Friday, 1 July 2011

Chickpeas below subsistence

by Francesca @ FuoriBorgo



When I wrote about my intention to grow chickpeas in the spring (here), a reader of this blog suggested that instead of buying them from a garden catalog, I simply use chickpeas from the grocery store. Duh! That thought had not crossed my mind at all, even though we've often germinated chickpeas and beans as part of the science experiments with our kids. True, those seedlings never survived, but that was part of the mystery of science - our home-grown science, at any rate.


chickpeas


In the end, I didn't buy chickpeas for planting from a catalog, but I didn't buy them from a grocery store either. I went to a street market with a stall where legumes are sold by weight, in big sacks. There I talked to the stall-keeper, and she assured me that the 2 kilos of chickpeas I was buying were from the last harvest. Those chickpeas seemed especially tasty, and made wonderful soup and great hummus. Some I soaked for several days, and then sowed them in a corner of the garden, as a test. We probably sowed 40-60 chickpeas on that cool day in February.


chickpeas


By mid-May, my chickpea plants, which surprised me with their pretty little oval feathery leaves, were about 30 cm high, and beginning to produce pods.


chickpeas


The cutest pods ever! Small, fluffy, rounded pods, each cradling one or two chickpeas.


chickpeas


I harvested them this week, now that the plants and pods were dry.


chickpeas


The result was a handful of chickpeas.



Because although my chickpea plants were among the plants I cherished and photographed the most, there were only five of them. Five very healthy plants, that thrived in the optimal weather conditions we've been enjoying this year. Alas, only five chickpea out of the 40-60 we planted grew into plants - whatever happened to the others? I guess it's one of the mysteries of gardening ... of our gardening, at any rate!



Have you ever had a crop fail so catastrophically?