Growing Chick Peas

Growing chickpea seeds

I would say that chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are one of my staple food groups. Yes, it’s almost like a food in itself because I could eat chickpeas every which way quite happily. Whether it’s chana masala (one of my all-time favourite Indian dishes), falafel, that vegan God-send hummus, lemon chickpea cake or just chickpeas thrown into a shepherdess pie, chilli or one-pot meal, I just love them. And they’re so very good for me (and the baby). Win-win.

Although I can buy chickpeas fairly cheaply from the tinned basic range at my local supermarkets, or even cheaper dried (now they only take 40 mins or so from dried in my Instant Pot), I fancied doing something a little different this year and giving chickpeas a go in my mini kitchen garden.

They’re ideally suited to our sandy soil here in Bedfordshire, one of the driest regions of England, as they’re not hugely fussy about nutrient-rich soil and are relatively drought tolerant. And as they’re a legume, they also fix nitrogen into the soil, so another win-win for me. I’ve got some space left in the big plot, but I need to get my skates on and get the next no-dig plot (and polytunnel) ready for more crops!

A little space left for some chickpeas and interplanted 'catch crops'

A little space left for some chickpeas and interplanted ‘catch crops’

They like to be planted where they’re going to grow, so I’ll be sowing directly very soon now that the temperatures have risen and the soil is warmer. Once established, they’ll grow a canopy and help to suppress weeds underneath them… so less work for me, and a great addition to my no-dig methods.

But with our temperature climate, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to harvest anything that I can dry and keep… we shall see. Chickpeas apparently like hot climates, so I may be left with immature, green but perfectly edible peas that need to be eaten like mange tout or petits pois instead. These can be blanched and frozen for later, but I’d prefer to be able to dry them and store them.

However, my biggest battle will be keeping our feathered and small furry friends at bay. Chickpeas, like any kind of bean or legume, will be an attractive prospect for little nibblers, so I’ll have to keep them under a small fortress to start with. Wish me luck!

Comments

  1. I love chickpeas too so I’ll be watching your progress with interest! Good luck ?

    • Thanks Julianne! It’s been pretty cold here in East Anglia lately so just waiting for the sun to actually come out and warm the soil a bit more before I plant out. Hopefully shouldn’t be too long!

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