Chickpea

Cicer arietinum
Sow depth1.5 to 2 inches
EmergenceAbout a week, from personal experience.
Temperature20-27 C. Can withstand cold like a pro, but likes heat during the growing season.
LightLots of sun.
SoilPrefers sandy or loamy soil.
pH5.5 to 8.6
Height8 inches to just over 1.5 feet
PollinationSelf-pollinated
MaturityAbout 100 days?
HarvestHarvest when entire plant has browned and withered. Dry pods and collect chickpeas when pods crack. One pod contains 1-3 chickpeas.
Culinary UseSoup, salad, roasted, falafel, stew, fermented to make alcohol, roasted and used as coffee substitute, roasted roots can be eaten, ground for flour, curry, hummus--good source of protein. Young seedpods and young leaves can be used as a salad green. Young pods can be used like snap beans.
ProblemsPods and leaves contain oxalic acid, which can irritate the skin. Humidity is problematic--excess water on seed pods encourage fungal growth, rotting the pods.

Another nitrogen fixer (my garden will be nitrorrific).

I found mention of the pods/leaves/sprouts being used as salad greens, but I'm not a fan of oxalic acid, and there are reports of the leaves and pods being poisonous, although cooking resolves these problems. But I'll probably leave it alone, even though younger pods/leaves/sprouts have less oxalic acid than the older ones.

I found a site that actually gives information about growing chickpeas in containers of at least 8 inches deep, but it says that the amount of containers that would be needed for a good harvest is pretty prohibitive. I'm thinking along the lines of lentils, for which it takes a whole heck of a lot of plants and work just to get a single bowl of soup. But, hey, it's not a tall plant, it can be grown beneath taller plants and amend the soil with happy nitrogen, so it's totally not a loss at all!

The above-linked site has a good list of pests and some diseases, too.

More complete list of diseases is here.

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4 Responses to Chickpea

  1. I planted some chick peas out of my 15 bean soup mix. All of the Beans have sprouted. Im just concerned about cross pollination with different beans. I hope I don't create a toxic mix, because I just threw them in the ground and said grow, thinking they wouldn't and Bam!! they are all shooting up. It's an experiment at least thats what Im calling it. Good post!!

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  2. They are quite vigorous, aren't they! I think they're pretty plants, beneficial even without a harvest.

    But I wouldn't worry too much about crosspollination. Chickpeas, lentils, and a lot of the beans are all different species and generally don't crosspollinate (although sometimes that can happen, it's pretty rare). Crosspollination generally occurs between the different varieties of the same species--so, say you have green beans, kidney beans, and black beans (all Phaseolus vulgaris). They could crosspollinate with each other, but not with beans of other species, such as black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata), lentils (Lens culinaris), lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus), or soybeans(Glycine max). Generally. You never know sometimes, however... Nature's a tricky lass!

    Here's some good info. Gardenweb.com is a pretty awesome site that I get some information off sometimes, but the forums are not necessarily the be-all and end-all of gardening, it's just a good starting point, for me.

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  3. Very interesting. I'd like to see pictures as they grow and hear first hand what the harvest per plant is really like.

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  4. I interplanted with cucumbers for a bit of shade and nitrogen and they've been very helpful. Delicious green (toasted in the pod on a griddle). Now trying to figure out how to remove the pods without doing each one individually...any ideas?

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