How to Grow Winged Pea Seeds
Grow Guide #2489
Binomial name: Tetragonolobus purpurea
Life Cycle: Annual
This 'How to Grow' guide details everything a home gardener needs to know to plant, grow and care for Winged Peas (Tetragonolobus purpurea).
When to Sow Winged pea Seeds
Winged pea is a warm season crop that requires warm soil to germinate and a long growing season. Use the table below to identify the best time of year to sow winged pea seeds in your climate.
Winged pea plants are best grown in full sun. Choose a location that will receive at least 6 hours of full sun each day.
Winged pea plants need a well drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter. Prepare soil by weeding it thoroughly, digging it over to loosen it and adding aged animal manure or compost. Keep the area free of weeds until planting. Learn more about preparing soil for planting here.
How to Sow Winged pea Seeds
Winged pea seeds do not require any treatment (eg soaking, stratification) before sowing.
Winged pea seeds grow best when they are sown directly into the garden.
- Sow seeds directly in the garden 20mm deep and 20cm apart, with rows 100cm apart.
- Keep soil moist but never wet or dry.
- Seeds should germinate in around 7-21 days at a soil temperature of 15-20°C.
- Young seedlings will need protection from pests, pets and weather until they are established.
Winged pea is a tender crop that’s sensitive to frost. Do not transplant seedlings or sow seeds outside until all danger of frost has passed.
How to Grow Winged pea
Winged pea plants may need watering during the growing season. Water when the soil is dry about 5cm below the surface (test this by scratching away a little soil with your finger). Water deeply in the early morning or late afternoon. Avoid watering the leaves of plants to avoid fungal diseases. Learn more about watering here.
If soil was well prepared no extra fertiliser should be necessary. In poor soil or to give your plants an extra boost, application of a balanced fertiliser or one formulated for fruit and vegetables can be beneficial:
- Apply slow release fertiliser at the recommended rate when transplanting or when seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
- Apply liquid fertiliser at the recommended rate and frequency while plants are fruiting or flowering.
Optional: Winged pea plants grow by sprawling along the ground. Lift plants off the ground using twigs or bamboo canes to create an informal, low trellis. This will keep plants out of the reach of slugs and snails, improve air flow and make harvesting easier.
How to Harvest Winged Peas
Winged Peas should be ready to harvest in approximately 60-80 days.
Winged pea pods are ready to harvest when they are 3cm to 5cm long. Harvest pods by cutting with snips/secateurs. Harvest regularly to encourage more pods. For short term storage, harvested bean pods can be kept in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge.
For dried beans, leave the pods on the plants until they have dried. Harvest pods by cutting them from the plant using sharp snips/secateurs. Dry pods thoroughly, then remove the seeds from the pods and store them in an air-tight container. Dried seeds can be added to stews and soups or roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute.
Common Problems when Growing Winged Peas
Like all plants, winged pea is susceptible to some pests, diseases and other problems. Below is a list of the most common problems gardeners encounter when growing winged pea plants:
- Aphids are small (2-4mm long) sap-sucking insects that congregate on the new shoots or the undersides of leaves. They can cause leaves to wilt or become discoloured, and also excrete honeydew which can attract ants and other insect pests. To manage aphids, remove them by spraying with a garden hose, apply a soap or alcohol spray, or encourage predatory insects to your garden. Read more about aphids here.
- Tough pods, peas or beans is usually caused by harvesting the pods when they are too large. Harvest pods when they are firm and large enough to eat but still young and tender; harvesting pods while they are small will also encourage the production of more pods resulting in a larger harvest.
- Bacterial leaf spot is a disease that causes irregularly shaped brown spots on all above-ground parts of a plant. The spots at first appear to be wet but become dry and scab-like over time. Leaves and flowers can fall prematurely. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves), dispose of fallen leaves and fruit and practice crop rotation.
- Downy mildew is a fungal disease that causes yellow to grey-brown patches on leaves, especially the undersides. Water plants at soil level (not on the leaves), remove and destroy affected leaves and do not overcrowd plants to ensure adequate air flow. If problems persist, spray with a homemade milk spray or fungicide.
- Frost damage can cause leaves to wilt and go black. Do not plant seedlings in the garden until all danger of frost has passed in spring, and harvest plants before winter. Prune all frost-damaged leaves to avoid them rotting on the plant.
- Powdery mildew is caused by fungal spores reproducing on the leaves of plants. First showing as white spots on leaves, affected areas can spread quickly to cover the entire leaf surface. While rarely fatal, powdery mildew can reduce yields. Water plants at soil level (not on leaves) to prevent spreading spores, allow good air flow between plants, remove affected leaves and if necessary spray with an appropriate fungicide or homemade spray. Read more here about powdery mildew here.
- Slugs and snails are molluscs that feed on tender leaves and shoots, mostly at night, leaving slimy trails behind them. Control them by removing their hiding places, keeping free range poultry, collecting them by torchlight or by placing traps. Read more about slugs and snails here.