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How To Plant Garbanzo Beans

I was thinking about what I could plant into the garden because I had an entire empty bed and realized I had never tried garbanzo beans before. Luckily I had an entire pound of them in my kitchen just ready and willing to be pressed into service. It’s actually easy to plant garbanzo beans and grow your own at home!

Garbanzo beans are a great source of protein and fiber. They can be quite versatile in cooking. Most often they are used for hummus or in soups and salads. If you really want to get adventurous you can make your own falafel too.

If you you’ve never had hummus before, it’s quite delicious, especially with homemade bread. Here’s a basic recipe from NC State Extension. You can grow your own garbanzo beans from dried grocery store beans, so feel free to grab a back and try making your own hummus as well as starting a few plants in your garden.

It's actually easy to plant garbanzo beans and grow your own at home! Garbanzo beans are a delicious homegrown protein.

How To Grow Garbanzo Beans

Garbanzo beans are a cool season plant, so in warm areas you will need to plant it in fall or early spring before it gets too hot. In cold areas you’ll want to plant them in the spring for a fall harvest. They do take 100 days to mature, so they are one of the longer growing crops. Ideally garbanzo beans prefer temperatures of about 70-80 degrees during day and 64-70 degrees at night during their growing season.

You can plant garbanzo beans out on the last frost date for your region.

Make sure you can plant early enough that the plant has time to dry at the end of the season before you harvest it. If you must, you can transplant them, but they do better directly planted into the garden. They also don’t grow well in pots, unfortunately.

Garbanzo beans are a legume, but they’ll grow better if you do not soak the beans before you plant them. They could benefit from inoculation with the Rhizobium bacteria however. This will increase your harvest. They’re also nitrogen fixers. This means they can get the nitrogen they need to grow through the air by nodules that form with Rhizobium bacteria. Also once the plants breaks down into the soil it becomes available for other crops. As nitrogen fixers, garbanzo beans are good cover crops.

Plant garbanzo beans 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart.

They are happy planted that close together as the plants will support each other. You can go farther apart, but they don’t produce any better with larger spacing, so save the space for something else too!

They grow well near cucumbers, corn, strawberries, celery and celery. Avoid planting them near potatoes as they can share related diseases. They also don’t compete well with weeds, so don’t be like me and almost never weed the garden!

Keep the soil moist until they sprout, and then you can reduce watering to water one inch per week. Garbanzo beans don’t want to be in very wet areas and they prefer well draining soil. Because of this, if you live in an area that gets more than 30 inches of rain per year, this may not be the best crop for you. When you are watering, avoid top watering and aim for the base of the plant to prevent damage to the flowers or pods.

While the plans are maturing, they prefer 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.

If it’s too hot, like here in San Antonio, they will appreciate shade cloth in the afternoons. They also like to have good airflow and drainage, but do appreciate some mulch around their bases.

During the growing season treat for aphids if you notice any. If there are any signs of fungal disease, pull up and throw away any diseased plants. To prevent any fungal issues it’s a good idea to rotate where you plant garbanzo beans each year.

It’s time to harvest the dry seeds after the entire plant turns brown.

During the growing season the green pods can be eaten like snap peas, but if you want dried garbanzo beans you’ll need to wait. When you harvest cut the plants at the roots to harvest and leave the roots in the ground to break down for nutrients. Allow the pods to fully dry, and then remove the garbonzo beans from the pods.

The dried seeds will store well for a year, but don’t eat them all. Make sure you save some to plant again next year!

Cooking the beans so that they can be used in various recipes is super easy. Soak the beans overnight, and simply boil in water until they are soft enough to eat.

This is one of those super easy, very fun types of crop that not everyone grows, but are satisfying when you realize just how doable it is.

Sources:
NC Cooperative Extension: Try Garbanzo Beans!
MSU Extension: Chickpea Production
NDSU: Pulse Crop Production Field Guide for North Dakota
Corn Agronomy: Chickpea
Oregon State University: Chickpea Production Guide

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