Iron Clay Pea is a warm-season cover crop that has been traditionally used on food plots for hunting. However, it also makes a great cover crop to benefit your garden soil in the warmer months. Cowpeas thrive in warmer temperatures, are very drought-tolerant, and perform great when planted between the spring and fall growing seasons.
Iron Clay Peas have many benefits as a cover crop including nitrogen-fixation, weed suppression, and attracting beneficial insects. Studies have shown that cowpeas are able to fix between 130-200 lbs of nitrogen per acre. Due to the dense foliage canopy of cowpeas, they also have great weed-suppressing benefits and have been shown to suppress Bermudagrass populations in warmer areas. They also have been noted to increase the presence of beneficial insects including ladybugs and parasitics wasps.
Iron Clay Pea should be planted once soil temperatures reach a consistent 65 degrees F, which is late spring throughout summer in most growing zones. For best weed-suppression results, plant thick at a rate of 2-2.5 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft. This will provide a dense foliage canopy so that weeds are not able to germinate and thrive. Seeds can be broadcast and lightly harrowed/raked into the soil, or they can be planted with our Hoss Garden Seeder for a more precise seeding.
If growing in an established garden area, cover crops should be cut or mowed before going to seed. This will prevent any reseeding issues in the future. Cover crops may be mowed and tilled into the soil if quick turnover is desired. If one is afforded more time between subsequent crops, mowing and tarping is a great option. If growing in a permanent cover crop spot or food plot, it may be allowed to flower and seed for continual reseeding of the plot.
Iron Clay Pea Planting Information:
Planting Depth: 1″
Seeding Rate: 2.5 lb per 1,000 sq. ft.
Cover Crop Recommendation Chart