Chickpea is a large legume native to India, no doubt with great nutritional value. Micro Greens, by definition, are small immature plants usually 3-7 inches tall. At 4cm of length, chickpeas are ready to be harvested and eaten. They are also called garbanzo beans, or more stylishly,’ Gram’.
They have a sweet taste, much like hazelnuts, and are rich in calcium, iron, and other essential acids. In this article, we will explore what and how to plant chickpea microgreens to produce a healthy plant.
Equipment Needed to Grow Chickpea Microgreens
Growing chickpea microgreens doesn’t require too much space or even many tools. But you do need a few equipment to get started.
This section will guide you on what you need and how to use them:
- Microgreen Seeds – To plant anything, you of course need the seed. You can purchase healthy microgreens from a farm or a market. And there you have your first tool.
- Good Water Source – The germination and growth of any plant are largely dependent on water, quality water. The same goes for chickpea microgreens. They would need to be watered for proper growth.
- Soil – Soil, of course, is required for the planting, germination of any plant. But before you plant microgreens in soil, ensure it’s healthy and possibly sterilized soil.
- Growing Medium – For the sole reason of susceptibility to soil-borne diseases, the best medium for microgreens is a soilless medium. But if only soil is available to you, then you can sterilize the soil and grow your seeds. Some examples of soilless media are Grow mat, wood shavings, and growing paper, which we will consider in this article.
- Tray Covers – Tray covers are optional if you want to cover your seeds after sowing. Paper towels, vermiculite, or white plastic trays are all covers you can use.
- Heat Mats – Heat mats help in maintaining root zone temperature. This prevents diseases and pest infestation on the tender microgreens. It is also used to regulate temperature for the growing of microgreens.
- Grow Lights -In the absence of natural light, these come in handy when you grow your microgreens indoors, or during the off-season. Light, as you should know is essential for plant germination and growth.
- Circulation Fans – For indoor growing, this can also help inadequate ventilation is essential for disease prevention.
- Microgreen Trays -These can contain soilless medium up to 2 inches in-depth and up to 20 rows of seed flats. Ideal for the growing of microgreens.
- Growing Paper – This is another soilless medium that acts as a base. It allows seeds to germinate and take root. Ideal for growing microgreens.
How to Grow Chickpea Microgreens in Soil?
Soil is the primary medium for growing seeds of plants ranging from 5inch microgreens to iroko trees hundreds of feet in length. With healthy soil, you can plant and harvest a healthy yield of chickpea microgreens.
Step 1: Soak Your Seeds
For microgreens like chickpea, it is advisable to soak in water for up to 24 hours before planting. The benefit is that it reduces the time it takes for your seeds to germinate which also means the growth of your seed will be faster.
The science behind this is that when seeds are planted, they absorb water from the soil to facilitate germination. But with a seed that has already absorbed water during 24 hours of soaking, germination is already sped up.
Step 2: Choose Your Container and Add Soil
Next, you need to choose a container. Plastic containers or take-out containers will serve just fine. Cut off the lid if any, and poke holes underneath for drainage. Then evenly fill the container with good soil up to three-quarters full.
Step 3: Seed Spreading
Now comes the purpose of the entire exercise. Spread your seed over the soil on the container or bed and cover it with a thin layer of soil. Water lightly and place on a drainage tray.
Step 4: Choosing the Right Environment
Microgreens will require neither direct sunlight nor intense sunlight until they begin to thrust out from the soil. But after planting, place in a room temperature between 13 and 25 degrees centigrade.
Step 5: Watering
The optimal environment for seed germination is damp soil. So, you need to water your plant once or twice every day. Ensure to keep this moderate to avoid soaking with too much water. Too much water in plant soil is just as harmful as no water at all.
Step 6: Harvesting
Microgreens grow up to 2-5 inches within a space of 7-10 days. Most microgreens are ready to be harvested at this point. For optimal benefit, they should be harvested just before consumption. Harvesting is done using kitchen shears. Cut slightly above the soil level and you’re ready to go.
Step 7: Composting and Replanting
The roots and soil from the just harvested microgreen batch should be composted. Containers should be washed and ready for reuse.
How to Grow Chickpea Microgreens with A Grow Mat?
A growing mat is made of absorbent biodegradable wood fibers. They are an excellent growth medium in the absence of a healthy soil sample.
Step 1: Prepare Your Water
For this soilless medium, your water should have a balanced pH of 5.5 – 6.5. Water pH can be tested with a pH meter. In the case of irregularities, like it, wood ash can be used to increase water pH. Conversely, phosphoric acid can be used to reduce it. Rainwater has the right pH, but during the offseason, distilled water is the next best alternative.
Step 2: Soak your Grow Mat
To use a grow at, you will need a grow tray too. Cut your grow mat to fit your grow tray. But before transferring the mat to the tray, soak your mat in a nutrient solution or water to get it wet.
Step 3: Spread your Seeds
Spread your seeds on the now wet grow mat. Do this evenly across the tray. Spray your seeds with water or nutrient solution. This should be done with a spray and done moderately, once or twice a day.
Step 4: Acclimation
Cover your seeds with a lightproof material in the first 4-5 days of planting. Place your mat under hydrophobic light for 8-10 hours every day.
Step 5: Growing
After about 5 days, you will introduce fluorescent light to your seeds. Also, introduce normal watering of the grows bed with pH moderate water or a weak hydrophobic solution.
Step 6: Harvesting
Microgreens are grown in a grow bed takes up 10-12 days to be ready for harvest. Cut off from the base of their stem using a sharp blade or kitchen shear.
If you’re not ready to use it at the time of harvesting, you can preserve it by putting it in a refrigerator after washing it multiple times. Alternatively, you can place them between a moist paper towel in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate.
How to Plant Chickpea Microgreens in Wood Shavings
Wood shavings are usually used for mulching on general agricultural practices. Although it doesn’t have all the natural qualities of soil, it can support the germination of microgreens such as chickpea and mustard.
The following steps outline how to plant microgreens using wood shavings:
Step 1: Setup
This method would also require a growing tray to hold your soilless medium. Poke holes as usual under the tray for drainage. The holes should be about 2 inches apart.
Step 2: Spread the Wood Chippings
After your setup, fill the trays with untreated wood shavings. Worthy of note is, wood shavings from lumbering are usually pressure-treated, thus should be avoided. The same goes for shavings from wood that has been chemically altered in any way.
Step 3: Seed Planting
Now is time to plant. Spread your seeds evenly across the tray. If you are using pots, make a hole in the middle of the pot and put in your seeds. Cover your seed lightly with shavings to leave room for air.
Step 4: Water and Add Nutrients
With your seeds planted, you will need to water your setup and maybe add some nutrient solution. Apply as directed on the product label. You can also make your solution by adding specific quantities of specific solvents.
During this process, the wood shavings need to be drenched to support the germination of the microgreens.
Step 6: Germination
Chickpea microgreens also take 7 – 10 days to mature and be ready for consumption
Step 7: Harvesting
Before consumption, you of course need to harvest at maturation.
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How to Grow Chickpea Microgreens Using Growing Paper?
Step 1: Seed Preparation
You will have to prepare the seeds you want to use, place them in a container and soak for about 24 hours before planting. This, as we’ve established, helps the seeds sprout faster.
Step 2: Preparing the Tray
Also established is the prerequisite of a tray with drainage holes underneath. This tray is then lined with the growing paper to serve as a base or substrate for the seed. Fold the papers to fit the entire space of the tray. Place the tray inside a bigger tray without holes to serve as a catch tray.
Step 3: Spreading the Seed and Watering
Spread the seeds across the paper in the tray. Spray some water and cover with another sheet of paper. Microgreens cultivated with this method will not require light for the first 4 days. Watering with a nutrient solution will yield better results and healthier plants. But in the absence of a solution, use plain water with moderate pH of 5.5-6.5
Step 4: Observation
Some seeds will begin to germinate about 24 hours after planting. After 48 hours, check the moisture of the paper, if your seeds are dry, add more water and keep it closed and away from light. Uncover when they start sprouting at around day 6.
Stop 5: Harvesting
Harvesting microgreens planted with growing paper is easy. You can pick out from the tray, with their roots which are also edible. If it was planted in soil, then harvesting would have been done by cutting off sprouts at root level using a sharp blade or a kitchen shear. Easy harvesting is one of the advantages of growing microgreens with grow paper.
How to Speed up the Growth of Microgreens?
Whether you want to grow chickpea microgreens to add a few greens to your diet, or you want to have a steady supply like other vegetables in your backyard, or maybe even start a microgreen business, you can take the following steps to speed up the growth of your microgreens.
Presoaking is always advisable, about 24 hours before you plant your seeds. This speeds up the germination process by bypassing the need for the seeds to absorb water from the soil or medium to initiate germination. With your seeds already saturated with water, all it needs is a base. Presoaked seeds can begin to germinate within 24 hours of planting.
Another way to speed up growth is to use heat mats. Heat mats are waterproof and serve to increase the temperature of the soil. To them use them, place them below the growing tray. The heat mat will increase the soil temperature by up to 10 degrees thereby creating an environment for faster plant germination and growth.
The use of nutrient solutions can also suffice for natural soil nutrients when using a soilless medium. pH neutral water should be used at all times, and in moderate quantities as too much water could slow the germination or even kill the seeds.
Benefits of Eating Chickpea Microgreens
Vegetables are an essential source of nutrition. Microgreens are pleasant-looking and tasting greens to improve the quality of your diet. Microgreens have a wider range of nutrients than mature vegetables.
Research has shown that Vitamins C, E, and K are 5-6 times more abundant in microgreens. These nutrients have numerous benefits, the most notable being that it helps to fight cancer. One factor perhaps, why microgreens are important is that they are consumed soon after harvesting, much like vegetables.
Minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus are not left out of the mix. Chickpeas are a wonderful source of protein. Protein, as we know, helps in general body development and for the repair of damaged tissues.
Eating vegetables generally reduces the risk of disease. Since microgreens have more nutrient content than mature veggies, likely, they will reduce the risk of disease even further.
A list of diseases prevented by microgreens include:
- Heart Disease – A class of antioxidants known as polyphenols is found richly in chickpea microgreens. They also reduce cholesterol levels. These contents and actions significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega 3 acids help in the prevention of the heart’s inflammation.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – Chickpea microgreens are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants, which are abundant in chickpea microgreens are also instrumental in the prevention of Alzheimer. Thus, it is highly recommended to include this in the diet for older people.
- Diabetes – The addition of chickpea microgreens in your diet will optimize the digestion of your food. This in turn regulates blood sugar level thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Aid in Weight Loss
Garbanzo beans are rich in fiber. Consumption at a meal will leave your stomach feeling full and your body energized. This automatically eliminates the need to snack regularly on food products that are high in calories.
May Be Good for Bone Strength
Chickpeas are rich in minerals, minerals that are vital for the improvement of bone density and general bone health.
Maintenance of Blood Pressure
Garbanzo beans are low salt vegetables. Eating low sodium foods is an ideal way to maintain low blood pressure.
Aids in Digestion
Study has shown that chickpeas contain a huge quantity of dietary fiber. This can optimize your food digestion and bowel movement. Constipation is prevented and passing out of stool becomes no problem at all. Chickpeas also aid in the absorption of nutrients during ingestion to ensure your get the most nutrition out of your meal.
Chickpeas still have more benefits than the already listed ones. Choline is a macronutrient found in chickpeas. They are known to help the body fight chronic inflammation
Chickpea microgreens improve muscle movement, improves memory, and even improves the quality of sleep. With the addition of milk and rosewater, chickpeas help to remedy oily and spotted skin. Mixing chickpea flour with water to make a paste and applying it to your scalp can aid in tackling dandruff.
Adding chickpeas to your diet during pregnancy can ensure your baby’s health. And speaking of babies, magnesium as a nutrient of chickpeas enhances your skin health making it look like a baby’s. Like this not enough, chickpeas remain your go-to vegetable to tackle menopausal symptoms.
Chickpea Microgreens Pest and Diseases and How to Manage Them
Planting microgreens in the soil makes it susceptible to pest and disease attacks. Chickpeas have a short period between planting and harvesting, so most times they do not live long enough to be attacked by a pest or disease, however, this does happen occasionally.
The following are common challenges you may encounter while growing microgreens:
The average duration for seed germination is 2-4 days. For pre-soaked seeds, germination can occur within 24 hours. It is an indication of an abnormality when germination is delayed in microgreens.
- Ensure that there is enough moisture in the tray or growing medium. If not, the water adequately.
- Conduct a germination test on a sample of your seeds using a wet paper towel.
Some varieties of chickpea are more susceptible than others. Sometimes, the disease can come from the plant itself, especially when exposed to mildew.
- An easy remedy to this would be the use of kitchen formulated solutions. This comprises 4 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar mixed in a quarter-filled glass of water.
- A commercial product available for treatment is peroxyacetic acid formulations.
This is usually common in high summer temperatures. Mould uses a spider web camouflage. It starts small and expands quickly. If left untreated, soon you notice a whitish network of mold all over your growing media. In advanced stages, it climbs the microgreen stems and kills them before it has a chance 5 centimeters.
- Ensure that your growing tray is clean before planting. If your tray has a high seed density, then reduce it for subsequent trays.
- Increase air circulation to decrease humidity.
- As an organic solution, try mixing grapefruit seed extract in some water and spray it on the infected plants.
Microgreen seeds require a little amount of light. In some cases, the seeds may not get enough light to initiate photosynthesis. This causes yellow coloration on your seedlings
- Plays your growth trays near a stronger light source.
- Remove the light-resistant object sooner or as soon as you notice the coloration.
Excess water in the soil or soilless growing medium is just as bad as no water at all. Either of these cases can result in malnourished or weak looming plants. Sometimes, this can be a result of removing the blackout some too early or too late.
- Microgreens are delicate, and they are harvested very young, so care must be taken from the planting to the harvesting process. To do this, make sure you read the seed packets in detail to know exactly what each seed needs and at what quantity.
- If you water twice a day every day, be sure to maintain a routine to make sure that your seeds are adequately watered.
Root Rot and Damping Off
This is caused by fungi known as Pythium. Fungal attacks are often associated with airflow in the growth medium. Pythium, the fungi cause the tiny little nutritious roots of our microgreens to rot and make the outgrowth loom weak.
- The simple and most common remedy is the use of biofungicides.
Prevention, they say is better than cure. This does not just apply to humans. This rule must also apply to life-changing vegetables, life optimizing microgreens. In this section, we will explore some techniques we can employ to prevent disease in the first place and manage them in the case of attack.
Airflow, humidity, seed source, soil management, trays, and environment are all factors that should be put into consideration when trying to find the source of disease in your microgreen garden.
Pathogens can make their way into microgreen seeds when being presoaked. To prevent this, soak your seeds in a sanitizer instead. Generally, sanitation in your growing environment will go a long way to prevent and control the disease.
- Keep the environment clean
- Wash grow trays after harvesting before you use them again.
- Wash your hand regularly during the gardening process.
Some sanitizing agents you can use are bleach, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, and steam. Steam must be introduced with caution to avoid killing the seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chickpea Microgreens VS Chickpea Sprouts
The question being which is better. Microgreens are richer in nutritional content than sprouts. Eating raw sprouts can also pose to be a risk.
How Much Light Does Chickpea Microgreens Need?
After sprouting has taken place, 4-6 hours of sunlight or from a fluorescent light source.
What Temperature Does Chickpea Microgreens Need?
Microgreens grow comfortably at temperatures very 50-70°F. Anything lower may induce germination and may require the use of a heat map.
Does Chickpea Microgreens Regrow After Harvest?
Yes, they do. They do not ‘regerminate’ as the seeds remain intact after the shoot is cut off from root level during harvesting. The sprout regrows.
How Should You Harvest Chickpea Microgreens?
Microgreens are ready to be harvested 10-12 days after planting. This can be done by simply cutting the sprout using a kitchen sheer or razor.
How Should You Store Chickpea Microgreens?
The appropriate place for microgreens to be stored is in the refrigerator. The co temperature will prevent the growth of molds.
Why Are My Microgreens Falling Over?
The following unfavorable growing conditions can be the reason why your microgreens are falling off, High temperature, low humidity, poor light supply, lack of soil nutrients, etc.
How to Use Chickpea Microgreen Flavor?
Chickpeas have a strong flavor similar to pinto beans and can be used to prepare a wide range of food items.
How to Prevent Damping Off in Microgreens?
Low airflow in your growth environment leaves room for the growth of mold or fungi on your plants. To avert this, provide sufficient light and air to your growth environment.
Chickpea is a legume that has garnered a list of names, the most popular being garbanzo beans. The planting of chickpeas is simple, and the consumption is an absolute pleasure. The numerous benefits are every incentive you need to make this your vegetable of choice in your diet.