Grow Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are highly nutritious legumes that have been cultivated for thousands of years. They are not only a staple in many cuisines around the world but also offer numerous health benefits.

If you’re interested in growing your own chickpeas, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need. From preparing the soil to harvesting the crop, we will cover every aspect of chickpea cultivation, enabling you to successfully grow your own delicious and nutritious chickpeas.

Understanding Chickpeas:

Overview of Chickpeas:

Chickpeas are a type of legume that belongs to the Fabaceae family. They come in various sizes and colors, including beige, green, and black. Chickpeas have a mild, nutty flavor and a buttery texture. They are rich in protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a valuable addition to a balanced diet.

Nutritional Benefits of Chickpeas:

Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making them a popular choice among vegetarians and vegans. They are also high in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes satiety. Additionally, chickpeas contain essential minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as vitamins like folate and vitamin C. Regular consumption of chickpeas has been linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health and blood sugar control.

Preparing for Chickpea Cultivation:

Choosing the Right Chickpea Variety:

There are numerous chickpea varieties available, each with its unique characteristics. When selecting a variety, consider factors such as climate suitability, disease resistance, and intended use (whether for fresh consumption or dry beans). Popular chickpea varieties include Kabuli, Desi, and Bengal gram, among others.

Selecting the Planting Site:

Chickpeas thrive in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Choose a site that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. Avoid areas prone to waterlogging, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other diseases.

Soil Preparation:

Before planting chickpeas, it’s crucial to prepare the soil properly. Chickpeas prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Conduct a soil test to assess the pH and nutrient levels of your soil. If necessary, amend the soil with organic matter and appropriate fertilizers to optimize its fertility.

Sowing Seeds:

Chickpeas can be directly sown in the garden or started indoors and transplanted later. The optimal time for sowing depends on your climate and the chickpea variety you choose. Generally, chickpeas are sown in early spring, once the soil has warmed up and there is no risk of frost. Follow the recommended spacing and planting depth for your specific chickpea variety.

Caring for Chickpea Plants:

Watering and Irrigation:

Adequate watering is crucial for chickpea plants, especially during critical growth stages. Chickpeas require regular watering, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent waterlogged conditions. Aim for consistent moisture in the soil without saturating it. Monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust watering accordingly.


Chickpeas have moderate nutrient requirements. Conduct a soil test to determine the nutrient deficiencies, if any, and apply appropriate fertilizers accordingly. Generally, incorporating well-balanced organic fertilizers or slow-release granular fertilizers during soil preparation provides sufficient nutrients for healthy chickpea growth.

Weed Control:

Weeds can compete with chickpea plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Implement effective weed control measures, such as regular manual weeding or mulching, to suppress weed growth. Avoid using chemical herbicides that may harm the chickpea plants.

Disease and Pest Management:

Chickpeas are susceptible to various diseases and pests, including damping-off, powdery mildew, aphids, and pod borers. To prevent and manage these issues, practice crop rotation, maintain proper plant spacing, and monitor plants regularly for signs of infestation or disease. If necessary, apply organic or chemical treatments as recommended.

Harvesting and Storing Chickpeas:

Recognizing Harvest Time:

Chickpeas are typically ready for harvest when the pods turn yellow or brown, and the plants begin to dry out. Gently squeeze a few pods to check if the chickpeas feel hard and fully formed.

Harvesting Chickpeas:

To harvest chickpeas, pull out the entire plant or cut it at the base. Place the harvested plants in a dry, well-ventilated area to further dry and cure.

Post-Harvest Handling and Storage:

After the plants have dried completely, thresh the pods to separate the chickpeas from the plant. Remove any debris or damaged beans. Store the chickpeas in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to maintain their quality and prevent moisture-related issues.

Troubleshooting Common Issues:

Nutritional Deficiencies:

Nutrient deficiencies in chickpeas can manifest as yellowing leaves, stunted growth, or reduced yield. Conduct regular soil tests to identify any deficiencies and address them through appropriate fertilization. Common nutrient deficiencies include nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron.

Pest Infestations:

Common pests that affect chickpea plants include aphids, pod borers, and cutworms. Regularly inspect the plants for signs of pest infestation, such as chewed leaves or wilting. Introduce beneficial insects, like ladybugs or parasitic wasps, or use organic pest control methods to manage the pests effectively.

Disease Outbreaks:

Chickpeas can be susceptible to diseases such as fusarium wilt, ascochyta blight, and root rot. To prevent disease outbreaks, practice crop rotation, choose disease-resistant varieties, and maintain proper plant hygiene. If necessary, apply appropriate fungicides or other treatments as recommended by local agricultural extension services.

Cooking and Enjoying Chickpeas:

Chickpea Recipes:

Chickpeas are incredibly versatile and can be used in a wide range of recipes. Explore delicious options such as hummus, falafel, chickpea curry, salads, and soups. Experiment with different spices and flavor combinations to enhance the taste of your chickpea dishes.

Culinary Uses of Chickpeas:

Chickpeas can be cooked and consumed in various forms. They can be boiled, roasted, mashed, or ground into flour. They are a staple ingredient in many cuisines worldwide, including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes.

Storing and Preserving Chickpeas:

If you have a surplus of chickpeas, you can store them for future use. Keep them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to maintain their quality and prevent pest infestation. Alternatively, you can preserve chickpeas by canning or freezing them.

Here are some additional points to further expand on the topic of growing chickpeas:

Crop Rotation:

It is beneficial to practice crop rotation when growing chickpeas. Avoid planting chickpeas in the same location year after year, as this can lead to the buildup of diseases and pests specific to chickpeas. Rotate chickpeas with other crops such as cereals or legumes to help maintain soil health and reduce the risk of diseases.


Some varieties of chickpeas have a trailing or climbing habit. If you are growing such varieties, consider providing support through trellising. This can help keep the plants upright, improve air circulation, and make harvesting easier. Install trellises or stakes when the plants are young to avoid damaging the root system later.


Applying organic mulch around chickpea plants can provide numerous benefits. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, suppresses weed growth, regulates soil temperature, and reduces soil erosion. Use materials such as straw, hay, or wood chips as mulch, and apply it after the soil has warmed up in spring.

Companion Planting:

Consider companion planting with chickpeas to enhance their growth and deter pests. Some compatible companion plants for chickpeas include cilantro, dill, basil, and marigolds. These plants can help repel pests, attract beneficial insects, and provide a diverse and beneficial environment for your chickpeas.

Pruning and Thinning:

Chickpea plants naturally branch out and produce numerous leaves. While pruning is not necessary, it can help improve air circulation and reduce the risk of diseases. If the plants become overly crowded, thinning them by removing some of the weaker or excess plants can promote better growth and yield.

Harvesting Green Chickpeas:

If you prefer a sweeter and more tender taste, you can harvest chickpeas when they are still green and immature. Green chickpeas are harvested when the pods are plump and the seeds are tender. This is usually done before the pods turn yellow or brown. Green chickpeas are often used in stir-fries, salads, or consumed as a snack.

Saving Seeds:

If you want to save chickpea seeds for future plantings, allow a portion of the crop to fully mature and dry on the plant. Harvest the mature pods when they are dry and brittle. Thresh the pods to separate the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place in airtight containers. Properly stored chickpea seeds can remain viable for several years.

Organic Pest Control:

If you prefer organic methods for pest control, there are several options available. Introduce beneficial insects like ladybugs, lacewings, or predatory mites to help control aphids and other pests. Additionally, homemade insecticidal soaps or botanical sprays made from neem oil or pyrethrin can be used to manage common pests.

Seed Treatment:

To improve germination rates and protect young seedlings, you can consider treating chickpea seeds before sowing. Soaking the seeds in water for a few hours or overnight can help soften the seed coat and enhance germination. You can also use a microbial inoculant specifically formulated for legumes to introduce beneficial bacteria that aid in nitrogen fixation.

Community and Online Resources:

Joining gardening communities or online forums dedicated to legume cultivation can provide valuable insights and tips from experienced growers. Engaging with fellow gardeners can help you troubleshoot issues, exchange ideas, and learn from their successes and challenges.

Growing your own chickpeas can be a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the nutritional benefits of this versatile legume. By following the steps outlined in this guide, from preparing the soil to harvesting and storing the crop, you can successfully cultivate your own batch of delicious and nutritious chickpeas. Experiment with different recipes and culinary uses to fully appreciate the flavors and versatility of this ancient and beloved legume.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *