How to Grow Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpea or garbanzo beans are a cool-season annual plant that requires about 90 – 100 days of warm weather to mature to harvest. They can be directly seeded outdoors immediately following the average last spring frost date.

You can also start them indoors in peat pots a few weeks prior to transplanting outdoors.

They frequently suffer from transplant shock so hardening off is recommended, as well as taking care not to damage the root system when transplanting them.

The chickpea is an annual legume, that grows about 1-1/2 feet tall. They have swollen, oval pods of about 1 inch long and almost just as wide. The pods contain one or two large, light tan seeds which are the chickpea or Garbanzo bean.

Chickpeas do best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They should be grown in non-compacted, well-drained soil.

Organic amendments such as well-aged compost or manure prior to planting. Avoid green manure [Not fully aged] and avoid soil that is high in nitrogen. Chickpeas provide their own nitrogen and excessive nitrogen will produce lush foliage at the expense of the harvestable peas.

Potassium and phosphorus fertilizers are best. Optimal Soil pH is 5.8 to 6.2

Chick Peas are somewhat frost tolerant but will perform best where daytime temperatures range between 65 and 80 degrees Farenheit.

Related: Growing Great Northern White Beans

Planting Chickpeas

Direct Seed chickpeas into the garden about 2 weeks before the average last frost in spring, you can also sow a second planting a few weeks after the frost date to allow for a continuous harvest. if you start Chickpeas indoors, it is advisable to do so in peat pots that can be placed directly into the soil without disturbing the root system. 

Sow chickpea seeds 1.25 to 2 inches deep, and space them 4 to 6 inches apart. You may have to thin out some unsuccessful plants later, if so cut them away at the soil level so as not to disturb neighboring roots. Rows should be spaced 1 1/2 to 2 feet apart. Slight overcrowding is permissible with chickpeas as they tend to support each other.

Companion Planting Chickpeas

Avoid planting chickpeas , or any peas or beans for that matter in succession with other legumes / beans. Good companion plants are strawberries, cucumbers, melons and celery . Avoid planting near to, or in succession with onions or Garlic.

See – Companion Planting

How Much Water Do Chickpeas Need for Growing?

Regular watering is needed , don’t drown them , just keep them watered when rainfall is not sufficient. During drought and dry spells Frequent, light watering is best. Try to keep the soil uniformly moist, but the leaves dry to avoid fungal diseases. You will also want to avoid handling chickpeas when they are wet or moist , as this may help to spread fungal spores.

Chickpea Pests & Diseases

Common pests are Aphids, beetles, Leaf Hoppers and mites .

Chickpeas are susceptible to anthracnose, blight, and mosaic. If any of these have been a problem in the past, plant disease-resistant varieties. Proper sanitary practices are vital to the health of your garden. Proper sanitation can help to ensure disease-free and productive plants.

Freshly shelled chickpeas and those still in the pod on a rustic wooden table top.

Harvesting and Storing Chickpeas

Chickpeas will be harvestable 90 – 100 days after planting. Chickpeas can also be picked when still immature and green and eaten like snap beans.

For dried chickpeas, harvest the entire plant when the leaves have withered and browned place the entire plant on a warm, dry ventilated surface and allow the pods to fully dry. Collect the seed when the pods split open. 

Unshelled chickpeas will keep in the refrigerator for 7 – 10 days. Dried, shelled chickpeas will keep for up to a year. They can also be sprouted, frozen, or canned.