"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 23 February 2012

A different vegetable to harvest

Have you ever grown your own chickpeas (garbanzo beans)?  I had never thought of using any of my store cupboard seeds in my vegetable patch until last year.

Never having seen them available in a seed packet, the thought of growing my own never occurred to me, until I grew another batch of (food cupboard) organic chickpea seeds in my sprouting tower last year.  Seeing all those life-giving shoots appearing out of the seeds, I decided that I would take a couple of the chickpea sprouts and chuck them in some seedling soil.  Which I did.  When they started sprouting small leaves, I planted them in the old bath here in my town garden, and forgot about them.

This is the sight that greeted me in the garden a short while later:
Chickpea plant
As you can see chickpeas are quite a strange looking plant.  To me they almost resemble a fern.  They do not send out support tendrils, and their leaf structure is completely different to that of peas.  Finding the fruit can be quite difficult, as they seem to hide under the leaves.  I wonder if the plants would twirl themselves up a supporting fence?  Perhaps that would alleviate the apparent inherent shyness of the chickpea pods?
Chickpea pod on the plant
When you do manage to spot a chickpea pod on the plant, and harvest the fruit, do like I did - prise it open and pop it into your mouth - raw.  It is quite delicious!  The chickpea has a distinct pea taste, but is crisper and crunchier.

If you study a fresh chickpea it's appearance is very reminiscent of that of a brain.  No wonder they are so beneficial for us humans.
Fresh chickpeas
I will definitely be growing chickpeas next year, both for fresh consumption and to see if I can store them dry for the following winter.  Perhaps with the soil on the farm, I will manage to grow more than two (chick)peas in a pod :)
Empty egg shells I'm going to be planting seeds in
Now, 'scuse me, I need to go an plant up some broad (fava) beans and spring onions in the eggshells I've been saving :)

Oh - and by the way.  For those of you who have little ones, and you want to increase their appreciation, and intake of veggies, why not check out the idea's on this blog :)


Jody said...

Belle loves chick peas. She puts them on our salads. Do you think we could grow them in our Pennsylvania climate?

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I like chick peas, but that is one of those vegetables that takes too many resources for the small yield. But a great vegetable to grow for fun.

Dani said...

Jody - Sorry, I know nothing about the growing zones in the US of A, so I can't tell you whether you can grow them or not. Perhaps ask your local plant nursery.

Raw chickpeas are even nicer tasting than dried :)

Dani said...

Jane - I loved getting, and eating the fresh chick peas and I'm definitely going to try and grow them on the farm ;)

1st Man said...

That is totally fascinating! We love chickpeas. I love the look of the plant, so unlike any other garden plant. Might just have to try that out. Thanks!!

Humble wife said...

I had no idea!! I am in love with the plant and how cute the pod is! I have a feeling I am growing chickpeas this year!!


Sprouting/Vegetable Seeds said...

Thanks for the post. Will definitely have to try to grow chickpeas this year to experience the fresh crunchy taste.

Frogdancer said...

I tried growing these this year too!
About 6 plants came up and I've just noticed some pods on one of them.

Dani said...

SVS - Welcome :)

I reckon it's definitely worth the effort just to taste these babies :)

Dani said...

Frogdancer - The pods do hide away don't they. I suggest you let them get a little bigger and then have a taste - yummy :)

Dani said...

1st Man - You're welcome :)

Dani said...

Jennifer - T'is a very cute pod - completely different to peas. You don't get a huge harvest from the plant, nevertheless I reckon it's worth growing. The chickpeas are delicious!

quinn said...

I don't have the ground space to dedicate to something that produces such a small harvest, but I wonder how they would do as hanging plants...think I'll stick a few chickpeas in my window boxes this year, just for fun. Thanks for the info!

Dani said...

Quinn - You're welcome :) That would be interesting - please let me know how they do as hanging plants :)

Chants Cottage said...

Hello Dani, I read this post the other day with interest but kind of ruled chickpeas out in our climate (Devon, UK). However, this weekend I read this article by Alys Fowler, gardening expert of the Guardian (so-called broadsheet newspaper favoured by nice middle class lefties here in Britain, international friends...)


Definitely worth a try, I reckon... And Puy lentils too to boot!

Dani said...

Cc - Brilliant - am looking forward to see how you get on :)