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.


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.


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.


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


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


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?


brendie said...

my peas, i planted twice and i got 2 shoots from about 20 seeds, i replanted and no more came up, i had about 5 pods in total, they did taste great though.
i havent thought about growing chickpeas before, will have to read up on that one. oh ps i didnt soak the seeds which ive been told i should have

Jem said...

My understanding is that you are not supposed to soak chick peas before planting? I was going to try them this year but didn't get to it. Next year maybe.

frazzledsugarplummum said...

I think I will try this out next growing season. It is Winter in Australia at the moment. If I get some chickpeas it would be cool to keep them and resow to see if they acclimatise to the area.

LindaG said...

I definitely have. Being a beginning gardener, I planted a dozen beans and peas the end of February, I think it was, and not one of them sprouted.

At least you had a little success! :)

TechChik said...

I've had total failures of chickpeas and soyabeans - both in the same year. I pre-soaked them too, and in hindsight, I think that may have been the problem, as they both grow really well in this area.
We have huge lush fields of soyabeans just outside city limits, and the farmers don't soak them. Also, my ex-father-in-law used to grow chickpeas like crazy, and he never pre-soaked them either.
I think soyabeans and chickpeas might be one of those wierd legumes that don't like pre-soaking?

Francesca said...

I don't know why my chickpeas didn't grow, but I don't believe that the presoaking was the culprit. I always presoak all legumes and large seeds, and they grow fine.

SARINA said...

I guess that the majority of your sown chickpeas were eaten by little hungry mice. That`s what usually happens. Or some birds have found the shallow sown peas.
I suggest thst you start them off in pots next time and transplant the small plants at a later stage to their final growing position. This way you might have more success.

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

I really struggle to grow any type of beans - they either don't germinate or if they do grow, get eaten by slugs and snails. The one exception is broad (fava) beans - as a result we eat a lot of those! :)

nytesong said...

Hmmm...Does TWO blueberries count? This growing without much produced must be the theme of the day!

eringoodman said...

This year it's my peas.

Pretty sure I didn't water them enough. I think we've had three healthy vines and one edible pod from about 50-60 seeds we planted.

Dea-chan said...

All of my peas got some disease that I forget the name of. So out of 40 viable pea plants of two different varieties, I received about 6 pea pods, all of which were bitter.