1. Agripedia

How to grow Chickpea?

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

The chickpea  (Cicer arietinum) is an annual legume of the family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboidae. They are also known by the name gram or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea. It is mainly consumed for its protein content. Chickpea was founded in the Middle East, 7500 years ago and is one of the pulses with high protein content.  

Chickpeas look a bit quirky, but these protein powerhouses have a wonderfully nutty taste and are nutritious to boot. Their fresh substitutes are best in flavor so it is better to skip the canned kind and grow your own. The plant of chickpea is bushy and grows up to 18 inches in length. It is a cool-season legume that grows best between 70-80 degrees during the day and needs 65-degree temperature at night. 

The height of the plant is 20–50 cm (8–20 inch)  and has small, feathery leaves on either side of the stem. It is a type of pulse, with one seedpod containing two or three peas. It has white flowers with blue, violet, or pink veins. 

Chickpea has wide range of varietal distribution, which includes Desi chana closely that has small, darker seeds and a rough coat. They are grown mostly in Pakistan, India and other parts of South Asia, as well as in Ethiopia, Mexico, and Iran Desi means 'country' or 'native' in Hindustani; its other names include kala chana ("black chickpea" in both Hindi and Urdu) or chholaa boot. Desi chana can be black, green or speckled. This variety is hulled and split to make chana dal. 

'Kabuli' chana are lighter-coloured, larger, and with a smoother coat, and are mainly grown in the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, Northern Africa, South America, and South Asia. The name means "from Kabul" in Hindi and Urdu, and this variety was thought to come from Kabul.   

Preparing field 

  • Choose a space that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of sun in cooler climates, but a bit of afternoon shade in warmer areas of the country. 

  • Pick a nutrient-rich soil that drains well.  

  • To conserve moisture, the soil is cultivated with an animal-drawn/tracter-drawn blade harrow (bakhar) attached to a heavy wooden log.

  • The process helps in control of weed and compact seed bed.

The frequent shallow cultivation with a country plow is done late in the evening for light soil. Such a practice conserves moisture and helps in weed control. 

Seed and sowing 

The sowing of chickpea on the defined month is as important as its yield. It very much affects the production. Experiments conducted under the All India Co-ordinated Pulse Improvement Projectat different Centres over last several years have amply demonstrated that second fortnight of October is the optimum time for showing a in most of the chick pea growing areas of northern India. For peninsular India, the first fortnight of October is the best time for chickpea sowing.  Early sowing of chickpea results in excessive vegetative growth and poor setting of pods. The early sown crop suffers more from wilt owing to high temperature at that time. The crop may be sown by seed drill or local plow at a row spacing of 30-40 centimeters. A seed rate of 75-100 kg per hectare depending upon seed size may be sufficient for one hectare. The seed should be placed 8-10 centimeters deep because the shallow is treated with 0.25 per cent Thiram or Carbendazim (Bavistin) before sowing. 

Manure and fertilizer 

Chickpea being the leguminous crop fulfill its nitrogen requirement (about 75%) through symbiotic nitrogen fixation from three to four weeks of sowing. However, soils with low organic matter and poor nitrogen supply may require 20-25 kg per hectare of nitrogen as the starter does which can meet plant requirement before the formation of nodules. Besides nitrogen, pulses respond very favorably to the phosphorous application if the soils are deficient in phosphorous supply. If both nitrogen and phosphorous are required to be supplied then diammonium phosphate (18-46-0) at the rate of 100 to 150 kg per hectare should be applied uniformly before the last discing plowing. Responses to potassium application have been inconsistent. It is better if all the fertilizers are drilled in furrows at a depth of 7-10 centimeters. 

Chickpea is crop which is mostly sown in rainfed conditions. However, where irrigation facilities are available, give a pre-sowing irrigation. It will ensure proper germination and smooth crop growth. If winter rains fail, give one irrigation at the pre-flowering stage and one at the pod development stage. In no case first irrigation should be given at flowering time of gram crop. A light irrigation should be given because heavy irrigation is always harmful to gram crop. Excess of irrigation enhances vegetative growth and depresses chickpea yield. 


Planting the seeds with proper depth and distance is as important as the productivity. Most gardening centers and home improvement stores don't carry chickpea seeds, so one probably need to order them. (For best results when searching online, use the term "garbanzo bean seeds".) Once they arrive, plant seeds 1 to 2 weeks before your last frost date. Make 1.5- to 2-inch deep holes 3 to 4 inches apart, drop a seed in each one, and cover them with soil. Water thoroughly. 


The seeds should sprout within 10 to 14 days. Water regularly and evenly throughout the growing season to keep the soil moist. In cooler areas, chickpea plants will need about an inch of water per week; in warmer climates, they may need double that amount. When plants are 2 to 3 inches tall, thin them out so you're left with one plant every 6 inches; this spacing will allow the plants to support one another so they don't need staking. To thin them, simply use scissors to trim the extras off at the soil surface, so you dont disturb the roots of neighboring plants. 

Weed Control 

The infestation of weeds is the major problem in chickpea. It can be controlled by  one hand weeding or inter culture with hand hoe or wheel hoe after 25-30 days and second if needed. Following can be applied for is control: 

  • Fluchloralin(Basalin) 1 kg per hectare in 800-1000 liters of water as pre-planting spray may be used as an effective herbicide. It should be well incorporated in the soil before sowing. 

  • In case Basalin is not available use Metribuzin or Prometrynen at the rate of 1.0-1.5 kg active ingredient in 800-1000 liters of water per hectare as pre-emergence spray. 

  • Hand weeding or inter culture with the help of hoe is always better than herbicides because inter culture operations improve aeration in the soil. 

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