View Full Version : Anyone grow Chia?

January 6th, 2009, 07:23 PM
Does anyone on here grow chia? I have Tarahumara chia seed, and don't know anything about how to grow it(??)

Lavandula Girl
January 6th, 2009, 07:47 PM
Well, you spread it on this little sheep shaped terracotta animal, or else on terracotta head, or even a scooby doo.... Ch-ch-ch-chia! :D

Seriously - here's an info site... you might find what you're looking for here:


January 6th, 2009, 07:59 PM
White chia (also called salba) is a good energy food, high in protein and good for people with sugar problems. Black is less so. You've reminded me that I would like to grow salba, Tasty. It is outrageously expensive. Thanks for the link, Lav.


lettuce lover
January 6th, 2009, 08:00 PM
I got a Richters Herb Catolog and that's the one herb that amazed me. It's got
as much omega-3 as 8 oz of Atantic salmon
as much calcium as a cup of milk
as much fibre as 1/3 cup of bran
as much iron as 1/3 cup of spinach leaves
as much vit. C as 2 oranges
as much potassium as a half of banana

The Aztecs called it running food and could run all day on a handful of seeds. It can be added to cereals and baked goods.

I've never heard of it before but it sound like a wonderful food to grow. There web is

January 6th, 2009, 08:06 PM
LG, thanks for the link ... but it doesn't tell HOW TO GROW CHIA(!!??) Seems like lots of info is out there about how great chia is & all ... but ... not much info on how to grow it.


I found this webpage, which has a picture, and says:

Salvia melissodora
Found throughout Mexico, this is also known as the grape-scented sage, with good reason. It was also known as S. tarahumara in the past, as the Tarahumara Indians use this salvia medicinally. It is a woody, upright shrub, growing up to 4 ft. here. The small, pale lavender-blue flowers are sweetly-scented. It does not react very well to the British climate, and flowering can be sparse. However I saw a splendid example of S. melissodora in Ginny Hunt's garden in California, about 6 ft. tall and smothered in flowers. It is not hardy here, neither does it set seed. Grow in a well-drained sunny spot, or in a large pot.

Huh, doesn't set seed in Britain ... pooey!! ... if I grow it, it's going in a big pot, that gets taken inside in wintertime. And what's the use of trying to grow a chia that doesn't set seed?:(

Lavandula Girl
January 6th, 2009, 08:11 PM
Sorry, ToH... try this one


January 6th, 2009, 08:16 PM
England has a pretty wet climate, unlike Mexico. I imagine chia will do well here in the desert. I've got several varieties of salvia, most of which are hardy (winter over). Some are woody bushes. The wild rabbits only go after a couple of my varieties.

January 6th, 2009, 08:42 PM
Lorna, do you grow chia? You're right, seems like it would do well where you are.
This sounds so great:
The seeds were usually harvested by bending the stalks over a seed burden or gathering basket and beating the seeds out of the prickly, dry heads with a seedbeater. Even though the seeds are tiny, in this way, several quarts could be gathered within a few hours.

except the "few HOURS ..." part ...

Still, several QUARTS of chia seed would sure be nice to be able to grow.

January 6th, 2009, 08:48 PM
Tasty, I paid $30 for a half pound of chia seeds a little over a year ago. I used them in baking. I'm hypoglycemic and they really worked well to keep my blood sugar on an even keel. A couple of teaspoons of seeds goes a long way! Seeds are pretty soft and very tiny, kind of look like sesame. I want to grow salba, but forgot that I had that goal until you brought up the subject. I bookmarked the link which has seed packets and bulk seeds. I'm guessing it would self seed pretty readily, once established.


January 6th, 2009, 10:05 PM
Hi I haven't tried growing them yet as I'm still learning about them, I am how ever use them in my homemade bread. As they are so expencive I wonder how many plants I would need to get a couple of pounds of seeds. The ones I get are from my local health food store and I pay about 14.00 a pound for the black seeds as that is the only type that they carry. At any rate I wish you luck in growing them.

January 6th, 2009, 10:11 PM
We don't know how many seeds a plant could produce. There would be a number of variables there, such as overall size of the plant. But once you get a few plants going, you should have plenty of seeds to grow more plants the next year.


January 6th, 2009, 10:37 PM
Does anyone on here grow chia? I have Tarahumara chia seed, and don't know anything about how to grow it(??)

I threw some out randomly on bare ground in late August or early September and watered the ground every few days. They grew like weeds. By late Novermber about 10% were flowering then in early December a frost got them. Very pretty and very easy to grow, but plant them before August....

January 7th, 2009, 08:04 PM
fruits&nuts, you are the only person who has responded who has actually grown chia, and you live in Missouri! Nice to hear. Maybe if they got started by about June, they might grow to set seed?

And Lorna, seems like you're in a good place to grow chia! Go for it, lady! Wouldn't it be fantastic if they produced well?

January 7th, 2009, 08:15 PM
Tasty, F&N lives in California, I believe. Yes, I certainly will get a hold of some salba and plant it, good stuff.

Painted Goat
January 7th, 2009, 08:42 PM
I just had some Salba on my granola this morning. It is probably what kept me going considering my sleep deprived state. I too plan to grow some and I may just try the seed still in the sample pack I have. Thanks for making me think of this.

January 7th, 2009, 10:13 PM
OK - who has salba seeds to trade? :) :) :)

January 7th, 2009, 11:03 PM
I had some old salba that I threw out. That's where my seed came from. Salba is very expensive, but still much cheaper than trying to buy chia seeds for planting.

I do live in California TH, but you probably read some of my comments about Missouri, where I have also lived (and NM). By the way, I think Missouri beats both CA and NM.

June 24th, 2009, 02:20 PM
I threw some out randomly on bare ground in late August or early September and watered the ground every few days. They grew like weeds. By late Novermber about 10% were flowering then in early December a frost got them. Very pretty and very easy to grow, but plant them before August....

Well, it's June 24th and I'm going to go look through my fridge drawer & see if I can find that old chia seed ...

June 24th, 2009, 02:25 PM
Darn, I totally spaced out on my good intentions to plant salba. Phooey! Still time...

June 24th, 2009, 03:00 PM
I hope somebody on here grows it all the way to getting seed from a plant.:p

June 24th, 2009, 09:08 PM
The seed is the valuable part of salba.

June 24th, 2009, 09:37 PM
i had a chia pet when i was a kiddo.fun

June 24th, 2009, 10:01 PM
Same family, Reddie, but different plant. The white chia (aka salba) is one of the super foods, really high in protein. Seeds look something like sesame.

June 24th, 2009, 10:05 PM
lol ok lorna..just messing around..lol

jane b
June 29th, 2009, 08:13 AM
I just had some chia pudding at a Raw Food non-cooking class last night. Taste and texture EXACTLY like tapioca.

I am definitely interested in growing chia as it IS very expensive, especially if you plan to use as much as I do. Even non-Raw DH loved it.

I'm in the mountains of sw Virginia, so I'm not sure how well it would do here either. But I'm sure willing to find out.

June 29th, 2009, 09:36 AM
Hi again I have a few growing now, but as I'm slowly going all veggie, i'm adding some of the tops off of them to my raw salads. I should have a few plants for seeds. I'm also growing one that is called black cumin, but it isn't a cumin, but another species the seeds look and are used the same way Chia seeds are used, but they have a slight peppery taste. From what I see so far, it would take quite a few plants just to get a few oz's, which I don't have, so I gues I will have to keep buying them. I use quite a bit of the seeds in my Kitchen sink bread recipe which takes a full cup to my 12 grain or 12 sprouted grain mix depending on which type I'm making. I'm hoping to find a less expensive source for them and my black cumin seeds, as my small ssi check doesn't go very far now days.
George W.

June 29th, 2009, 10:05 AM
Just looked up chia ... isn't the plant grown on chia pets for sprouts, the same as the chia grown (once it's a full-grown plant) for seeds?
I just planted some seed out of a packet of "Chia" (not the Tarahumara Chia seed, I think I had bought from Thyme Garden). Considering it was probably quite elderly seed (from an "outlet" store) I am glad to see teensy little plants popping up, so I'm hoping this is the "right" plant to grow for chia seed.

wildseed, (if you see this) how big is the plant when full grown?

I didn't know black cumin wasn't a cumin. Now you're making that sound interesting, too. A slight peppery taste might be good in SOME foods (like bread), but seems like the regular chia seed could be used more universally.

June 29th, 2009, 10:20 AM
Thyme Garden still has Tarahumara Chia seed:

June 29th, 2009, 05:02 PM
I think black chia is used for the chia pets. As I mentioned, black chia is the same family, but not considered a super food, as the white chia is.

June 30th, 2009, 10:37 AM
Okay, tomorrow is "above-ground planting day" for "planting by the moon." Today, I dig through the seed drawer and FIND that Tarahumara Chia seed!!:cool: (I hope.)

June 30th, 2009, 11:07 AM
Hope that seed packet doesn't hide from you, the way that mine do! :)

jane b
July 6th, 2009, 07:54 AM
I have to travel a couple of hours away to take DD to the airport. Found out that there is both a Trader Joes and Whole Foods in the vicinity, so I'm going to see about getting some of both the white and the black chia, and I'll also see about some of that black cumin as well. If the seeds are sold for sprouting, then they should be just fine for growing.

The full grown salvia hispanica seems to grow to about 3 feet high and like any proper herb, is a weed in its native area. Still looking for a photo of the full grown plant, but I did find a print from the Florentine Codex.

jane b
July 6th, 2009, 08:00 AM
REALLY good link on salvia hispanica. And it says that yes, it can be grown in Britain as a summer annual.

Have to make one more post before the forum will let me post a link. So link to follow this post.

Gonna try it here. Throw down a few seeds and let it go. If I don't get anything, I'll try sprouting some in the springtime.

jane b
July 6th, 2009, 08:01 AM
Link to Salvia hispanica page


July 6th, 2009, 10:03 AM
Hi TastyofHasty, so far the Chia plants are about a foot tall with no blooms yet, they need to be thinned out some more. Black Cumin Nigella sativa which is in the same family as Love In A Mist (Nigella hispanica) the seeds of Black cumin looks like small black onion seeds which soaked in water will make a jell, just like chia seeds do, only they have a spicy almost black pepper tast. They are great in breads and add a lot of fiber to them By the way there is a Swiss Bread recipe that is quite old that calls for a hand full or two of crushed black pepper. I tried some once and loved it, but I don't have the recipe. Black Cumin plants are smaller than Love in a Mist, but the seeds and plants look much the same. I wonder if Love in a mist has the same properties as they would be a cheeper source if they are. The Chia seeds are the same plant as the seeds you put in your chia pet. From the looks of things Both Chia and Black Cumin would take a lot of plants to make a 1/2 pound of seeds which would require more space than what I have. As both are very healthy for you they would be worth the trouble if you had a large area that you could plant out. that and some Flax which is very good for you also.
George W.

July 6th, 2009, 10:11 AM
Hi I just wanted to Add that Black Cumin is Nigella sativa and not Nigella hispanica which is Love in a Mist and a different plant although it looks much like Black cumin. I don't think that Love in a Mist has the same properties as Black Cumin has so you may be eating something that isn't as good.
George W.

July 6th, 2009, 12:21 PM
Here's what my first-planted chia looks like, from a packet of Chia (for eating) I had bought at an outlet store:
So you're way ahead of me, wildseed2U.

Jane b, your link is on Plants for a Future, I keep running across them ... am so glad they set up that database!
It is hardy to zone 9 and is frost tender.
Uh-0h, I'm either Zone 6b or 7 ... but neither is as hot as Zone 9.

July 6th, 2009, 03:28 PM
A little bit of white chia goes a long way. I put about two teaspoons into cookie or brownie recipes to make them high protein, and that is enough. It is suggested that the seeds be ground first, but I added them whole. They do have a tendency to stick to your teeth, then gel up. It didn't bother me, but might bother some folks. In making a high protein snack recipe each week, I went through a pound of salba in about eight months.

July 13th, 2009, 09:43 AM
Hi all, I have a camera coming today so I will get a photo of my plants, I use about a cup of Chia seeds to my homemade bread and the seeds don't seem to be a problem, I just add them with a cup of mixed sprouted seeds to give my 12 grain flour a extra big punch. Boy is it ever good. I do slighty blend the sprouted seeds some as they are bigger than the chia, but other wise they cook up OK.
George W.

July 20th, 2009, 07:45 PM
Wildseed, I saw your pic of your chia on your profile album. Yours is way ahead of mine. I tried planting the Tarahumara Chia seed I finally found (it was probably from about 2006), and only got one seedling out of all the seed. But the other little chia plants from seed from the outlet store are now maybe 2" tall. I wonder if it would be worth trying to grow to seed this late in the season? Even if I planted in a container and brought it inside once it gets cold, would it go to seed? I wonder. But plants really do seem to have that "will to go to seed."

July 27th, 2009, 12:12 PM
Hi Again my I don't know the variety of Chia I have The seeds where mostly black with some lighter colored ones, but that doesn't give a person any idea of the variety. My seeds came from the health food store. depending on how many seeds each plant will make will decide wheither or not I will try growing it in mass some where. I love using them, but at $15.00 or more per pound they use up my resorces very fast. I can buy a lot of other very good seeds to add into my bread.
George W.

July 27th, 2009, 01:04 PM
I've grown chia (salvia chias) for several years...I purchased 3 plants from Companion Plants in OH several (many) years ago...they are perennial here in central Texas and more so since I keep them in a subzone of 9a against a hot wall....I use moderate water, like most salvias, they tend to enjoy the dry side. The blooms are okay, not the reason to grow them, but a part of the process. I have noticed this year that the butterflies seem quite drawn to the clevelandii and chia salvias. I harvest seeds from July through frost...which we did not have last year until around February!...if you are going to eat the seeds, it should be a small amount...too many chia creates other problems, as do many of the herbs....if you are purchasing seeds, check for the hispanic/latin food markets, it is a lot cheaper there than in the traditional grocery stores.

Anything else about growing you need? Oh, yes, I do trim the plants down after Christmas...I have never seen a host butterfly on them so I dispose of the twigs...the scent is minor and not a reallly good reason for keeping the stems.

July 28th, 2009, 09:45 AM
great info all! i bought Tarahumara Chia seeds from Seeds of Change this year and they are about a foot high, and still in their small cells. am going to try and transplant them to the perennial garden today. for being so cooped up, they are amazingly green and healthy looking....makes me think they might be a good contender for container growing.

forgot to ask what the flowers are used for? the packet says 'pick flowers just before peak of bloom", then collecting seeds...

and, wildseed2u, where is your picture of your chia plants? i looked through your albums (beautiful!) and couldn't find them....

August 3rd, 2009, 07:04 PM
Hi ya bunkie, the photo of my chia plants is the first photo in row three, they are about 8 plants in one pot I just wanted to see what the plants looked like and get a idea of how many seeds one plant would give me then multiply it by about 30 plants. The plants don't look like much kind of reminds me of some of the weeds I have been pulling up. I have never heard about any one using the flowers I guess they could be eaten in a salad, but then wouldn't that cut back on the amount of seeds that you could harvest? I have been doing some reading about Black Cumin seeds (Nigellia savita) sorry if the spelling is wrong on this, I am growing a few of them also, but I can see to get enough seeds of them along with flax seeds and of course Chia you would most likely need quite a few plants just to get a pound. I guess if you had a very large area that you could plant out it would make it worth while growing them. I went to my health food store today to stock up on some Chia seeds, but they had a run on them and were out, just my luck as I spent the money I had for them of some fruit, now I will have to wait till next month. I did get stocked up on my Kitchen Sink bread supplies, so I will only be out of Chia and Black Cumin seeds.
George W.

October 23rd, 2009, 04:52 AM
Hi. I grow Chia, the Salvia Hispanica variety, which is the little brown seed. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytochemicals that are great for our health. Chia doesn't need a lot of care for growing. Just plant the seeds in SPring direct into soil for best results, water well initially, and keep the ground moist until the seeds have germinated. Water if you have intensly hot days, otherwise Chia doesn't need much moisture. Cheers Carol

October 23rd, 2009, 06:28 AM
You mean there's an actual Chia seed?

I thought Chia was just an Obama head that you grew alfalfa on.

October 23rd, 2009, 10:27 AM
carolraethel, you are from New Zealand? Is it hot and dry or cold and wet where you live? just wondering what "zone" you would be in here, I'm not familiar with New Zealand at all. :confused: That is cool you grow chia!

How do you harvest and winnow the seeds?

October 26th, 2009, 04:41 AM
Hi, yes I am in New Zealand. We are heading into Spring, lots of wind, hot days and rain every 3 days or so. Great for starting a Spring garden. The flowers of the Chia plant aren't much use. You need to let the flowers grow into seed heads, and harvest when the heads begin to brown. If you are growing Chia for grain, pinch out the growing tips when the plant has 3 pairs of leaves branching off the main stem, this will encourage more growing stems and more flowers. THe plants can grow up to 1 metre high, and a plant sown in mid Spring, can yield 1/8 to 1/2 cup of seeds, depending on how it is grown.

October 26th, 2009, 04:47 AM
To harvest the seeds, you wait until the seed head begins to brown. Pick one of the seed purses and holding upside down over one hand, rub between your fingers until the seeds fall out onto your hand. They should be brown, and can range from light brown to dark, with little spots. If not, let them mature a bit more. When you are happy they are mature, cut the stems down near the base of the plant, and tie bunches together and hang in a dry airy place (under the eaves ideal) or place upright in a dry bucket like a huge bunch of flowers.

Let dry (2 to 3 weeks), and rub another seed purse and the leave should ping out easily.

Extracting can be done in a few ways, the least time consuming is to strip the seed purses off a dry flower head, into a food processor. Then turn it on for a minute or so (the seeds won't be damaged)

Then you can winnow them to separate the grain from the chaff.

October 26th, 2009, 05:09 AM
Re extracting chia seeds. Forgot to mention, if you are extracting seeds with a food processor, you need to run it until the seed purses break up to powdery chaff. To winnow, use two big bowls and a breezy day. Put Chia and chaff into a bowl, and hold it above the other and tip the grain into the bowl. Experiment with heights, you will do this a few times. Keep pouring from one to the other until you are left with the seeds. If there are purses not broken up, just seive them out.
For more information about growing Chia, extracting and using the seeds, along with all the benefits, go to chiahowto.com. I have an inexpensive ebook that goes into depth on the process from wo to go. Chia can help with weight loss and help control diabetes, it is worth checking out.

October 26th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Hi all the chia I grew for fun and study didn't bloom for me, before we got some frost. I brought one pot of the plants in to see if they would go ahead and bloom so far they haven't done anything but look a bit sick from getting a bit to cold. I think the problem was I started them to late, I will try them again next year and start them off early I my try growing a good patch of them next time and not in pots. I did read something that parts of the plant can be used to make a kind of herbal tea although I can't remember where. I really like using them in my bread I run the seeds in a blender to break them up some as I can't get chia flour at my health food store, the flour is some what expencive compared to the seeds. If I can grow them here, it would be great as I could save some money by growing my own although I'm pretty sure I would need to grow quite a few plants just to get a pound of seeds which wouldn't last me very long although every little bit helps. The more I read about them the more I like using them I even put them in my twelve grain mix for breckfast. Since I got sick and had my imune system wiped out by heavy drugs, I have made it a point to try and extend my life by being and using herbs that helps my system recover from the onslot of modern drugs that I have to use daily. I'm very glad to see that word of this site has spread so far as New Zealand I visited there 40 years ago when I was in the Navy and was amaized by all the friendly people I met and still remember the wonderful sites there was to see. Sadly I will never be able to return, but its a wonderful place to visit.
George W. Z5-6 Norwood Mo.

November 2nd, 2009, 01:14 AM

Yes, the plants don't like frost. They need to be sown mid to late spring when the ground has warmed up, and they prefer to be sown direct into the soil, rather than transplanted. I get about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of seeds per plant. Chia is great for rejuvenating the body, it has a lot of life giving properties. If you want to grow heaps, try and get in lots of plants. I have 100 plants on the go, (so far) and they take up an area that is 4 meters by 3 metres!!
Good luck!

November 2nd, 2009, 07:07 AM
I have grown them just for the salvia plant for several years...I cast the seed in the fall, cover it in dillo dirt and make sure that occassionally it gets rain...seedlings by December and plants by February...blooms by April or whenever it gets hot....but that is central Texas. I have a friend that raises herbs in SC and her method is pretty much the same...she winter sows for spring blooms. Chia is one of the few salvias that I have to resow annually since it does not reseed, even here where it does not get below 30 deg...at least not very often. It is a beautiful plant, whether you chose to use the seeds or not....hummingbirds love the blooms.

November 13th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Does anyone on here grow chia? I have Tarahumara chia seed, and don't know anything about how to grow it(??)

Nope, I never did, but I do believe I live where it's possible to grow it; and if I can get a decent return from a small planting, I'll try it. Just tried grinding and eating it for the first time, it's not half bad. I can see putting it in my breakfast cereals and breads, or even eating it freshly ground and used as part of a seasoning blend. I like it. I'm growing some next year, and will be getting a lb. from Mountain Rose Herbs with my next order from them. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

December 10th, 2009, 12:10 AM
And thanks to the mention that the flower heads are spiny earlier in the thread, I'm about 75% certain that I'm pretty well surrounded by a rather healthy population of the local variety, Salvia columbariae. :D
(Ooooh, 90% sure thanks to a picture of a dried flower head on google!!)
Just need to hike out a bit and examine the dried out base leaves for proper form.

January 4th, 2010, 05:35 AM

Firstly - I have been following this thread with interest - I would love to grow my own Chia, but have had 2 bad experiences with buying seeds from the US, and am going to give the Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds Aztec Superfood variety a try (I'm ordering through Amazon). I'm not sure, but could the problem be that the seeds I'm buying are for consumption mainly? Or does it make a difference which 'variety' I plant. (are there any other sources that I could try?)

Also - I've just registered on the forum, and would love to know how to work out what USDA zone that Johannesburg, South Africa relates to - I'd like to be able to relate a bit more to some of the awesome content on this forum/web-site.

Many thanks,

January 4th, 2010, 10:01 AM
welcome aboard chad!

as far as buying the chia seed, Baker Creek has Crown Jewel Chia, which i purchased this year. Seeds of Change also has some seed that i purchased last year and grew in a pot.

where did you buy your seeds from, maybe a grocery store? if so, they might have been treated with heat or some such process that killed their germination capabilities.

here's a zone hardiness map for Africa....hope it helps...


January 4th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Oooh, I may have to do some seed trading with Chad down there in a zone 11-ish climate. :D

Some quite interesting plant species in that part of the world. Some here too. ;)

Maybe I'll change my name to FritzDaKhat ? lol

January 5th, 2010, 06:58 AM
Hiya Fritz and Bunkie,

Thanks for the quick response... :)

@bunkie - I haven't been able to find anyone locally who can provide, so I've been mail-ordering with a (sigh) crazy long wait each time. I'll google the names you gave me, but if you've got the contact details handy...?

@Fritz - ayah - there are some exotic african plants to be found here ;) looking at the link from bunkie I'm about an 8-9 zone though..

thanks again for the assist so far...

January 5th, 2010, 12:30 PM
here you go chad...

baker creek...


seeds of change...



January 5th, 2010, 01:51 PM
Thanks bunkie!

Seeds of Change don't ship outside the US and Canada, so I've ordered from Baker Creek, - I've mailed TLC to see if they ship in amounts smaller than 3.5 lbs... I could smother my entire garden with so much seed methinks... ;-)

now just to wait for 2 weeks and I can get planting!

January 11th, 2010, 03:36 AM

I have grown Chia for 4 years successfully now. Here are some tips. Sow in mid to late Spring after frosts have passed and when the ground is warm. Water well until well starte, then to stops dehydration. Space about 30cm apart. Block planting is good so the plants support each other in the wind. Buy only Salvia hispanica from a reputed supplier. For further information, see my website chiahowto.com for more information on growing chia, to know when to harvest, how to extract seeds and recipes for using the seeds. CHeers Carol

January 12th, 2010, 01:38 PM
Hi all,
I have just been researching chia seeds as an alternative to wheat and gluten based cat grass and found this site and glad there is so much information about growing it here. I run a cat and bird resort in San Diego, CA and we are always trying new and tasty things for the parrots and chia sounds like it would be a good green to grow for them too. I saw that tlc has the best price for chia seeds, does anyone know what kind it is? I get mine from sunorganics in San Marcos, CA. and it runs about $23 for 3lbs. I'd post the link but I'm a newbie so it won't let me. They are close by so I just pick it up from them. They said it is the Salvia hispanica. I think we live in the right environment to grow it and I hope to be able to start doing so soon

February 26th, 2010, 09:26 AM

I bought a jar of white chia seed from Swanson Vitamins. A pound, thousands and thousands of chia seeds, for $9.89

As an experiment, I put a few of the seeds in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag on the warm back of my computer for 4 or 5 days. And guess what? THEY SPROUTED!!! So what a great and inexpensive source of VIABLE chia seed, eh? Not to mention, the variety is White. (actually, more like light cream color.)

If y'all already HAVE chia you have bought for eating, y'all might just try sprouting a few and they may grow ... YOU HAVE CHIA SEED ... :D

February 28th, 2010, 08:29 AM
Looking for when to plant chia, how to cultivate chia, etc., this page is interesting:

About the most important thing on the page IMHO, is this:

Your friends' experience is the same as mine: my plants barely started to flower in late October and were hit by frost before they could set seed. This is because in chia (Salvia hispanica), flowering is determined by the length of daylight. [italics added by me, ToH]

My colleague Ann, in Knoxville, Tennessee, has also been trying to grow chia. She wrote me on November 30:

I think I won't get any seeds from my experiment this year. The Salba plants and the S. hispanica seeds (white & blue flrs., respectively) have bloomed madly and I can see seeds forming, but the forecast is for a night in the 20s by the end of the week with chilly but not freezing weather until then. A couple of light frosts have withered some leaves in the past week. The plants grew HUGE, with plants nearest the street bowing into the street area.

Chrysanthemums and Christmas cactus are other examples of plants that are triggered to flower only at that time of year when the nights are long and days are short, in the fall and winter. For plants growing in the tropics and subtropics, day-length can still play a role in flowering, but since frost is not an issue, the life cycle can be completed during the winter months.

I have heard that scientists are trying to breed chia that is not daylength sensitive so that it can be grown in temperate zones.

In the meantime, I have a suggestion. Try growing a different species of chia: Salvia tiliifolia (Tarahumara chia). This is an attractive, fairly weedy plant that will self sow in northern climates. It is also the same chia plant that is used in iskiate by the famous long-distance runners, the Tarahumara people of Copper Canyon.

Then again, Tarahumara is in MEXICO. Maybe if you extended the season with a greenhouse, maybe you'd get the plants all the way through flowering to seed?

One of the problems with googling about chia is the tremendous number of websites that EXTOLL the health virtues of chia seed, while totally ignoring the question of how and where and when to grow it!!! Hey, I already know about the health virtues ... everybody on EARTH is repeating themselves on THAT subject ... but it does look like maybe "how to grow it" all the way to a real harvest of chia SEED involves living in the right part of the earth ... where the days are short and the nights are long and at the same time, temps are still warm; in other words, maybe southern California or Mexico.

Here is another page that at least has a photo of flowering chia plants ...

The Ord Valley is in WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S far north, though.

February 28th, 2010, 08:42 AM
i'm going to grow a couple types of chia this year tasty. i'll be starting them today in our greenhouse, then transplant later after frost.

February 28th, 2010, 08:59 AM
Bunkie, ya might consider just LEAVING 'em in the greenhouse ... if they are daylight sensitive, and set seed about October-November, they'll need heat.

February 28th, 2010, 09:05 AM
good point tasty. will have to read the packets again! :D

what's the difference between the white and dark seeds/varieties, or did i miss that?

February 28th, 2010, 09:15 AM
Bunkie, that info about daylength sensitivity was HARD to come by on the internet; I doubt it will be on the packets!

Not sure it's correct, either, but it would certainly explain why more northern gardeners never get the plants to grow all the way to seed.

After a bunch of googling, apparently there is little difference between light and dark seeds; some people actually think the dark ones are more nutritious, but somebody just bred for color white and that's it.

March 1st, 2010, 11:41 AM
Hi all I grew it last year, you'll want to start it fairly early then if you have to transplant it. I just put the seeds on top of the soil and just sprinkled some soil over and around them. If and when they do bloom, the flowers are very pretty but don't wait to long as they will release their seeds. It will take lots and lots of plants to make a pound that is one reason it is so crazy expencive. If you have the space to have a small plot of them, it will reward you with enough seeds to last you a little while, i use the seeds in my kitchen sink bread with has flax, quinoa, amaranth, psyllum, pumpkin and sunflower and sesame seeds in it along with a half cup of chia seeds. I also use Buckwheat and Sorghum , and coconut flour its very low glutin, but man the energy you get from it. I use stevia to sweeten it along with a good pinch of sea salt to help the flavor. I run all the seed through the blender to break them up. good stuff.
George W.

Orange Monkey
March 1st, 2010, 07:15 PM
Chia seed has gelling properties that are good for cooking. Anyway....I used chia seed to soak up water on the basement floor .Anyway I always leave the light on, and in about a week I had the all new Chia Floor from where I dumped chia seed previously to soak up some water. It made the air seem fresher, and my cat thought it was good sprouts.

March 2nd, 2010, 03:47 AM
i grew salvia hispanica... and for some reason everyone who drove by thought they were ganja plants :eek:
...the overall shape is similar, but the leaves are round, not maple-like at all.

anyway, the plants grew to 3-4 ft or so and just barely started flowering when the first light frost got them.

hopefully i will manage to get some of the tarahumara chia for this season, but i can't afford it from native seed/search this year.

anybody want to trade for some? :D ;)