Chia Plant Care: Learn How To Grow Chia Seeds In The Garden
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Once the hair on a novelty toy, chia seeds are making a comeback, but this time, they're taking up residence in the garden and the kitchen. With some chia plant information from this article, you can learn how to grow chia seeds for all their health benefits.
How to Plant & Harvest Chia Seeds
Chia is an annual herb that is a member of the mint family. Its seeds are highly nutritious and contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C and a host of other minerals. Consequently, many health-conscious gardeners want to grow the chia at home so they can harvest its nutritious seeds. The chia plant is quite easy to grow in western North America where it grows wild. Once sown in August, the chia can be left to its own devices until the flowers dry and it is time to harvest the seeds.
Spread 1/2 inch of sand and 1 inch of aged compost over the soil. Then loosen the soil to a depth of 3 inches with your garden hoe. Turn in the sand and compost as you go.
- Chia is an annual herb that is a member of the mint family.
- Once sown in August, the chia can be left to its own devices until the flowers dry and it is time to harvest the seeds.
Hand broadcast the chia seeds over the soil. You will need roughly 1/4 cup of chia seeds per square foot. Sprinkle them so that there is a little space between each seed, but don't worry too much about accuracy.
Lightly rake in the chia seeds.
Sprinkle roughly 1/4 inch of charate (the burnt remains of plants) over the seed bed.
Lightly water the seedbed so that the soil is moist. Continue to keep the soil moist until the chia seeds germinate in about two weeks. Once the chia seeds have germinated, they should only be watered in case of drought.
- Hand broadcast the chia seeds over the soil.
- Continue to keep the soil moist until the chia seeds germinate in about two weeks.
Chia seeds are ready to harvest when the flowers have yellowed and dried. The easiest way to harvest chia seeds is to pull up the entire plant then beat the stalks over a container in order to collect the tiny seeds.
Some chia seeds need pre-treatment before planting. Ask your supplier if this is necessary. Chia will self-sow freely if the seeds survive predation by birds, mice and ants.
Each flower produces up to 13 tiny seeds.
Chia seeds need full sun to grow.
Chia seeds will only grow in USDA growing zones 9 and higher. If you do not live in these zones, chia can be grown indoors in a planting tray that is filled with 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 sand and 1/3 aged compost. Keep the soil in the planting trays moist and in low light until they germinate. After germination, mist the tray with water every day or two and move it into full sun.
Chia seeds are best consumed when they've grown approximately 1/2 inch long. If you can't eat the chia sprouts all at once, put them in a sealed container and store them in your refrigerator for up to 14 days. This stops their growth and helps slow the formation of bacteria.
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.
Wild thyme is one of the most beautiful kinds of thyme. It flowers abundantly all summer long, and produces cute little flowers in hues of pale pink to bright pink.
It is often used in infusions, and also in cooking to flavor sauces and soups.
Native to the Mediterranean area, wild thyme is very fragrant and is particularly well suited to seasoning grilled meat and fish.
As a garden helper, it will repel the large white butterfly that destroys cabbage patches.
Gardening tools you’ll need
Your plant babies deserve to be in pretty pots
Image credit: @noahgardencentre_sg
You can easily find a wide range of pots that will fit your plant and aesthetic needs. They usually come in different materials like terracotta, stone or plastic. Self-watering pots are also becoming increasingly popular as it takes the guesswork out of how much to water your plants and are great for people who frequently travel. If you need a pot in a pinch, literally any soil-filled container with small holes at the bottom will do the trick.
Richer in nutrients and minerals as compared to regular soil, organic soil is better at facilitating drainage while retaining moisture. This ensures that the plant has sufficient water without drowning the roots and causing rot.
Pro tip: Look for a potting mix that has lightweight expanded clay aggregate (LECA) pellets – they help to “open up” the soil and ensure that excess water is able to drain away.
Less is actually more when it comes to fertilising your plants. While the amount and frequency depend on what you’re growing, follow this general guideline to ensure that your plant doesn’t grow rapidly but weak:
Organic fertiliser (compost): Once a week
Chemical fertiliser: Once every two weeks
Image credit: @thesill
Use a watering can for plants that need a good dousing and a spray bottle for plants like succulents and airplants that don’t need frequent watering.
A small gardening trowel
Image credit: Gardening Know How
You’ll need this for adding soil and fertiliser, repotting plants, and pickin’ out weeds. There’s no need to splurge on a fancy one, even a sturdy kitchen spoon can work in a pinch.