Red Ripper Pea


Red Ripper Pea is an heirloom field pea variety that tastes great and also makes a wonderful cover crop during the warmer months. Long, trailing vines that can be trellised to save space. Vigna unguiculata. 70 days to maturity. 1,500 seeds per lb.

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Red Ripper Pea – 200 seeds
Red Ripper Pea – 1 pound
Red Ripper Pea – 5 pounds
Red Ripper Pea – 10 pounds

Red Ripper Pea is an heirloom, open-pollinated cowpea variety that works great as a food/cover crop or wildlife pea. This field pea produces long, trailing vines that can be trellised to save space in the vegetable garden. They grow great on our Hortonova Trellis Netting!

The vigorous plants produce pods at foilage level, location scattered, and that is initially green and turns maroon in color at the dry stage. The peas are a dark red to brown color and can be eaten fresh or allowed to dry on the vine. Pods average 6″ in length.  Red Ripper performs great in sandy soils that may be nutrient-deficient. It works well as a dual-purpose food crop and cover crop in the summer to replenish nitrogen supplies in your garden soil. A non-crowder pea with a slight curvature, smooth testa, and maroon color at the dry stage.

Red Ripper Pea is a heat-tolerant variety that performs well in drier growing conditions. When planted in spring, it will continue to flower and set new pods into the summer months. It also can be grown as a fall crop when planted in late summer or early fall. A highly bushy, cover crop that is considered as “late maturing”.

We recommend planting field peas using a walk-behind planter like our Hoss Garden Seeder. Use a #5 seed plate, but always check the hole size and modify if necessary. Because it has a semi-vining growing habit, allow 3-4′ of growing space for each row.

Field peas or cowpeas do very well when planted on double rows.  Plant two rows about 6″ apart, then skip over 3-4′ and plant another double row. This will allow you to maximize garden space and produce more vegetables per square foot of the garden. Peas should be harvested when pods are full and shelling is easy. If the pods do not shell easily, they likely need to stay on the plant longer.

Red Ripper Pea Planting Information

Planting Method: direct seed

When to Plant: after last frost

Planting Depth: 1″

Seed Spacing: 3-4″

Row Spacing: 3-4′

Days to Maturity: 70

Disease Resistance: None

4 reviews for Red Ripper Pea

  1. An Alabama neighbor (verified owner)

    We love really any field or cow type of pea but these became our hands down favorite after growing last year. I know field/cow peas are very well known for their somewhat low germ rate so when my husband planted these last year he planted very thick. He also used the inoculant (also purchased from Hoss). My husband was fully expecting to see a lot less sprouting than what he did. He was shocked and said that he has no way to know for certain but there is no way he got the 70 or 80% germ rate. He thinks it was very close to 100% germ rate on yes, cow peas. I also understand that cow peas (like carrot seeds) don’t really do that well held over from year to year. Well… fast forward to a few weeks ago. We had just enough red ripper peas left over from last year’s one pound bag for one 30 foot row. My husband planted (not really expecting much) and said that he wouldn’t be upset if nothing came up given that they are cow peas and we didn’t have any inoculant. He had already decided to just give it a chance but had already planned on just planting that row with more pole beans if these didn’t do anything. He was really shocked when they started sprouting. He’s guessing he’s gotten around 90% germ rate on the red rippers from last year’s batch of seed. We were really surprised because we were certain they wouldn’t be any good especially since we had just thrown the bag from last year into a closet (and not the spare fridge where we store seeds). Well, of course we had to have more than just one row’s worth of peas so I just ordered and received a five pound bag of these peas for this summer for a late summer/early fall cover crop. These peas are just the best tasting so you’re really getting a LOT of value/double whammy (cover crop/peas to put up for the winter). We had planted some pink eye type of pea along with these last year and I just wasn’t impressed. The red rippers quickly climbed a trellis so I wasn’t having to stay constantly bent over and killing my lower back like the other bush type of peas. The red rippers were also exceptionally easy to shell and produced full pods. Also, the insects just generally seemed to leave them alone (unlike the pink eye type we grew – which were a pain to pick, nearly impossible to shell with just a few peas per pod/shell, and bitten a million times by insects).

  2. A neighbor in Alabama (verified owner)

    We order a pound of these last year and planted almost the entire bag (not quite). Since cow peas are very well known for just naturally having a lower than average/normal (whatever you want to call it) germ rate my husband made sure to plant the peas very thick. We did use the

  3. Neighbor in North Alabama (verified owner)

    I thought cow peas were supposed to have a much lower germination rate? Apparently not if you buy them from Hoss, lol. We bought one pound of seed last year from Hoss and planted all but a tiny amount (ran out of space in the garden). My husband did the planting and was going off of the germ rate on the packaging. He was shocked at how many sprouted and stated that although he had no way to know/tell/prove this – that he swears he got at least 95% or higher germination. We did use the inoculant and the peas came up very fast and took off very, very quickly. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The few leftover seeds that we had from last year were enough to get one single 30 foot row planted. These are cow peas. We’ve heard that cow peas/field peas are like carrot seeds.. expect to see a huge decrease in germination from one year to the next (if any at all). We had the seed, decided why not at least see if they would germinate… and… if they didn’t we were going to plant some more pole beans in that row instead. We didn’t have any inoculant. Pretty sure it’s a 90% germination rate this year.

    I tend to try to over-plan or over-estimate a little bit because I like to just factor in for the fact that not everything is going to germinate or make it or thrive. Not sure what Hoss is doing with these seeds but I really need to train myself to stop starting “extra” seedings with Hoss.

    We planted that one row this year because well… we had a spare row so why not? We love these peas, just everything about them. They taste fabulous, they double as a cover crop, they are easy to grow, easy to harvest, easy to shell and they’re just pretty. So, needless to say we had to order the five pound bag this year (along with plenty of inoculant) and come late summer/early fall we will be planting one delicious tasting cover crop.

  4. A neighbor in Alabama (verified owner)

    I thought cow/field peas were supposed to have a much lower germination rate than most other things? My husband and I had never grown field peas before last year. We have eaten them all of our lives and love them so with a big area to finally be able to grow in last year we ordered a one pound bag of the red rippers along with another type of field pea and plenty of inoculate. My husband was completely shocked when the red rippers really started sprouting. He “guesstimated” they had to have germinated at a very bare minimum of 95 percent and dared to say he thought it actually higher than that. Fast forward to this year. We had a few seeds left over from the one pound bag last year (enough for one single, 30’ row). We had read that field pea seed, unlike other seed but rather similar to carrot seed, just does not hold over well from one year to the next. We were expecting either extremely low to no germination. We didn’t even have any inoculate but thought we’d give it a shot just to see what happened. Nearly 100 percent germination again. So, naturally we have a five pound bag and plenty of inoculate (seems to really, really make them “take off”) for a late summer/early fall delicious tasting cover crop for this year.

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