What are chickpeas?
Short Herbaceous Annual
- chickpea is a short herbaceous annual, 20 to 70 cm tall (although some taller genotypes may exceed one meter under favorable conditions)
- chickpea has an extensive root system – the taproot often penetrates well below one metre
- the main stem gives rise to a variable number (up to seven) of primary branches near ground level
- depending on the angle of branches to the vertical main stem, growth habit ranges from near prostrate to erect – the primary branches and main stem produce a potentially large number of alternate secondary branches, with higher order branching rarely produced
- foliage is similar to vetches with small subdivided leaves from 4 to 7 cm long, with 10 to 15 leaflets
Purple Flowering Type
- chickpea flowering is indeterminate, extending to 60 days or more – single, small purple or white flowers are produced in axillary racemes and are highly self pollinated
- the fruit is an inflated pod containing between two and four ovules
Kabuli and Desi Chickpea Seed
- chickpea seed (depending on type) weighs from 200 to 500 gm per 1000 seeds – kabuli (garbanzo) seeds are much larger than desi seeds
- although seeds always possess the distinctive chickpea “beak” (radicle tip), they vary considerably in shape and colour:
- kabuli types have larger, more rounded cream-coloured seeds (their creamy white colour is associated with the absence of anthocyanin pigmentation in the foliage)
- desi types have relatively small, angular seeds with rough, usually yellow to brown seed coats
Where do chickpeas grow?
A relatively small pulse crop in Alberta, chickpeas are grown across the south eastern part of the province and exported to areas like Asia and the Middle East. With the right growing conditions and markets available, chickpeas can be a good fit for growers in Southeast Alberta.
Will chickpeas fit in my crop rotation?
Consider growing chickpeas if…
- You live in southeast Alberta with 110 to 120 frost-free days.
- You live in an area with high day and night-time temperatures.
- Your soil is medium-textured and loamy.
- Your fields have good drainage and low salinity.
- Your soil has a neutral to slightly alkaline pH of 7.0 to 8.0.
- You have high soil moisture and good pre-season soil moisture reserves.
With several chickpea varieties to choose from, chickpeas could be a good fit in your crop rotation. For more information on the varieties of pulse crops in Alberta, please see Alberta Agriculture’s Varieties of Pulse Crops for Alberta.