Growing your own cashew tree from a seed may be a lot less convenient than buying the nuts at a grocery store, but it's much more rewarding. Cashew trees will not only bear nuts, but they'll also provide cashew apples, which are rich in vitamin C. For a cashew tree to thrive, it needs to be in a tropical environment with an average daytime temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. If you plant the tree correctly, it won't take much additional effort to get your cashew tree to produce a crop.
Select a well-drained area to plant your cashew seeds. Choose a sandy soil that won't trap water.
Place three to four fresh cashew seeds in planting bags. The seeds should be in an upright position along with a mixture of loose, sterile soil.
Dig a planting hole 350 to 400 millimeters deep and place the seeds inside. Plant any additional trees 10 meters apart. Increase your chances of a successful crop by providing fertilizer during flowering and additional water during droughts.
Harvest your cashew nuts and apples once they've ripened. This will occur six to eight weeks after pollination. The nut's shell will be gray when it's fully developed, and the apple will turn red or pink in color. Watch for the period when the fruit begin to fall from the tree; this is a good indication of readiness.
Process your cashews by freezing the nuts. Separate the shells from the nuts before thawing. Make sure you're wearing gloves, goggles and protective clothing while you're working with the nuts.
- Test your seeds by placing them in water. If they sink, they are fresh and ready for planting.
- Try to plant your cashew trees in an area that isn't susceptible to high winds, which can damage saplings.
- Never eat cashew nuts straight from the shell. The caustic liquid in the shell can cause severe burns.