How to Grow Chickpeas

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Days to germination: 10 to 14 days
Days to harvest: 90 to 100 days
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Regular watering
Soil: Well-drained and fertile soils
Container: Not ideal for a good crop


Chickpeas are also well-known as garbanzo beans, and are a legume but not really a pea or a bean though their names would suggest otherwise.

Chickpeas are a popular addition to a vegetarian diet because they are very high in protein for a plant crop, and you will also get folic acid, manganese, iron and fiber. They are basically very nutritious and high in several minerals that are not that common in plant form. Middle Eastern cuisine uses a lot of chickpeas, in dishes like hummus and falafel.

They need a long growing season, but also relatively cool weather. In climates with hot summers, make sure to water more and possibly add some shade for your plants.

Starting Your Seeds

Chickpeas need a pretty long growing season so it may be beneficial to start your seeds indoors for an earlier start. Though it can help your harvest, chickpeas don’t really transplant that well. So start your seedlings off in paper or peat pots that can be planted whole without pulling on the delicate roots.

Get your seeds into some potting soil about 4 weeks before you expect the last frost of the spring. Seeds should be about 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil. You can plant 1 or 2 per seedling pot but thin down to just one each once they sprout. Give them plenty of sun and keep the soil moist until they have sprouted through the surface.


Plant out your seedlings after your frost date, keeping them about 5 or 6 inches apart. A little crowding is fine as each plant will provide a bit of support for its neighbors. Other than that, they won’t need any staking. Most chickpea plants will be under 2 feet tall at maturity and quite bushy.

If you are sowing your seeds out into the garden rather than starting seedlings, you should do so about 1 to 2 weeks before that frost date. The seedlings can be frost sensitive, so if they sprout quicker than expected, you may want to cover them during the night.

Growing Instructions

As a legume, chickpeas fix their own nitrogen from the soil so if you are using any fertilizer on your garden you need to stay away from any high-nitrogen formulas. One with no nitrogen at all is best. The plants usually thrive without fertilizer, or just a top dressing of aged manure each spring.

Their roots are shallow and will be very near to the surface of the soil. Pull any weeds by hand, or use a cover of mulch instead.

Water your plants regularly, only around the soil. Don’t pour water over the entire plant or you will make it a target for mildew infestation. Water around twice a week in dry weather, particularly when the flowers are in bloom and the pods are developing. Once the pods are mature, and the plant begins to die back, you can limit the water to encourage the drying process.


The plants will grow fine in a container at least 10 inches across and deep, but since each plant produces a relatively small number of beans, it may not be practical to grow an entire chickpea crop in pots. To get a usable-sized crop, you will need several plants which may make container growing unsuitable even though the plants will grow just fine in pots. You’d need around 7 or 8 plants per person.

Pests and Diseases

Many insects can be a threat to your chickpea plants, such as leafhoppers, bean beetles, mites and aphids. Large bugs like bean beetles can be picked off when you see them, and you should remove any leaves that have egg cases on them. Natural insect sprays with pyrethrins can help deter them, but you will still need to check your plants regularly.

Aphids are smaller and can be harder to deal with. A hard spray of water can wash them off but you would have to do that almost daily (or more) to keep them away. Insecticide soap spray is another idea. The aphids themselves are fairly harmless unless in large numbers, but you do have to worry about them spreading diseases like bean mosaic virus.

Bean mosaic virus will kill your plants, but there are a number of resistant varieties of chickpeas that you can plant as a precaution. The leaves will start to roll and have a crinkled appearance, and the entire plant will be stunted. There is no treatment, so any effected plants should be dug up and destroyed. Burn them or put them in the garbage, but don’t add them to your compost heap or brush pile.

Fungus spores that favor chickpeas can be dormant in the soil for several years, so you must rotate your crops. Ideally, planting no other beans or legumes in the same area for at least 3 years to prevent the buildup of spores.

Harvest and Storage

The plants will grow small 1-inch long pods, each with only one or two beans inside. If you are used to growing peas or other podded beans, this may seem disappointing or a sign of trouble. That’s just the way the plant grows.

Though they can be picked while still green and eaten like fresh snap beans, it’s more common to harvest chickpeas as a dried bean crop. You can leave the pods on the plant until they have dried completely, but damp weather can put them at risk of mold. Instead, pick the pods once the leaves of the plant have turned brown and bring them indoors to finish drying.

Lay them out where it is warm and also well-ventilated until the chickpeas don’t dent when bitten. Once they are completely dry, you can store them in an air-tight container where it is cool for up to a year.

20 Responses to “How to Grow Chickpeas”

  1. William Ginn  Says:

    In a temperate zone in the United States (zone 7) when do you plant chickpeas? I read somewhere they like cool weather, and that scares me off because of our hot summers which would overlap almost any cool season.

  2. Vic P. Trovela  Says:

    it is interesting to know about this chick pea. I want to know where I can buy seeds for testing in my farm at Mt. Banahaw.

  3. Penny  Says:

    I’ve ordered chickpea seeds from Gourmet Seed.

  4. Lee in Iowa  Says:

    Vic Trovela, about those chickpea seeds: I bought a little sack of chickpeas at my regular grocery store, cut it open and rinsed them well, then put them into a bowl of cool water for 24 hours. I drained them, covered them with a plate and tucked them in my fridge.

    But I never found time to make them into falafel.

    When I looked this morning (7 days later), they were ALL SPROUTED and ready to plant.

    So seeds? At your grocery store.

  5. Joanna  Says:

    Do you think they will have along enough season up here in Vermont? I would like to try harvesting some for My family but the article says long growing season but no time frame.

  6. Myrtle Linder  Says:

    I prepared my first chickpeas, dried, of course. As far as I know I have never eaten any before, They are delicious and I will plant some. very soon. Are they as good green as they are dried?? I looking forward to planting and growing them

  7. Michael  Says:

    Grocery store beans and seeds will sprout (my favorite way to eat lentils) but the plants they grow into will have been bred for commercial use (qualities such as ‘size over nutrition’ and short harvest periods.

  8. Tina  Says:

    So all the time we are told to buy dried chickpeas and sprout them for better nutrition – they are less nutritionally valuable to begin with? “size over nutrition” stated above.

  9. Doug  Says:

    I’ve tried looking for chickpea seeds but can’t find them listed in any seed catalogs.

    Where can I purchase them?

  10. Rob  Says:

    Did you know that you can buy (organic) chickpeas at most food stores if they have a bulk section??

    I buy organic ones from Whole Foods and PCC here in Seattle at a fraction of the cost of buying them from a company that sells seeds. The organic ones have no chemicals etc. to interfere with sprouting. In addition to the lower cost, you can buy the exact number of chickpeas that you want.

    Try it, you can also do this for Kidney beans, lentils etc. Good Luck!

  11. Nancy  Says:

    Puerto Ricans eat avariety of beans, chick peas are one of our favorites. We buy them at the grocery store in small bags, soak overnight and cook in water and samall amount of salt. After cooked and cool, we put them in our toss salads, or we make them in a tomato and spice sauce, and eat them over white rice.

    I just planted some seedlings, and I am looking forward to harvesting them. I live on the nature coast of Florida, and I am
    hoping it would not be too hot for them

  12. John  Says:

    ” The organic ones have no chemicals etc. to interfere with sprouting.”

    You are aware that organic foods can, and do, have chemicals used on them (even insecticides), right?

    They are just limited to natural chemicals and not man-made…some natural chemicals are just as harmful to people as man-made…

  13. John  Says:

    Hi I live in jhb SA has anyone grown chickpeas would love some advice and help supplier etc

  14. carl cassar  Says:

    on the island of Malta they grow chick peace to eat while green and not cooked 20/9/15

  15. IT2AGRI  Says:

    For Brown chickpeas, its good to soak them overnight and have them wrapped in wet towel to get some sprouts before you plant them

  16. LUCY HAHN  Says:

    How can i grow chickpeas in kenya nairobi area?

  17. Mike  Says:

    Actually organic insecticides are not harmful to consumers because they degrade over a short time. They also do not harm the environment. Organic compounds have the potential of being harmful to the farmer in the field if not handled properly but not to the public.

  18. orlando  Says:

    Can they be planted in a hot weather at 80 degress in a sunny place.


  19. Pethu Serote  Says:

    I am experimenting with growing chickpeas in Cape Town this year. Not many plants have come out from the seeds (bought from the supermarket as sprouts for salad) but those that did defied my experience of growing peas. I’ll give an update when I get something (fruit/veg) from the plants.
    p/s. I love chickpeas and have always wondered what they would taste like fresh from the garden

  20. Steven Ripple  Says:

    No need to start indoors, these can be planted way before the last frost, like peas. And they don’t particularly like transplanting either. Actually it’s necessary to plant these in cool weather, about a month before the last frost, or they will not do well. In sub-tropical or near to these areas these can be a winter to spring crop. They hate summer rains too – so they won’t do well in humid summer regions without a way to keep the excess rain off – best not to even try.

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