DELICIOUS CHICKPEAS GROW WELL IN BRITAIN
Q Is it possible to grow chickpeas in the UK? A Sally Morgan says: Yes. Chickpeas come from the Mediterranean and beyond and so they like it warm and dry.
I have grown them for about three years and had a bumper crop this year as the weather was perfect for them. I sow the whiteskinned variety, Principe, which is supposed to taste better, but there is a darkskinned variety that is said to be better suited to more northerly climes. I have found voles and mice to be rather partial to the peas, so I pick them green rather than leave the pods to dry. Fresh green chickpeas are delicious, lightly boiled and used in salads or made into houmous.
Chickpeas thrive on well-drained soil in a sunny spot. Being a legume, you may need an appropriate inoculum, in the same way as clover, but I have not needed that. You can sow in modules as early as April, but don’t plant them out until the soil has warmed up and they can get established quickly. You can sow direct, too, making repeat sowings until June. The plants are quite large and they tend to sprawl, so space at 15cm, with 30cm between rows. If you are planning to harvest a dry seed, you need to allow 100 days or more
Chickpeas thrive on well-drained soil in a sunny spot and modules can be sown as early as April