• GrowNYC Education


Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Chickpeas are one of the new things we are growing in the Teaching Garden this year!

Chickpeas (Cicer Arietinum) are one of the oldest cultivated legumes! A legume is the fruit or seed of a plant in the family Fabaceae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family. There are many different names for Chickpeas including Garbanzo bean, Gram, Chana, and Egyptian pea.

Chickpeas require a long growing season, grow chickpeas in full sun (they will grow in partial shade but produce more in full sun). Chickpeas, like other legumes, can be used as a way to add nitrogen into the soil.

Fun Chickpea Facts!

  • Chickpeas have been used to make hummus for thousands of years! They can also be used to make chana masala, or can be ground into a flour to make falafel.

  • Ancient Romans associated chickpeas with the goddess Venus.

  • In the 1700’s they were noted to be a substitute for coffee beans.


  • 1 can of chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of tahini (optional but recommended! see our last blog post for a tahini recipe)

  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice or vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 2 tablespoons of chickpea can water - or just water (if consistency needs to be thinner)

Instructions: Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend! Adjust seasonings to taste and enjoy, best served cold. If you don’t have a food processor, no problem! You can mash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher and stir to combine or you can use a mortar and pestle. Watch us make hummus just a bowl and a fork in the video below!

Dried bean Sprouting Activity

Did you know that dried beans are actually seeds!? By creating the proper environment for germination you can watch beans sprout!

First of all what is germination?

Germination is when a seed develops into a plant. Germination is basically a fancy word for sprout. All seeds have three parts: 1. A seed coat: the outer part of the seed that we see 2. An embryo or baby plant, and 3. Food storage. All seeds contain enough energy (their food storage) to create two leaves (the first two leaves on a plant are called cotyledon). When placed in the proper conditions - moist and warm, seeds will start to root. Once they have sent out their roots they can collect water. Then the seed will begin to sprout its stem and its first two leaves, otherwise known as the cotyledon. Once the plant has its cotyledon it can begin creating its own energy through photosynthesis! Now you can try an activity to watch germination happen in real life! All you need is a plastic ziplock bag, dried beans of any kind (you can use chickpeas, black beans, lentils, popcorn, or any other dried bean), and a paper towel. Wet the paper towel so that it is damp but not dripping wet. Place it in the bottom of a ziplock bag along with a few beans. It’s a good idea to use a few beans here because most dried beans from the supermarket are pretty old, so we want to put a few to make sure at least one germinates. (Disclaimer! If you are using dried beans you got from the store it is possible they might never sprout, we tried with a handful of different dried beans with varying results). Place the beans on the paper towel in the ziplock bag. It should look something like the pictures below. Then place your bean bag in a warm place, I put mine on a radiator but it could also go on top of the fridge or in a sunny spot indoors. Now we wait! Beans can take as long as 10 - 14 days to germinate so we have to be patient here. When they do start germinating first you will see the roots, and later the stem will start coming out. If your bean germinates you can move it to a pot with soil and watch it grow into a big bean plant!

Below we tried this activity with popcorn! The second photo is how they looked after 4 days.

We also tried with lentils! Here they are the first day and after a few days.

Let us know in the comments if you try this at home.

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