Growing Chia. (Salvia hispanica.)
Chia, hardy herb from the mint family is known to be native to Mexico. Its reputation for being hardy originates from it being among the very first plants to reemerge after wildfires. Its benefits are embedded in the origin for its name which is derived from a Mayan word meaning “strength” and an Aztec word meaning “oily” (ALOI P,2021).
Health Benefits of Chia
The wide spread of adaptation and cultivation and consumption of chia seeds through out the world is deeply attributed to the benefits it has to offer.
- · Lowering cholesterol
- · Lowering blood pressure
- · Management of diabetes
- · Reducing the risk of cancer
- · Improving brain development
- · Digestion enhancement
- · Prevent skin aging.
How to consume chia for your benefit.
- · Add to drinking water
- · Raw
- · Sprinkled on smoothies or meals
- · Consume as microgreen/ sprouts.
Ecological requirements for chia seeds
As mentioned, chia is a very hardy herb and will be able to survive in about any type of soil except the extremely wet ones. If your farm or Kitchen garden’s soil is well drained and fertile you are good to go with this super herb. They will do very well under average annual temperatures between 21°C and 30°C, and average annual rainfall between 550 and 1000 mm.
How to plant.
Chia seeds can be obtained from another farmer, seed stores or from the food market .The seeds sold at the supermarkets food section is capable of having around 80% germination rate .
To plant from seed, it is advisable to soak them in water for at least 24 hours to help in breaking the seed dormancy.
You can then evenly sprinkle on top of the prepared garden soil.
For a larger commercial farm. Planting in rows might be necessary in order to ease your operation. This however will need thinning later after they are grown.
At thinning, for fertile soils its is okay to have them closely spaced. You can also do this if you are fertilizing them well. They are known to respond very well to Organic foliar fertilizers which is also one of the best way to fertilize a seed that is to be consumed uncooked.
Companion plants refer to the plants that grow along well in the garden or field. Chia has no problem getting along with garden companions however it is very important to consider talking to gardening consultants to help you out with the setup and maintenance training especially if you are practicing urban gardening.
As hardy as chia is watering is essential in its first stages of growth and development. Soft and adequate watering will help prevent damage for their delicate early stems. After they are established they can then survive longer with little watering .
Like any other garden plant. Chia will need nutrients . You can use organic compost or any organic foliar sprays available to you. Too much Fertilizing will lead to more leafy less seeding plants while inadequate fertilizing will lead to poor quality and quality of yields.
After four months, chia plants will produce bright lavender flowers , the plants are self-pollinated and after pollination the flowers will dies back forming brown heads with many tiny drying pods each with seeds in it .
It is advisable to collect the dry heads before its too late since by nature m chia replants its seeds by dropping them to the ground.
Packaging and selling
Chia seeds have many potential uses .If you are doing a chia project as a business, it is important to have good packaging marketing and transportation plans.A well tuned project business plan will keep you out of worries.
Read more about MEDICINAL HERBS
250g grammes of chia will fetch upto ksh450
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Single pots. Comes with:
1. Herbs / vegetables of your choice (8-12 depending on crop density requirements)
2. Free training on garden and plant care
3. Membership to our WhatsApp group for kitchen gardeners
Price =2,999 pic.twitter.com/J7vZ2dtkiT— Kitchen Gardening (@BalconyMbogaFrm) April 21, 2022