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July 22, 2011

Grow chickpeas from a grocery store

I've been just a pantry sprouting queen lately. Everything I plant turns to green! The latest project was seeding chickpeas (garbanzo beans) from the grocery store bag. As usual, I buy store brand. I'm not even sure if they have a name brand beans in the store. But anyway, the project turned out very successful. I got myself some chickpeas in a bag:

Filled 16 ounce styrofoam cups with soil and let it moist from the bottom by placing the cups in the container filled with water up to two inches or so. Then when the soil felt moist on the top I placed one chickpea into each container about an inch deep:

About a week later all four seeds have sprouted:

The reason I planted chickpeas in the cups is to do a "controlled germination".  You usually do this to determine germination rates. Let's say you have some old seeds or some unknown seeds and you do not know how well they will germinate. You want to know germination rate before you commit effort and garden space to these seeds. So you would plant ten seeds and see how many germinate. Let's say seven germinated, then you know that your germination rate is seventy percent, and you take that number into account when you plant these seeds into the garden.

In my case with the chickpeas I had a hundred percent germination rate. I am comfortable seeding these beans into the garden. The only thing I would change is I would pre-soak the beans before planting. Just put the beans you want to plant into some container, cover with three inches of water and let sit for twelve hours. Garden conditions are not as perfect as styrofoam cup germination, so we want to give the seeds some heads up. Other than that, keep in mind seed spacing; for chickpeas it's about four inches all around. They grow lean and tall and do not spread out. I would not bother installing supports for them as they would most likely lean on each other. Give chickpeas a try!


  1. What's the best time of year to plant? I'm in Orlando.

  2. You can plant now, it's a cold season crop. It will take about 5 months to mature, so better get it in before frost.

    From my experience, plant thick (about 2 inches all around) and then thin to 4 or 6 inches, because ground germination is not a great as the container one, unless you want to plant just a few plants to try them out.

  3. It appears that garbanzo is a good Florida plant. Is there not an industry here for this legume?

  4. I'm not sure about the industry. It likes coolish weather and a lot of water. Not easy to grow, but worthwhile on a small scale.

  5. Fabulous! Wonder how your harvest turned out?

  6. Thanks for this, I wanted to try growing brown chickpeas from the Indian market and some regular ones too, but wasn't sure how they'd grow here in FL...having fun experimenting though!



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