Country Smallholding - - Ask The Experts -

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

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