Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Spring Things - Chia

Renewal is what spring is all about.  With spring, comes the urge to garden.  To plant.  Anything.

Ooops, I did it again.

Here I am, with my latest attempt at Let's Hope It Grows gardening.  You know us gardening types.  We have to tinker and experiment.

Spouse and I took a pre-Easter trip to a local farm store called Frog Pond, an indoor farm market in Bainbridge, New York.
And there, I bought these plants.

Chia seedlings.  Yes, the chia of "chia pet" fame.  Many people, nowadays, use chia seeds to add valuable nutrients to their diets, especially Omega 3's.

I had no idea what I was going to do with these plants, but I bought them, anyway.

So I bought, and then I researched, and this is what I found.

Chia plants are an annual in the mint family  Lamiaceae (and they do have mint-y like stems).  They are native to Mexico and Guatemala.  Their botanical name is Salvia hispanica.  Its flowers are purple or white.  It does not like especially wet ground.

The problem is going to be, apparently, that chia is a short day flowerer.  To those who do not garden, a crash course:  some crops are day neutral.  Others depend on either long days (like in northern latitudes here in the Northern Hemisphere or the reverse in the Southern) or short days (being closer to the Equator) i.e. they react to day length to produce their crop.  For example, onions come in either long day or short day varieties.  So do some sunflowers.  Cucumbers and tomatoes, on the other hand, tend to be day neutral.  So, length of daylight is just one factor in determining what plants you can grow successfully.

Chia wants short days.  The long summer days of upstate New York will not result in seeds.  By the time the day length shortens enough, it will (I'm guessing) be time for frost.  If I want seeds, I'm out of luck.  But maybe I will get to see some flowers.

We'll just have to see. I'll be disappointed if I can't, at least, grow these for the flowers.

Do any of you have experience with growing plants that aren't supposed to grow where you live?

23 comments:

  1. I joke all the time about what a rule follower I am.
    And I laughed when reading this because I would never even tried to grab something if I was told it would not thrive. Why on earth am I following that rule?!

    Good luck!

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    1. Go ahead, break some rules! That's what I say.

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  2. I am the world's worst gardener - "I tried, it died" is my motto. I definitely hope you see flowers (better than seeds any day!)

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    1. That used to be my gardening motto, too. Believe it or not! Thank you for my chuckle of the day.

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  3. i love chia seeds. seriously! but unfortunately growing is not my gift! lol

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    1. I think I may have had chia seeds once. I just wanted to see what would happen. Let's hope I can get them through the next week.

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  4. I guess you'll just have to pet them.

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  5. We practice Please God Don't Kill It gardening...

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    1. You aren't related to Leanne above, are you?????? Chuckle #2.

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  6. I only recently learned about chia seeds. They were an ingredient in a smoothie recipe that also contained oatmeal. Not bad, actually.

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    1. Some of my co workers use chia. I understand it is a really good thickener.

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  7. Wow....so much of information here.. love the pics.. my mother likes gardening.. she always tries to learn about a new plant or a new way .. :)

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  8. I always saw those chia pet commercials and wanted one growing up. Now I use chia seeds in my breakfast :)

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    1. I've never had a chia pet. Honest! I know several people who use chia seeds in their breakfast.

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    2. I've had chia pets. Are the sprouts edible? I don't think we knew that, back when the craze was all the rage.

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  9. I never knew about Chia seeds so thanks for sharing. I try to maintain my small balcony garden and sometimes I want to experiment a bit. Spring is a good time to grow some new ones and your post reminds to do my bit this weekend :)

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    1. Please do, Parul. I'd love to hear more about your little balcony garden. You may also want to visit my "P" A to Z post.

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  10. Good luck with your new acquisition.
    You will laugh when I tell you I bought basil seeds (called 'sabza' in India) under the mistaken notion that they were chia seeds. They're not the same thing, I found out later! ;) https://lentilsandlunges.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/chia-or-sabja-there-is-a-difference/

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    1. I will have to read that, Corinne. I used to be able to grow basil from seed when I lived in the "heartland" of America- but somehow, in upstate New York, I have to buy plants.

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  11. Oh, I love Frog Pond! It is located about 1/2 a mile from my childhood home, though it didn't exist until years after I left! As for your Chia, I wonder if it would work to plant them in a spot that gets sunlight for only a couple hours a day and deep shade the rest of the day. Or keep them as indoor plants and maybe they'll bloom in the dead of winter? Good luck!

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    1. I have some other Frog Pond posts here and there. I can't believe I only "found it" two years ago, after having been told about it for years. All those years wasted. You either love it or you don't, and I love it!

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