Chia originates from Mexico and is grown for it's seeds because they're a very good source of protein, fibres and omega 3 fatty acids.That is why Chia is used in so many health drinks and shakes.The plants seldom flower in our European climat and are mostly grown as sprouting seeds. These very healthy sprouting seeds can be added to salads, soups, stir-fries and lot of other dishes. Add the sprouts at the last moment of cooking to preserve their crunch and the healthy nutrients. Non hardy annual. Height: 50 - 100 cm.
Chia can be sown year round indoors as a sprouting vegetable.
Sow the seeds in a thin layer of moist potting soil and cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Keep the germination temperature even at about 15 - 20°C by putting the trays with seeds in a propagator. Germination takes about 14 - 42 days, but it can take longer. It's important to keep the seeds moist al the time, but not to wet to prevent the seeds from molding,
When the seedlings emerge, they need an even temperature of about 20 - 22 °C and a lot of light. Harvest the sprouts when they are 5 cm in size by cutting them with scissors. The soil with the roots has to be discarded.
Chia is also grown for it's seeds. This is not easy in our European climat because the plants need al lot of light and warmth. You can try to keep some seedlings to grow them on in large pots with some good free draining soil. Put them in a warm and light greenhouse or hothouse and keep them moist and well watered during dry spells. The seeds of Chia develop after the plants finished flowering with purple or white flowers. The seed heads have to be completely dry and light brown before the seeds can be harvested. The plants have to be completely died down and whitered. Harvest the seeds by seperating them carefully from the plants. These dried Chia seeds can be use to add them to healthy smoothies, porridges, cereals, salads and they can also be used to make a cooling drink.