Chia, (Salvia hispanica), also called Mexican chia or salba chia, species of flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae), grown for its edible seeds. The plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala, where it was an important crop for pre-Columbian Aztecs and other Mesoamerican Indian cultures. Chia seeds are touted for their health benefits, being high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and are now grown commercially in several countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Peru, and the United States.

Chia is an annual herbaceous plant that can reach nearly 1 meter (3 feet) in height. Its lime-green leaves are oppositely arranged and have serrated (toothed) margins. The plant bears spikes of small blue, purple, or white flowers that have a high rate of self-pollination. The small oval seeds are about 1 mm (0.04 inch) in diameter and feature a shiny, mottled, or speckled seed coat that ranges in colour from dark brown to gray-white. The seeds produce a mucilaginous gel when soaked in water. Chia is a desert plant requiring little irrigation and grows well in sandy loam soils, but it is sensitive to frost and day length. The plant resists insect pests and disease and is a good candidate for organic production.

Nutritionally, chia seeds are one of the most-concentrated sources of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. They are also high in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and antioxidants. Although other seeds, such as flaxseeds, must be ground to enhance their nutritional benefits, chia seeds are easily digested and thus can be eaten whole. They are commonly sprinkled on salads, sandwiches, hot or cold cereals, or yogurt and can be an ingredient of baked goods. The seeds can be mixed with water, juice, or milk to form a thick beverage or pudding and can also be sprouted and eaten fresh in salads and sandwiches. Given chia seeds’ high fiber content and ability to expand as a gel, there is some evidence that they may work as an appetite suppressant. They also show promise in reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, though further studies are needed.

CLIMATE:

Temperature Rainfall Sowing Temperature Harvesting Temperature
10-45 Degree C 1200- 2000mm 25-40 DC 25-40 DC

SOIL:

The cultivation of S. hispanica requires light to medium clay or sandy soils. The plant prefers well-drained, moderately fertile soils, but can cope with acid soils and moderate drought. Sown chia seeds need moisture for seedling establishment, while the maturing chia plant does not tolerate wet soils during growth

 LAND PREPARATION:

Traditional cultivation techniques of S. hispanica include soil preparation by disruption and loosening followed by seed broadcasting.  In modern commercial production, a typical sowing rate of 2.5- 3 kilograms per acre and row spacing of 0.7–0.8 m (2.3–2.6 ft) are usually applied.

TYPES OF SEED:

There are two types of Chia seed, one is black chia seed and another is white chia seed.

TIME OF SOWING:

Winter is the ideal time to plant and grow chia seeds and the very early spring, because it is considered as the short day plant and cannot grow in long day season. But they cannot tolerate frost and snow.

POPAGATION:

Chia seeds are propagated from both seeds and seedlings, growing chia plant from seeds can be best job, prepare the soil for crop, just sprinkle seeds over the soil and stab them gently and cover them with soil. Watering should be done at regular intervals, chia seeds start sprouting within 7 to 10 days. After the seedlings grow up to 7-10 cm tall with 5-6 pairs of true leaves, thin them as they grow.

SEED RATE

Typical sowing rate of 2.5- 3 kilograms per acre

IRRIGATION:

Chia crop should be irrigated frequently for better yields, in chia plantation; the plan may need, from one to five irrigations per growing season, depending on climatic conditions and rainfall.

HARVESTING:

Plant starts yielding by 100-140 days after plantation. Harvesting is done during winter month as the plant become dormant.

YIELD:

Average yield per acre is 350- 400 kg chia seeds.

  • Chia Seeds
  • Chia Plant
  • Chia Cultivation
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