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How to Plant & Harvest Chia Seeds

Chia is an annual herb that is a member of the mint family. Its seeds are highly nutritious and contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C and a host of other minerals. Consequently, many health-conscious gardeners want to grow the chia at home so they can harvest its nutritious seeds. The chia plant is quite easy to grow in western North America where it grows wild. Once sown in August, the chia can be left to its own devices until the flowers dry and it is time to harvest the seeds.

Spread 1/2 inch of sand and 1 inch of aged compost over the soil. Then loosen the soil to a depth of 3 inches with your garden hoe. Turn in the sand and compost as you go.

Hand broadcast the chia seeds over the soil. You will need roughly 1/4 cup of chia seeds per square foot. Sprinkle them so that there is a little space between each seed, but don't worry too much about accuracy.

Lightly rake in the chia seeds.

Sprinkle roughly 1/4 inch of charate (the burnt remains of plants) over the seed bed.

Lightly water the seedbed so that the soil is moist. Continue to keep the soil moist until the chia seeds germinate in about two weeks. Once the chia seeds have germinated, they should only be watered in case of drought.

Chia seeds are ready to harvest when the flowers have yellowed and dried. The easiest way to harvest chia seeds is to pull up the entire plant then beat the stalks over a container in order to collect the tiny seeds.


Some chia seeds need pre-treatment before planting. Ask your supplier if this is necessary. Chia will self-sow freely if the seeds survive predation by birds, mice and ants.

Each flower produces up to 13 tiny seeds.

Chia seeds need full sun to grow.

Chia seeds will only grow in USDA growing zones 9 and higher. If you do not live in these zones, chia can be grown indoors in a planting tray that is filled with 1/3 potting soil, 1/3 sand and 1/3 aged compost. Keep the soil in the planting trays moist and in low light until they germinate. After germination, mist the tray with water every day or two and move it into full sun.

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