Where do chickpeas grow?


Revised October, 2018.


Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, (Cicer arientinum) belong to the legume family, which includes a variety of beans, peanuts, soybeans and lentils. Although the common chickpea in the market is tan or beige, there are also yellow, red, dark green or brown varieties. The two main varieties of chickpeas are the large, light-seeded kabuli type, referred to as garbanzo beans, and the small, dark-seeded desi type.
Chickpeas are native to the Mediterranean region and are a major ingredient of many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian dishes, such as hummus, falafels and Indian curries. Growth in domestic demand for chickpea-containing products have helped to support prices and expand growth in production.

Chickpeas offer specific benefits to a healthy diet. A one cup serving of chickpeas provides 29 percent of the daily value of protein and 49 percent of the daily value of fiber. They also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate.


Nearly all domestic pulse crop (grain legume) production is marketed through processors, with about 20 percent of production contracted and the majority (80 percent) sold on the cash market. Chickpeas take many forms as food items. In North America, most kabuli chickpeas are marketed as canned chickpeas for salads. They are also marketed as dry chickpeas and ground flour for baking purposes.


In 2017, approximately 69 million cwt of chickpeas were produced in the U.S. on approximately 6.2 million acres, yielding an average of approximately 1,152 pounds per acre. Total U.S. acreage of chickpeas planted was up 53 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Chickpeas are grown primarily in Montana (35 percent of total production), Washington (32 percent), Idaho (19 percent), and North Dakota (7 percent). Washington leads the nation in the production of large kabuli chickpeas and small desi chickpeas. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) figures, India is the world’s largest producer of chickpeas, followed by Australia and Pakistan.


In recent years, the pricing of chickpea has been calculated according to a three-tiered pricing schedule based on seed size. According to the USDA ERS, the season-average price for chickpeas was $3.08 per pound in 2017.


The economic viability of a specialty crop such as chickpea will ultimately depend on several factors such as market development, contract and seed pricing, and production capability.


New: Enterprise Budget for Vegetables, Iowa State University Farm Food and Enterprise Development

Crop Production 2017 Summary USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

Vegetables and Pulses Outlook (2017)

Chickpea Production in the High Plains (South Dakota State University, University of Wyoming, and University of Nebraska)

Chickpea Production Guide Dryland (Oregon State University, 2004)

Chickpea Production, Montana State University Extension

Processing Information and Technical Manual

Chickpea Varieties

Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum), like all pulses, are members of the subfamily Faboideae of the family Fabaceae. Thought to have been first grown in Mesopotamia up to 7,500 years ago, chickpeas are considered one of the earliest cultivated vegetables on Earth. Chickpeas are divided into two types: Desi and Kabuli. The classification is based on seed size, color, and the thickness and shape of the seed coat. Desi types tend to be smaller, angular seeds with thick seed coats that range in color from light tan and speckled to solid black. If intended for human food, they require a specialized seed coat removal process. Decortication requires adjusting the moisture level of the seeds to facilitate the mechanical removal of the thick seed coat, after which the seeds resemble a small yellow pea. Kabuli types, also known as garbanzo beans in the U.S., have larger seeds with paper-thin seed coats that range in color from white to pale cream to tan.

Chickpea plants stand erect and resemble a bush with primary, secondary, and tertiary branching. They flower profusely and have an indeterminate growth habit, continuing to flower and set pods as long as conditions support it. Pods appear on the primary and secondary branches and on the main stem, with each of the individual round pods generally containing one seed in Kabuli types and often two seeds in Desi types.

Chickpeas tend to grow best in fertile sandy, loam soils with good internal drainage. They are a cool season annual crop performing best in 70 to 80 ° Fahrenheit (21 to 26 ° Celsius) daytime temperatures and 64 to 70 ° Fahrenheit (17 to 21 ° Celsius) night temperatures. Because of their deep tap root system, they can endure drought conditions by extracting water from deeper in the soil. Chickpeas generally mature in 120 days.

Use of Chickpeas

Chickpeas are consumed mostly as a dry pulse crop. They are one of the most popular vegetarian foods in the world and can be prepared in a variety of ways for an almost limitless range of dishes. Mature chickpeas can be cooked and eaten cold in salads, cooked in stews, ground into flour, ground and shaped into balls and fried (falafel), stirred into a batter and baked (farinata), cooked and ground into a paste (hummus), or roasted, spiced, and eaten as a snack. Unripe chickpeas are often picked out of the pod and eaten raw, while the leaves are used as a green vegetable in salads. In the Philippines, chickpeas are preserved in syrup and enjoyed as sweets and in desserts. They can even be fermented into an alcoholic drink similar to sake or ground, roasted, and brewed as a coffee substitute.

In North America, most Kabuli chickpeas are marketed as canned chickpeas for salads at home or in restaurant salad bars. They are also marketed as dry chickpeas and flour for baking purposes. Other common uses in the U.S. include as an ingredient in soups and stews and as part of vegetable combinations. Hummus, a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, has also become a major product in the U.S. in recent years. About 90 % of chickpeas, the majority of which are Desi types, are consumed in India. Decorticated Desi chickpeas are commonly processed into South Asian food products.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The rising popularity of hummus across the nation has been good for farmers like Aaron Flansburg.

Flansburg, who farms 1,900 acres amid the rolling hills of southeastern Washington, has been increasing the amount of the chickpeas used to make hummus by about one-third each year to take advantage of good prices and demand.

“I hope that consumption keeps increasing,” he said.

Lawmakers in the nation’s capital hope so, too. The new federal Farm Bill contains two provisions that are intended to boost consumption of chickpeas even more, along with their companion, so-called pulse crops peas and lentils.

Acreage devoted to chickpeas has exploded in the past decade in Washington and Idaho, which grow some two-thirds of the nation’s supply. Chickpeas require little water, and that’s a major plus in the dry region, Flansburg said.

“They work pretty well in our region,” he said.

In the Palouse region, which straddles both states, there are more than 150,000 acres producing chickpeas today, up from about 12,000 acres in 2000, said Todd Scholz of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, the trade group for the nation’s growers.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are also grown in California, Montana, North Dakota and other states, he said.

Historically, about 70 percent of the chickpea crop in this region was exported each year, Flansburg said. But that has changed because of the rising domestic demand for hummus, he said.

“That’s a good thing to have that balance,” he said.

The majority of the nation’s supply is consumed domestically, mostly in the form of hummus, Scholz said.

Farmers are currently getting about 28 to 30 cents a pound for chickpeas, which is an average price for recent years, Flansburg said. He’s seen prices top 50 cents per pound, but a big crop in India this year has pushed prices down a bit, he said.

Flansburg doesn’t expect to expand chickpea production much more. He also produces high-value dry peas and lentils.

Hummus, once an exotic Middle Eastern food that was hard to find, is now sold in grocery stores, big and small. Often used by the health-conscious as a dip or spread, it can now be found in about 20 percent of the nation’s households, Scholz said.

That leaves plenty more room for growth, he said.

For instance, hummus is in about 98 percent of households in Israel, he said.

Retail sales of hummus increased to $250 million in 2013, up from $192 million in 2007 and just $5 million in 1997, said U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who helped push the Farm Bill provisions on chickpeas.

It should get even more popular as school children are introduced to the food, she said. The bill includes a pilot program in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $10 million over five years to purchase pulse crops to use in school breakfasts and lunches.

Pulse crops are cheap, and loaded with protein, fiber and other nutrients, Scholz said. Flours made from pulse crops can be added to breads, tortillas and pastas to enhance their nutritional value.

Mead High School near Spokane serves garbanzo beans, lentils and hummus as part of school meals. “They are a less expensive protein source so it stretches our dollars,” said Kim Elkins, Mead School District nutrition director.

Cantwell said the growth of the chickpea market will also help bring more jobs to Washington state.

The state’s pulse crop industry employs an estimated 5,000 people in processing, growing or moving the crops, Cantwell said. Eastern Washington has about 1,000 farm families and 22 processors working in pulse crops.

The Farm Bill also provides $25 million per year over five years to study the health benefits of pulse crops.

Once those health benefits are established, the trade group said Washington state would double the acreage devoted to dry peas, lentils and chickpeas over the next decade.

Pulse crops have been around since biblical times, said Kim Murray, a Montana grower and group’s chair.

“In this day and age, we need scientific research and human studies to quantify just how healthy these crops promise to be,” she said.

What are the benefits of chickpeas?

Share on PinterestThe protein in chickpeas may be beneficial for skin health.

Chickpeas contain a range of nutrients, including protein, which is necessary for bone, muscle, and skin health.

For people who are cutting down on meat consumption, a dish of chickpeas and rice, for example, can contribute a significant amount of protein to the diet. A cup of chickpeas provides almost one-third of an adult’s daily protein needs.

The nutrients in chickpeas may also help prevent a number of health conditions.


One cup of chickpeas, weighing 164 grams (g), provides 12.5 g of fiber.

Fiber may benefit people with diabetes, and the American Diabetes Association recommend chickpeas as a source of dietary fiber.

A 2014 study concluded that eating at least 30 g of fiber per day could help reduce inflammation in people with type 1 diabetes.

A 2018 review of meta-analyses found that a high fiber diet may help lower blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume 25.2–28.0 g of fiber a day, depending on age and sex.

Chickpeas can play a role in a healthful diabetes meal plan. See our 7-day plan here.

Bone health

The iron, calcium, and other nutrients in chickpeas can all contribute to healthy bone structure and strength. Chickpeas can play a role in the diet of people who want to prevent osteoporosis.

Blood pressure

To prevent high blood pressure, experts recommend limiting the intake of added sodium, or salt, and increasing the intake of potassium.

Current guidelines recommend that adults consume at least 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day.

A cup of chickpeas, weighing 164 g, provides 474 mg of potassium.

People who use canned chickpeas should check how much sodium the manufacturers have added. Cooking with dry chickpeas can help limit the amount of salt in a meal.

Adults should keep their sodium intake below 2,300 mg per day, while people aged 51 or over and those with risk factors for cardiovascular disease should consume less than 1,500 mg per day.

Which other foods could help manage blood pressure? Find out here.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium in chickpeas all support heart health.

Fiber helps decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Chickpeas contain no cholesterol.

Here, learn more about foods that support a healthy heart.


Free radicals are toxic substances that accumulate in the body, as a result of metabolism and other factors. As these toxins build up, they can damage cells and lead to a variety of health problems, including cancer.

Antioxidants help the body remove free radicals, and the selenium and beta carotene in chickpeas act as antioxidants.

A cup of chickpeas contains 6.1 micrograms (mcg) of selenium. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) recommend that adults consume 55 mcg of selenium a day. They also note that selenium’s antioxidant activity may help protect the body from cancer.

In addition, there is evidence that fiber, which chickpeas contain, can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Can a person’s diet help prevent breast cancer? Find out here.


A small 2006 study found that participants had less low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol in their blood when they ate a diet with added chickpeas, compared with a diet with added wheat, for 5 weeks.

The researchers noted that the fiber in chickpeas may be responsible for the reduction in LDL cholesterol.

Which foods should you choose or avoid when managing cholesterol? Find out here.

Mental health

A cup of chickpeas contains 69.7 mg of choline, which helps with brain and nervous system function. Choline plays a role in mood, muscle control, learning, and memory, as well as the body’s metabolism.

The ODS recommend that adults consume 400–550 mg of choline a day, depending on sex and whether they are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Some research suggests that a selenium deficiency may increase the risk of cognitive decline in older people. This would imply that selenium can support cognitive health, including memory and thinking.

Can dietary choices have an impact on depression? Find out here.

Digestion and regularity

Fiber helps keep the digestive tract healthy and promotes regularity. Chickpeas are a good source of fiber.

Weight management and satiety

Dietary fibers function as bulking agents in the digestive system. Bulking agents increase the feeling of fullness after eating, and protein has the same effect.

Feeling fuller for longer after eating can help reduce the appetite and lower a person’s caloric intake.

Find some more tips on losing weight here.


Without iron, the body cannot deliver oxygen to its cells, and this can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include weakness and tiredness. In severe cases, life threatening complications can arise.

A cup of chickpeas contains 4.7 mg of iron, or between a half and one-fifth of a person’s daily requirement, depending on the individual. It also provides some vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron.

Here, find some dietary tips and meal plans to help deal with iron deficiency.


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This Italian vegan garbanzo bean soup is perfect for chilly fall days. It’s super easy to make and packed with flavor and nutrients. Ready in only 30 minutes!

Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are definitely among my favorite foods. We have them at least twice a week and I love using them for all sorts of curries, pasta, and spreads. And hummus of course! This time, I made an Italian vegan garbanzo bean soup with tomatoes, carrots, celery, fennel, spinach, and lots of fresh parsley. This vegan soup is not only packed with flavor but it’s also super healthy and easy to make. I usually don’t eat soups in the summer, but I could really imagine eating this Italian chickpea tomato soup in the warmer seasons as well. But of course, it’s also a great flu fighter for colder fall days. I just love Italian food and its abundance of fresh veggies!

When I first tried hummus, I wasn’t exactly sure if I liked it or not. I must admit I wasn’t overly crazy about it and I didn’t get why so many people loved chickpeas. It wasn’t until years later that I gave it another try and made some at home and all of a sudden I couldn’t get enough of it anymore! It was so much better than the store-bought hummus I first tried! Garbanzo beans really have become a staple in my diet since then. Like most legumes, they’re a great source of protein and fiber and contain many important vitamins and minerals. Roasted chickpeas are also a great snack for lazy movie nights. Just put them on a baking sheet, season them with your favorite spices, and snuggle up on the couch. So, I mean what is there not to love about chickpeas?!

The Italian vegan garbanzo bean soup comes together in only 30 minutes and it’s a great make-ahead dinner. I always think that soups are better the day after because then their flavor is even stronger. First, cut the onion, the carrots, the celery, and the fennel into medium-sized chunks. Heat some olive oil in a large pot and sauté the onion and some garlic for a couple of minutes. Then add the veggies except for the chickpeas, spinach, and the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Stir in a can of diced tomatoes, the chickpeas, and three cups of vegetable broth. Cook for about 15 minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and the spinach and season with fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. We enjoyed the soup together with some whole wheat bread.

It’s already getting really cold here, so I can’t get enough of soups and hearty stews. If you give this vegan chickpea soup a try, let me know how you liked it. As always, I love hearing from you guys!

Hope you all have a great and relaxed weekend! Talk to you soon! xx

Italian Vegan Garbanzo Bean Soup

This Italian vegan garbanzo bean soup is perfect for chilly fall days. It’s super easy to make and packed with flavor and nutrients. 5 from 8 votes Pin Course: Main Dish, Soup Cuisine: Italian Prep Time: 8 mins Cook Time: 22 mins Total Time: 30 mins Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into medium-sized chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
  • 1 15,5 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 14, 5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • about 15 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
  • 2 hand full of fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion for about 3 minutes. Then add the garlic, the carrots, the celery, and the fennel. Cook for about 4 minutes.
  • Stir in a can of diced tomatoes, the chickpeas, and three cups of vegetable broth. Cook for about 15 minutes. Then add the cherry tomatoes and the spinach and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with fresh parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Tried this recipe?Mention @_veganheaven_ or tag #veganheaven! Rate the recipe!If you like this recipe, please leave a good rating! This will help other readers.

The chickpea or garbanzo bean is a cool-season annual that requires about 100 days to reach harvest. Sow chickpeas in the garden about the date of the average last frost in spring or slightly earlier. Chickpeas require a long growing season; to get a head start on the season, sow chickpeas indoors in a peat or paper pot several weeks before transplanting out. Set the chickpea and biodegradable pot whole in the garden when the plant is 4 to 5 inches tall.

Description. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans and gram, are regarded as beans, but botanically are neither beans nor peas. The chickpea is a tender annual legume, a bushy plant that grows to about 18 inches tall and has pairs of dark green, compound leaflets that look like vetch. Chickpeas have swollen, oblong pods to about 1 inch long and nearly as wide that contain one or two large, cream-colored, pea-like seeds each. Flowers may be white or violet colored depending on the variety.

Yield. Grow 4 to 8 chickpeas plants per each household member.

The chickpea is a cool-season annual that requires 100 or so days to reach harvest.

Planting Chickpeas

Site. Plant chickpeas in full sun. Chickpeas will grow in partial shade but the yield will be reduced. Grow chickpeas in loose, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of planting. Avoid planting chickpeas where green manures have just grown or in soil high in nitrogen; this will result in green leafy growth, not seed production. Add potassium and phosphorus to the soil.

Planting time. The chickpea is a cool-season annual that requires 100 or so days to reach harvest. Chickpeas are frost tolerant but grow best where daytime temperatures range between 70 and 80º and where night time temperatures do not dip below 65ºF. Sow chickpeas in the garden as early as 2 ro 3 weeks before the average last frost in spring. Chickpeas require a long growing season; to get a head start on the season, sow chickpeas indoors in a peat or paper pot and transplant the pot and plant whole to the garden when the plants are 3 to 4 inches tall.

Planting and spacing. Sow chickpeas 1½ to 2 inches deep, spaced 3 to 6 inches apart. Thin successful plants to 6 inches apart; cutaway thinned plants at soil level with scissors so as not to disturb roots. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Do not soak seed before sowing and avoid heavy watering after sowing to keep seeds from cracking. Chickpeas allowed to grow a bit crowded will offer each other support.

Companion plants. Potatoes, cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery, summer savory. Do not plant chickpeas with garlic.

Container growing. Chickpeas can be grown in containers 8 inches deep, the space required for a useable crop makes chickpeas a poor choice for container growing.

Chickpea Care

Water and feeding. Keep planting beds evenly moist until chickpeas have pushed through the soil. Water regularly during flowering and pod formation. Avoid overhead watering which can cause flowers and pods to fall off. Mulch when the weather warms to conserve soil moisture. Add aged compost to planting beds in advance of planting. Side dress chickpeas with aged compost at midseason. Avoid adding nitrogen-rich fertilizers to planting beds. Chickpeas, like other legumes, set up a mutual exchange with soil microorganisms called nitrogen-fixing bacteria to produce nitrogen compounds used by the plant.

Care. Avoid handling chickpeas when they are wet or covered with heavy dew; this may spread fungus spores. Keep planting beds weed-free but cultivate around chickpeas carefully so as not to disturb the plant’s shallow root system. Rotate chickpeas and other legumes to add nitrogen to the soil.

Pests. Chickpeas can be attacked by aphids, bean beetles, flea beetles, leafhoppers and mites. Aphids, leafhoppers, and mites can be sprayed away with a blast of water from the hose or controlled with insecticidal soap. Look for eggs and infestations and crush them between your fingers and thumb. Pinch out and remove large infestations. Aphids can spread bean mosaic virus. Keep the garden clean and free of debris so that pests can not harbor or over-winter in the garden.

Diseases. Chickpeas are susceptible to blight, mosaic, and anthracnose. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Keep the garden clean and free of debris. Avoid handling plants when they are wet so as not to spread fungal spores. Removed diseased plants; put them in a paper bag and throw them away. Chickpeas are susceptible to many soil-borne diseases; rotating beans so that they do not grow in the same location more than every three years will reduce soil-borne diseases.

Harvesting and Storing Chickpeas

Harvest. Chickpeas will be ready for harvest about 100 days after planting. Chickpeas for fresh eating can be picked when pods are still immature and green; they can be eaten like snap beans. For dried chickpeas, harvest the entire plant when the leaves have withered and turned brown; place the plant on a flat, warm surface and allow the pods to dry. Collect the seed as the pods split. Seeds that will barely dent when bitten are sufficiently dry.

Storing and preserving. Unshelled chickpeas will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. Dried, shelled chickpeas will keep in a cool, dry place for up to a year. Chickpeas can be frozen, canned, or sprouted.

Chickpea Varieties to Grow

Varieties. ‘Chickpea’; ‘Garbanzo’; ‘Gram’; ‘Kabuli Black’.

Common name. Chickpea, garbanzo, gram

Botanical name. Cicer arietinum

Origin. Southern Europe and India


Grow chickpeas as a garden vegetable, as a cover crop, or for sprouting seeds. To produce mature chickpeas, just follow these simple directions.

Cicer arietinum
Family: Fabaceae

Moderately easy

Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full-sun
Zone: 3 and warmer

Chickpeas require 90-100 days to mature. Start them indoors approximately 4 weeks before the last average frost date. Optimal soil temperature: 10°C (50°F). Seeds sprout in 14-21 days depending on conditions.

Avoid disturbing the roots. Sow seeds 1cm (1/2”) deep, one seed per cell or in peat/coir/paper pots that can be transplanted into the ground. Do not soak the seeds prior to planting.

Ideal pH: 6.0-8.0. Transplant when the seedlings are at least 10cm (4”) tall, taking care to leave the roots undisturbed. Grow in full sun in rich soil with good moisture retention. Space plants 15cm (6”) apart – they will eventually support one another. The plants have shallow root systems that are easily damaged by cultivation, so take care to hand weed around plants as they establish. Avoid overhead watering.

Use fresh pods when they are still green. For dry seeds, wait until the plants turn brown and then allow them to dry completely on a flat surface. Harvest the seeds as the pods split when completely dry.

Seed Info
In optimum conditions at least 65% of seeds will germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100’ row: 200 seeds, per acre: 100M seeds.

Companion Planting
Chickpeas fix nitrogen in the soil. Plant with beets, Brassicas, carrots, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant, peas, potatoes, radish, and strawberries. Avoid planting near chives, garlic, leeks, and onions.

More on Companion Planting.

Growing Chickpea

See the Victorian Winter Crop Summary for an up to date guide to faba bean varieties and last season’s yield results.

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is a pulse crop with nitrogen sparing characteristics. It is susceptible to ascochyta blight and botryitis grey mould, therefore, it is recommended to all growers to use fungicide seed dressing before sowing.

Sowing will vary between varieties, but can commence as early as mid May to the start of July.

Chickpeas are a rotation crop, suited to a sequence with cereals and canola. Allow a minimum of four years between chickpea crops in the same paddock to minimise the risk of ascochyta blight and root lesion nematode problems.

Chickpeas are poor competitors with weeds during their slow early growth stage, therefore it is highly recommended to implement good broad leaf weed control in the previous year’s crop. Once established they are an excellent break crop from diseases, weeds and pests.


Chickpea crops are best suited to well-drained loam and clay loam soils that are neutral to alkaline (pH 6.0 to 9.0) and have good water holding capacity. For sowing ideally 40 – 50 plants per square meter is desirable for the Desi varieties, and for Kabuli varieties 25 – 35 plants per square meter should be the target.

Seeding rate (kg/ha) = Plant density (plants/m2) x 100 seed weight (g) x 10 ÷ Germination percentage


Chickpea varieties vary with their rainfall requirements, plants will tolerate frosts during the vegetative stage, but once flowering, frosts, if severe enough can cause flower drop. Chickpeas prefer warmer growing conditions; average temperatures below 15º C will reduce pollen viability and can cause flower drop, and average temperatures over 35º C will lower the potential yield and cause possible flower abortion. Therefore timing of sowing is very important for high yield harvests.


Chickpeas require phosphorous, sulphur, nitrogen and zinc for successful production. When planning applications it is best to know the paddocks soil pH & fertiliser history. Consult with your agronomist and/or have a soil test undertaken for these nutrients.


Red-legged earthmite (Halotydeus destructor) is a black-bodied mite with red legs; it damages seedlings as they emerge.

Cowpea aphid (Aphis craccivora). Moisture stressed crops are susceptible to aphid infestation, especially when the atmosphere is dry and when warm weather occurs in autumn and spring.

Lucerne flea (Sminthurus viridis) is a small (2.5 mm), wingless, light green hopping insect. It chews through leaves in layers resulting in “window-pane” like holes.

Native budworm (Helicoverpa punctigera). The caterpillar damages maturing seed in pods during the flowering and podding stage of plant growth.


Ascochyta blight (Ascochyta rabiei) is a serious problem in chickpeas, causing black lesions on the stem and the wilting of plants. Variety selection, seed treatment and fungicide sprays are important management practices.

Botrytis grey mould (Botrytis cinerea) is a serious disease of chickpeas in southern Australia. It attacks the base of the stem and the collar region of young plants, where a soft rot develops and then becomes covered with a fluffy grey mould, infected seed is white and chalky in appearance.

Phoma is a seed-borne infection that results in black-brown discolouration of the root near where the seed is attached. Blackening may spread up the root and cause lesions at the base of the stem. Black lesions may completely girdle the base of the stem and root where infection is severe.

See the Victorian Winter Crop Summary for the latest Chickpea disease resistance table.


Ascochyta blight is caused by the fungal pathogen Ascochyta rabiel, and needs moisture, such as rain drops to spread spores. A widespread occurrence in 1998 destroyed many crops, since then much research and breeding has focused on creating more resistant varieties.

The disease spreads during cool and wet conditions and is often first sighted in late winter. Initial signs include pale water soaked marks on the leaves, then transition to black spots (pycnidia), if the blight is severe enough the infection causes the leaf to blacken and dry up suddenly.

Blight in the stem of the plant present as an elongated lesion, in severe cases it causes the stem to break-off. There are many management options against this disease, they include choosing a variety with resistance to the disease, using seed with no ascochyta blight history or treating the seed with a registered seed dressing for Chickpeas.

Have a buffer of at least 500m from last years effected crop and this years sowing, and undertake a strategic spraying program during growing times.

Finally, clean machinery after use to remove spores.

For more information see AG1186 Ascochyta Blight of Chickpea


Timing is critical when harvesting chickpeas, moisture content should be around 13 per cent, any lower will risk seed cracking/shattering. Closed or open front headers can be used to harvest the seed but attention to the correct settings is vital (see your agronomist).

Further References

  • DEDJTR’s Victorian Winter Crop Summary for the latest varieties and yields.
  • Pulse Australia website
  • Carter J (1999) Chickpea Growers Guide: A Guide to the Production of Chickpeas (Agriculture Victoria -Horsham), (ISBN 0 7311 4479 1).
  • Wayne Hawthorne, Pulse Australia, Naracoorte, SA and Wendy Bedggood, DPI Horsham, Vic.: Chickpea for SA & Victoria, PDF 735kb, Pulse Australia & GRDC

You Can Grow Chickpeas!

Chickpeas come in easy-to-peel pods.

Chickpeas growing in a 3′ x 6′ raised bed

When I heard that the United Nations named 2016 the International Year of Pulses, it motivated me to grow pulses, but first I had to learn what pulses were.

Pulses are a type of leguminous crop that are harvested for their dry seed. Examples include dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas.

They are packed with nutrients and have a high protein content, are low in fat and rich in fiber. They also enrich the soil, are water efficient, don’t need much fertilizer, and can be stored for long periods of time. In other words, they are great crops to feed the world! I wanted to be a part of it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Finding seeds

I wasn’t able to find a packet of chickpea seeds, so I used the seeds from a package of Garbanzo Beans Sprouts from Botanical Interests. I sowed the seeds in a raised bed in late spring, right around the time of our last frost date. Before sowing, I amended the soil with our granular organic fertilizer. You may read other posts that say they need a long growing season, but don’t let that stop you. Our season is short here in northern Vermont, and the plants had plenty of time to grow.

Separating chickpeas from the papery shells is easy

Planting and harvest

The seeds germinated easily and the plants grew well with little more than sunshine, occasional watering and admiration. They did not need staking and had pretty little white flowers in spring that turned into cute green pods throughout the summer. The peas inside are tender and edible, and taste a bit like edamame. Because I wanted to save most of them for dried chickpeas, I tried not to eat them all.

By late summer, the plants began to turn brown and dry out — this is supposed to happen. After a few weeks of dying back in the garden, I harvested the plants by cutting them off at the soil line, and brought them inside to dry out completely. It’s easy to strip the dried pods from the branches and open the husks to reveal the little treasures. It is a bit time consuming, so I enlisted the help of two coworkers, and we had fun while we chatted and peeled.

From a 3’x 6′ raised bed, I got about 3 cups of dried chickpeas, which need to be soaked before cooking. Not a huge harvest, but enough to add to a few delicious soups or to make fresh hummus this winter. Plus, the joy of saying, “I grew these myself” makes it all worth it.


Did you know?

All of Canada’s prairie provinces have the right soil and climate to grow pulse products but right here in Saskatchewan, we grow more than 80% of all Canadian grown chickpeas! To give you an idea of how much that really is, in 2015 alone Canada exported 6 million tonnes of pulses worth more than $4.2 billion!!!

So here at Three Farmers we often get asked about how we manage to handle the challenges faced in farming and handle them in a sustainable manner. Read a bit more here in the blog and then subscribe to our newsletter; each month we try to share a tidbit from our farmers – which is usually an interesting in field perspective of farming in Saskatchewan!

Why are chickpeas beneficial to Canadian farmland?

Growing a polyculture of crops (intercropping) is a very difficult technique and so most farmers use direct seeding and crop rotation to maintain the soil’s health. Proper crop rotations help maintain the health of our soils. Introducing pulses to a crop rotation is very beneficial as pulse crops leave behind nitrogen residues to sustain future crops grown in the same soil.

Pulses such as chickpeas have an extremely low water footprint. They grow in dry land agriculture and utilize very little water compared to traditional crops such as wheat. They also utilize the shallow water in the soil, leaving deeper water reserves for future crops grown in the crop rotation.

What are some challenges of growing chickpeas in Canada?

Chickpeas can be extremely difficult to grow due to climate and excessive moisture can cause problems for chickpea plants. Chickpeas are highly susceptible to a disease called Ascochyta Blight. This disease can completely destroy up to 90% of a kabuli crop. Symptoms include tan/brown lesions on the stem of the plant which causes the plant to wilt and die.

These lesions can ooze spores in wet and humid conditions. Rainfall causes these spores to spread, as does wind. If the weather takes a turn and becomes warm and dry, there is a chance the plants will survive however the plant will be delayed in maturity and yield will decrease.

Pest Management:

A good pest management program is crucial for managing chickpea crops. Some of the actions that our farmers take to ward off disease include:

  • Proper Crop Rotation – 3 to 4 year crop rotations with cereal crops in between planting chickpea crops is vital as is field placement which means not planting chickpeas in an adjacent field the following year.
  • Inter cropping – intercropping (the practice of seeding more than one crop in a field) helps limit the spread of disease as placement of the chickpea plants will be further apart.
  • Scouting – this requires frequent crop checking beginning 2 to 3 weeks after seeding and continuing every few days through the seedling stage. Rainfall causes our farmers to increase their scouting routine to ensure they catch any early warning signs of disease. Imagine scouting your garden for disease except this is football fields upon football fields in size!


In some cases, if Ascochyta Blight is detected, in order to save the crop from 90% failure, a curative fungicide will be applied to ward off the spread of the disease and aid in the production of a healthy chickpea crop. Timing is extremely important in catching and preventing disease.

How are chickpeas harvested?

Chickpeas are typically straight cut, meaning they are not swathed before combining. Timing is very important when harvesting chickpeas. An over ripened crop can lead to decrease in yield while harvesting a crop too young may lead to increased chance of green seed in the crop which yields a lower grade.

How to Grow Chickpeas

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.

  1. William Ginn Says:
    January 11th, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    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:
    January 24th, 2013 at 12:58 am

    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:
    February 2nd, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve ordered chickpea seeds from Gourmet Seed.

  4. Lee in Iowa Says:
    March 2nd, 2013 at 8:20 am

    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:
    May 12th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    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:
    May 20th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    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:
    January 18th, 2015 at 11:34 am

    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:
    February 3rd, 2015 at 2:25 am

    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:
    March 8th, 2015 at 9:54 am

    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:
    March 22nd, 2015 at 1:03 am

    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:
    April 8th, 2015 at 9:45 am

    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:
    May 13th, 2015 at 10:40 am

    ” 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:
    July 17th, 2015 at 11:14 am

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

  14. carl cassar Says:
    September 20th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

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

  15. IT2AGRI Says:
    November 3rd, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    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:
    November 18th, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    How can i grow chickpeas in kenya nairobi area?

  17. Mike Says:
    November 30th, 2015 at 10:55 am

    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:
    February 1st, 2016 at 2:52 pm

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


  19. Pethu Serote Says:
    December 5th, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    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:
    March 11th, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    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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