Chickpea is one of the field crops which is not grown widely in our country. Unimproved chickpeas are grown as hedge plants in home gardens in few parts of some Provinces such as Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
Chickpeas are usually grown as winter crops, between late April and May. The proper seeding depth is 2,5 to 5cm. Chickpeas should be sown in moist soils to provide the necessary moisture for proper germination and inoculation.
The plant requires fertile, sandy-loam soil with good internat drainage and they do not tolerate water – logged conditions. Chickpeas require a soil pH of 6.0 0 7.0. It prefers soil with good residual soil moisture content or storage.
Chickpeas are high in protein, carbohydrates and fibre, low in fat and cholesterol and are considered one of the earliest cultivated vegetables. They are consumed as a dry pulse crop or as green vegetables, Chickpeas are added to many dishes to improve their taste, e.g. desert, salads, and soup. When mixed with other pulses, they can also serve as an appetizer.
Chickpeas are typically straight out, meaning they are not swathed before combining. Timing is very important when harvesting chickpeas. An over ripened crop can lead to a decrease in yield while harvesting a crop too young may lead to increased chance of green seed in crop which yields a lower grade.
Chickpeas can tolerate droughts very well, being the most resistant to shortage of water. The only time there is a greater need for water is when buds form during flowering.
Fortunately, chickpeas ripen uniformly, so it is easy to determine when to chop, given that its pods do not shoot when ripe. Harvesting is done by machines, i.e. adapted grain bean harvesters.
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