I decided to try growing garbanzo beans, also known as Chick Peas. These legumes are grown all over the world and used in a hundred different ways. And loving all things strange and unusual, I myself am strange and unusual, so I decided to grow the black variety. They also come in brown and beige. See the cute little guys in their pod?
This is after they were harvested and dried...but that's getting ahead of ourselves a bit...let's take a look at the plant itself.
This is a close up of the little flowers that develop along the frond-like leaves...I found this pic at the Journey Songs blog. You can also see the fuzzy pods that form along the stems. They stay small, no more than two in a pod, and are preceded by beautiful (tiny) purple-pink flowers.
Growing garbanzos is really quite easy. I direct sowed the seeds in spring in well drained, well amended soil. During the growing season, I fed them a couple of times with fish fertilizer. But mostly, I just watched them grow. It took about 90 days to reach full maturity, so start the beans early enough to reach harvest before cold temps set in. It is worth noting that I grew mine in part shade...though it was in a bed that received some full sun.
Once the pods reach maturity, the plants start to die. I left mine where they were until the pods were dried and the seeds were hard. Then we had a shelling party and removed the husks. Store them like you would other dried beans...they will last at least a year. But why wait that long to make black hummus??
If you are a gardener, you probably already know that legumes of any kind are nitrogen-fixing plants and actually improve the quality of your soil. In addition, the health benefits are absolutely outstanding:
- High in dietary fiber
- 90% of the RDA of Foliate
- High in Magnesium
Give these cute guys a chance in your garden...they are easy to grow and harvest...and they come in black! How many veggies can say that?