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Vigna subterranea


For the uninitiated, Bambara groundnuts are cowpeas that grow underground just like peanuts. If your microclimate is Zone 7 and warmer, then you are all set because bambaras, like peanuts, require a long growing season. But unlike peanuts, bambaras are extremely drought resistant since they evolved in a sub-Sahara environment. In short, this is a basic food plant from Old Africa. From a nutritional standpoint bambaras are complete, meaning that vegans can live off bambaras without fear of compromising a balanced diet. From a culinary standpoint, bambaras taste like peanuts and can be used in cookery like peanuts, but also, the green (unripe) bambaras can be consumed like green cowpeas. This means pulling up the plants while the underground pods are still green.


Our Village Mix is a collection of landraces selected for us from rural markets in the vicinity of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. As you can judge from the photo, the seeds produce a wide range of phenotypes, even now and then some white seeds. We will send you a selection of red-to-brown of various sizes since they will produce a highly productive range of pod types.  We will not include any white ones, even though white bambaras are highly valued and in any case your seed may throw some white types. The downside to the white seed is that germination rates are poor and often the seeds are deformed. That said, the most sought after bambaras are black because they are thought to contain potent aphrodisiacs!  We will offer the black variety once we get it up to production standards. But we expect it to sell out because, well, aphrodisiacs are hope eternal.


Meanwhile, if you are growing bambaras for the first time, start them in flats or small starter cups, then move them to a well-drained ridge in full sun (the hotter the better), each plant 2 feet apart (they tend to spread when mature), the plants will then send down “pegs” (black stems) that will produce your bambaras. Let the plants die in the fall and dry out or pull them up and dry them in a greenhouse or some other protected environment. Keep in mind that voles, chipmunks, and squirrels are connoisseurs when it comes to bambaras and stealing them, so keep an eye on your harvest even when stored in what you may imagine a protected place.


~25 seeds per packet.

Bambaras (Village Mix) Cowpeas

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