Thursday, April 22, 2010


As a kid I hated chick peas or chi-chi beans as I used to call them.  My mother loved them in salads which we ate a lot of, unfortunately they were always from a can  and they all tasted like sand so I thought they were thoroughly disgusting.

Come to think of it, as a kid I found most everything disgusting although we always gardened and had mostly fresh, home grown, foods.  Lets just say my "food" as a child consisted of potatoes, meat, bread  and cheeses. I would do  nearly anything to get away from eating a veggie of any sort including push  things under the side of my plate, stuff the food in my mouth and have to go pee and of course feeding it to the dog sitting under my feet.I actually used these tricks until I was about 30 or so , no really I disliked veggies just that much that until I was very well in to adulthood I did not eat them.

Of course, throwing yourself headlong into full blown,  working toward sustainable  farming life (which is overwhelmingly vegetarian like), one needs to  learn to eat what they grow and learn to like it.  I think I have done quite well,  in fact there are just a few veggies that I do not like no matter how hard I try and swear I will NEVER eat. Garbanzos are not one of those foods. I have actually learned to quite like the lil jobbers, they don't taste like sand at all, are quite tasty, easy to prepare and good for you too.

I had intended to purchase a pack of garbanzo seed this spring to plant and try this year as an experimental, filler crop. Legumes are nearly always what I fill in with when I harvest a garden plot out and having nothing else to throw in.  Even if they don't produce any edibles they do add nitrogen  and other goodness naturally to the soil.  Unfortunately, I completely forgot to add the  beans and wild rice to my seed purchase  so i was thinking I would have to go without them this year and then I got to thinking. Would garbanzos from the grocery store sprout? I knew   from my own experience that most other beans grow just fine from the grocery.  While they may not be prolific  producers , they do indeed grow and make beans and if  you save seed from what you planted (other than soy, most beans in USA are not GMO but are often  hybrid) it will revert to what the mother plant was  which is typically an heirloom variety.

So, I looked a bit online to see if someone else had tried growing garbanzos from the store as I am certain that I am not the first person who has thought about growing them. While there is not much information out there, I did find hat they are a long season legume, over 100 days and that they are often an over winter cover crop and if they are not killed off during the winter the beans are just an added bonus. I also  found that in Central and South America they are often  ground into flour  and used  rather than eaten as a bean. They are considered a good bean for "sprouting" and eating  as a sprout.

 On a down side, they  seem to be very particular about moisture once the bean pods form. Anything I have found on them says  something like this. "The problem is the seeds are sensitive to moisture, and the pods offer  no protection whatsoever. Rain or would cause any ripe seed to rot or sprout, even if the pods had not yet dried. They need to be picked whenever rain threatens and thus the spoilage rate is high."  This is not good for us here. I had this problem last year with all our extra rain and many of our beans that we planted for consumption, not just an experiment we complete losses,  then again so was almost EVERYTHING last year.

I have sprouted some over this last week  and will be setting them in the ground over the next few days. If they seem to do well this summer, I may use  them this year instead of my typical and boring pinto beans or black eye peas. Last years I  tried lentils and did not have much luck, though  the plants grew they  didn't do much   of anything else. It will be fun and a learning experience no matter what they do  and I will  periodically do an update of how they are growing.

Fore more information on growing garbanzos  go here.

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