Are you looking for a new and exciting vegetable to add to your garden? Why not try growing chickpeas? Chickpeas are a nutritious and tasty legume that can be used in a variety of recipes. A cool-season annual, chickpeas or garbanzo beans take about 100 days to mature and are ready for harvest.
Though botanically neither a bean nor a pea, chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are considered to be beans. In this blog post, we will show you how to grow chickpeas in your garden. We will also discuss the benefits of growing this legume and provide some helpful tips on how to care for your plants. So if you are interested in learning more about chickpea gardening, keep reading!
What Exactly Are Chickpeas?
The chickpea or garbanzo bean, scientifically known as Cicer arietinum, is a member of the legume family. The Desi and Kabuli varieties of chickpeas are the two main types. The shape, size, and color of the bean are used to categorize each type. The most popular variety of chickpeas to grow in a backyard vegetable plot are kabuli chickpeas.
One of the earliest known legume crops, chickpeas were first grown in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries as early as 8500 BC. Chickpeas are now a well-liked crop all over the world, especially in India, where the Desi chickpea is king. Chickpeas can be divided into two main categories based on size, color, and shape.
The Desi chickpea is a small, round, and brown bean with a yellow interior and a rough exterior. Next, the Kabuli chickpea, also referred to as the garbanzo bean, is larger than its counterpart, rounder, and has a smoother coat. Both variations are widely used in cooking around the world.
Best Growing Conditions For Chickpea Plants
Light & Temperature
Garbanzo beans require full sun for at least six to eight hours each day. Chickpeas grow well in USDA zones 2 through 10b in the spring. Zones 10b through 11 can plant in the fall. The native environment of the chickpea plant experiences days with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. With no harm to the plant, nighttime lows of 64 can be tolerated.
For garbanzo beans to grow, it must be cool for at least 90 days. They can tolerate some frost as well. Blossom drop can occur when chickpeas experience too much cold during the flowering stage of growth. In the vegetative stage, cold impairs garbanzo beans' capacity to absorb water and nutrients, potentially stunting growth.
There should be plenty of rich soil in the planting area or container. Make sure the soil is well-drained. To encourage proper nutrient absorption in your chickpea plants' shallow root systems, slope the area where you'll be gardening. Chickpeas can be grown in less-than-ideal soil, but a thin layer of old compost really helps. Chickpeas grow best in a pH range of 4 to 6.
Chickpeas prefer slightly drier soil because overwatering will quickly cause the plants to die. Instead of watering your chickpea plants overhead, which will wet the leaves and pods and raise the risk of fungal rot, use a watering can with a long spout that enables you to water the base of the plants directly.
Nutrition & Fertilizer
Do not use fertilizers high in nitrogen when growing chickpeas. Because these plants already add nitrogen to the soil, adding too much nitrogen will cause the plant to focus on producing leaves rather than healthy, green chickpeas.
You shouldn't grow this plant alongside other legumes for the same reason. When planting, apply a 5-10-10 NPK powder fertilizer. You'll get a fantastic yield if you use 1 cup every 50 feet of row.
How To Plant Chickpea Plants
These delicious beans have a lengthy growing season that can take up to 100 days from the date of sowing to the time of harvest. The plants themselves are relatively simple to maintain. Follow these instructions to plant and grow your own garbanzo beans:
- Plant the seeds in the soil at a depth of 1-2 inches indoors. Start the seeds about four weeks before the last anticipated frost date in your area. Instead of planting chickpea seeds in the chilly ground, you should sow them indoors because they are somewhat fragile.
- Use pots that will biodegrade. Use paper or peat seedling pots that can be planted directly into the ground as opposed to plastic or ceramic containers because chickpea seedlings do not transplant well. You can buy seedling pots online and at the majority of gardening supply stores.
- In each pot, sow one to two seeds. Plant one seed in each pot, placing it 1 to 2 inches deep, after adding a small amount of potting soil to the seedling pots. Typically, sprouting takes two weeks.
- Give the seeds water and sunlight. Every day, gently mist the soil. Give them twice-daily waterings if it gets hot. Until the seedlings sprout, place the seedling pots close to a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight and keep the soil's surface evenly moist.
Chickpea Plant Care & Maintenance
Expect a lower yield from your garbanzo plant if you cultivate it in partial shade as opposed to full sun. The effects of overhead irrigation weaken the plant and increase the likelihood of sick plants. If it's not possible, water extremely early in the day so that the sun may dry the plants and just water the roots. Water at the base after removing any damaged plant parts if fungal diseases develop after overhead irrigation.
Chickpea plants' flowers and seed pods may fall off if the soil temperature swings too far in either direction, lowering your output. In heat waves and sudden freezing temperatures, mulch will control soil temperature. You can keep your plant alive by using frost and, if necessary, shade cloth. Chickpeas planted with other legumes will result in an excess of nitrogen in the soil.
Common Pests & Diseases
As you see pests, make sure to control them. Chickpeas are susceptible to infestations from a variety of pests. However, you shouldn't pre-treat the plant for pests; rather, you should wait to take action against bugs until you actually see them. With the use of an insecticidal soap solution or a hose blast of water, adult aphids, leafhoppers, and mites can be managed.
Look for eggs and smash them between your fingers after spotting adult pests. You could also just chop off any leaves that have egg casings on them. Try using a pyrethrin-containing natural insecticide for particularly serious infestations. To lessen the quantity of pests, you should also keep your garden clean.
Keep an eye out for illness symptoms. These plants are also susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose, among other ailments. When feasible, plant disease-resistant cultivars. Maintain a clean planting area and avoid touching the plants when they are moist to prevent the spread of illness. To stop the disease from spreading, remove sick plants and destroy them. Do not compost them; instead, burn them or discard them.
Harvesting Your Chickpeas
Harvest your chickpeas about 100 days after planting them if you want to eat them fresh. Eat them like snap peas after removing the pods. Allow the entire plant to wither and turn brown before pulling it up by the roots if you want to harvest dried chickpeas.
Each plant should be placed on its side on a warm, flat surface while you wait for the pods to split open and release the dried chickpeas inside. Take care when chewing one of the chickpeas. It is ready if it barely dents. Chickpeas should be harvested after drying, and the shelled beans should be separated from the harvested plant's leftovers.
Fresh, unshelled chickpeas keep well in the fridge for 3 to 5 days when stored in a plastic bag. Fresh peas freeze poorly. In an airtight container, dried seeds last for two to three years. Chickpeas can be cooked for storing and will last for three to four days in the fridge.
Chickpeas that have been cooked can be frozen if they are spread out in a single layer and are placed in the freezer for at least an hour. They can be kept for up to three months after being transferred to a freezer bag. Additionally, you can roast or dehydrate cooked chickpeas to create a crunchy snack that can be kept in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Chickpeas are indigenous to the Mediterranean region. In addition to being a flexible ingredient that can be used in many different meals, chickpeas are a healthy source of both protein and fiber. Chickpeas can be cultivated in most climates and are comparatively simple to grow.
They do, however, need a few certain growing environments in order to flourish. Chickpeas, for instance, require full sun and well-drained soil. Due to the fact that they are a cool-season crop, they must also be planted in the early spring. Chickpeas can be planted in late fall or early winter if you reside in a warm climate.
Normally, chickpeas are harvested after around 100 days. Simply pluck the plants up and separate the chickpeas from the pods to harvest them. Chickpeas can be consumed fresh or dried for storage once they are harvested. Prior to cooking, dried chickpeas must be soaked in water for a number of hours. Follow our tips to start growing your own chickpea plants today!