are a changing for Las Tablas Long. We have a bloom or two, as well as a few PODS! This bean still misbehaves badly regarding climbing on its own, but since it's setting pods, all is forgiven. Hopefully, I should not have any problems producing seed for this variety before frost.
A couple of flowers and a set pod.
Cluster of four pods - which is different than the normal "pair" of pods on most cowpeas. Nice.
Plants have reached the top of the trellis and have begun the vine dance.