Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chickpeas and other legumes

We went to a church rummage sale this weekend - our favorite one at Faith Lutheran Church in Mount Penn - they have a spring and a fall sale. I scored a big blue muck bucket to grow the potatoes, a bunch of pots, a pile of berry baskets I can use to make gift baskets full of lettuce plants.

Two of the pots are large plastic ones with saucers - one will hold the cherry tomato for DD15, and the other will get my experimental chickpeas. I soaked 5 chickpeas from a bog of dried and they sprouted almost immediately. I did some reading, and they will grow, but I am told they take up a lot of room in a small garden, for a limited crop yield, and they need a special innoculant. I will just plant these five in a pot and see what happens - apparently they have fern-like foliage that is attractive.

I got some good advice about legumes in on GardenWeb. Boiled down to: the best varieties of beans for shelling are pole beans, which at a good bet for vertical growing and a big yield in a small yard. I should explore cowpeas - black-eyed peas and their cousins from the South. Most peas are garden peas - most dried peas are grown commercially, and I will have to order them from specialty suppliers to get seeds. Also not so efficient in a small yard.

So - this year I will grow garden peas, one Taylor Horticultural bean, a few chickpeas, and look for some black-eyed peas. Maybe a few green beans to freeze for DD15 - she likes to eat them frozen, right out of the bag.

DD15 tried to argue for us to plant things we could sell at the West Reading producer market - but we can't grow enough in our yard. We need to stick to our goal of reducing our own grocery bill. When I think about it, dried peas and beans are really cheap - I don't need to replace those in our budget. I need to focus on herbs and fresh veg, for us to eat and to trade with other gardeners.

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