Article by Melissa Kruse-Peeples, Education Coordinator. Published May 14, 2018.
As spring turns into summer, gardeners are asking what crops can be planted that will actually survive the impending burning inferno that is Southern Arizona’s summer. At Native Seeds/SEARCH we encourage gardeners not to be afraid of the summer heat but to embrace the arid-adapted varieties of the Native Seeds/SEARCH collection. These varieties are arid-adapted, full-sun loving powerhouses. One of our favorite heat-loving varieties is Tohono O’odham cowpeas. In June and July when other crops seem to go dormant waiting for cooler temperatures, Tohono O’odham cowpeas grow so fast you can almost hear them. The lush growth will help shade the ground and create a cooler microclimate, AND they taste delicious! Immature pods are great raw in salads or sautéed with garlic and butter. As they ripen, the soft peas can be shelled and cooked or the dried pods can be harvested to accumulate for a big pot of cooked peas with a creamy texture and rich flavor.