Chickpeas, commonly known as garbanzo beans, are protein-rich and healthy. The chickpea is a bushy annual legume with dark green complex leaves that resemble vetch. Chickpeas have inflated, oblong pods that are approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) long and almost as broad. Depending on the cultivar, flowers are white or violet.
What Are Chickpeas?
Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) are a wrinkled, medium-sized legume (Fabaceae) family member. Chickpeas come in two varieties: Desi and Kabuli. The bean’s form, size, and color determine the kind. Most household vegetable gardens cultivate Kabuli chickpeas. Plant the cool-weather crop soon before the season’s last frost.
Chickpeas are one of the world’s oldest bean crops, dating back to 8500 BC in Turkey and the Mediterranean. Now a popular crop worldwide, especially in India where the Desi chickpea reigns dominant.
Chickpeas How to Grow
The seeds of the chickpea plant are the dried or tinned chickpeas. These seeds develop within green pods on bushy plants that flourish in the early spring’s chilly season.
Due to their cold-weather tolerance, chickpeas are best started in early spring, about a week before your area’s last frost date. When the weather is good:
Planting area prepare, For optimal results, plant chickpeas in full sun for at least six hours every day. Chickpeas like loose, well-drained soil, not soggy soil. Chickpea plants don’t need much nutrition; just a little natural compost in the soil will do.
Inoculate seeds (optional). Inoculate your chickpea seeds with Rhizobium leguminosarum, which is widely accessible at garden stores (look for inoculant specifically labeled for chickpea or garbanzo bean seeds). Before planting, dry the seeds in the shade.
Plant seeds. Plant chickpea seeds in rows, two inches apart, with three to five inches between holes. Rows should be 12 inches apart. Despite the near spacing, the plants are able to sustain one other and survive.
Water. Water sparingly after planting to help settle the soil and keep it wet for germination. Too much wetness might fracture the seeds during germination.
Thin. When chickpea seedlings are three inches tall, thin them by picking out seedlings growing next to each other, leaving four to six inches between plants.
Related: 20 Edible Plants You Should Grow In Your Italian Garden
Care for Garbanzo Beans
Water and food Until chickpeas emerge from the soil, keep planting beds equally wet. During blooming and pod production, water frequently. Avoid overhead irrigation that might damage blooms and pods. Mulch in the weather to retain soil moisture. Before planting, add old compost to planting beds. Compost chickpeas mid-season. Avoid fertilizing planting beds with nitrogen. Chickpeas, like other legumes, exchange nitrogen molecules with soil microbes called nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
Handling chickpeas that are damp or dewy might spread fungus spores. To avoid disturbing chickpeas’ thin root structure, keep planting plots weed-free. Rotate chickpeas and other legumes to improve soil nitrogen.
Pests. Aphids, flea beetles, leafhoppers, and mites damage chickpeas. Aphids, leafhoppers, or mites can be killed using a hose or insecticidal soap. Find eggs and infestations and smash them. Pinch huge infestations out. Bean mosaic virus is propagated by aphids. So that pests cannot breed or overwinter in your garden, keep it clean.
Diseases. Chickpeas can get blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. Species resistant to illness Keep the garden neat and tidy. Handle plants dry to avoid spreading fungus spores. Removed sick plants; bagged and discarded. Chickpeas are prone to several soil-borne illnesses; rotating beans every three years will help prevent soil-borne infections.
Tips Growing Garbanzo Beans / Chickpeas
If you’re new to growing chickpeas, here are some tips:
Plant pal. With most garden plants since chickpeas are nitrogen-fixers, their roots contain healthy bacteria-filled nodules that supply the soil with needed nitrogen. Summer savory and cucumbers are popular companions. Avoid growing chickpeas near alliums (particularly garlic) because they emit a toxin that stunts legume development. Avoid growing chickpeas near disease-prone plants like potatoes or soybeans.
Handle when drier. It’s best not to avoid chickpea leaves or pods after a fungus or morning dew, as this can spread fungus.
Handle the roots with care. Chickpea plants have shallow root systems, so avoid damaging them. When weeding, gently pluck off roots around the chickpea plants’ base.
Inoculate. Some farmers of pulse crops go one step further and inoculate the seeds with a bacteria that promotes nitrogen fixation, strengthens the plant, and increases production. Inoculate your chickpeas by combining the seeds with the commercial inoculant Rhizobia cicero. Before planting, dry the seeds in the shade.
Chickpeas Harvest and Storage
Harvest. Chickpeas are ready to harvest 100 days after planting. Fresh chickpeas may be selected while immature and green, and eaten like snap beans. Harvest the entire plant after the leaves have withered and turned brown; dry the pods on a flat, warm surface. Harvest seed when pods split. When eaten, dry seeds scarcely dent.
Keeping and saving. Unshelled chickpeas keep for a week in the fridge. Dried chickpeas will keep for a year in a cold, dry place. Chickpeas can be canned or frozen.