Growing Chickpeas: A Step-By-Step Guide

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Chickpeas

Growing Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume that is a dietary staple in many parts of the world. This high-protein vegetable is an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is enjoyed cooked in a variety of dishes from hummus to falafel. Nutritionally, chickpeas are a healthy, affordable, and versatile ingredient for both vegan and non-vegan eaters alike.

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Cheatsheet for Growing Chickpeas

1. Ideal Climate and Soil:

🏜️ Chickpeas thrive in warm climates and well-drained soil.

2. Planting:

🌱 Sow chickpea seeds 1-2 inches deep, 4-6 inches apart.

3. Watering:

💦 Keep soil moist, but avoid waterlogging to prevent root rot.

4. Fertilizing:

🌿 Apply a balanced fertilizer at planting and during flowering.

5. Support:

🌾 Provide stakes or trellis to support tall-growing varieties.

6. Pests and Diseases:

  • 🐛 Watch for aphids, cutworms, and fungal diseases.
  • 🔍 Regularly inspect plants and take necessary control measures.

7. Harvesting:

⏰ Harvest chickpeas when pods turn dry and brown.

8. Drying and Storage:

🌞 Sun-dry harvested chickpeas for a few days before storing.

9. Health Benefits:

💪 High in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.

10. Self-Sufficiency:

🌱 Grow your own chickpeas to decrease reliance on store-bought versions.

Growing Chickpeas: A Step-By-Step Guide

Choosing Your Chickpeas

Start by selecting the right variety. Kabuli and Desi are the two main types of chickpeas.

Kabuli are larger and cream-colored, while Desi are smaller and darker. I find Kabuli easier to cook with.

Kabuli chickpeas, known for their smooth coat and larger size, make up about 80% of global chickpea production.

Getting the Soil Ready

Chickpeas thrive in well-drained, loamy soil. Ensure the pH is between 6.0 and 8.0.

I've had great success planting them where other legumes previously grew. They seem to do well with that nutrient mix.

Chickpeas fix nitrogen into the soil, making them an excellent crop for improving soil health.

Planting the Seeds

Plant chickpeas in early spring for the best results. Wait until the last frost date has passed.

Plant seeds about 1-2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. I use a planting guide to make sure I space them accurately.

  1. Soak seeds in water for a day to speed up germination.
  2. Place each soaked seed in a pre-dug hole.
  3. Cover lightly with soil and water gently.
Soaking the seeds can reduce germination time by up to half.

Watering and Maintenance

Chickpeas need a moderate amount of water. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so aim for once a week.

Be vigilant with weeding. Young plants can be easily overtaken by aggressive weeds.

Tip: Mulching around plants helps retain moisture and reduce weed growth.

Supporting Growth

Chickpeas don't usually need staking, but taller varieties might benefit from some support.

I sometimes use bamboo stakes to help keep taller plants upright. It's simple but effective.

Chickpeas are relatively low-maintenance, which makes them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners.

Harvesting Your Bounty

Harvest chickpeas when the pods are dry and brittle. This typically happens in late summer or early fall.

Pull plants out by hand and hang them upside down in a dry, cool place to fully dry out.

Processing Chickpeas

Once thoroughly dried, the pods can be shelled to remove the chickpeas. Store them in an airtight container.

If you’ve got surplus, they're great for preserving—for either seed stock or culinary delights.

I always save some for next season's planting.

Health Highlights

Chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Perfect for a healthy diet.

They're also inexpensive and versatile. You can use them in salads, stews, and even make delicious hummus.

Chickpeas are a fantastic, nutrient-dense addition to any diet, promoting heart health and weight management.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can I start growing chickpeas?

You can start growing chickpeas in early spring once the soil temperature reaches around 60°F.

2. What type of soil do chickpeas prefer?

Chickpeas thrive in well-draining soil with a pH level of 6 to 7.

3. How deep should I plant chickpea seeds?

Plant chickpea seeds about 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil.

4. How much sunlight do chickpeas need?

Chickpeas require full sun for at least 6 to 8 hours a day.

5. How often should I water chickpea plants?

Water chickpea plants regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.

6. Do chickpea plants need support?

Yes, chickpea plants benefit from support structures like trellises or stakes.

7. How long does it take for chickpeas to grow?

Chickpeas typically take 90 to 100 days to reach maturity.

8. Can I grow chickpeas in containers?

Yes, you can grow chickpeas in containers with adequate drainage.

9. Are there any common pests or diseases that affect chickpeas?

Chickpeas can be susceptible to fungal diseases and pests such as aphids and leaf miners.

10. When is the best time to harvest chickpeas?

Harvest chickpeas when the pods turn yellow and dry and the seeds are firm.

Chickpeas are an incredibly beneficial food to grow, as they are packed with essential nutrients. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber, as well as protein, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. They are low in fat, cholesterol-free, and contain many vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they are easy to cultivate, making them great for home gardens and larger farms. The nutritional benefits of chickpeas make them a great addition to any meal.

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