How To Grow Black Sesame Seeds | Growing Requirements | Germination
Rich with antioxidants and phytonutrients, black sesame seeds are not just an attractive condiment, but it is a medicinal herb that tastes also great! This year, I’m growing black sesame seeds in my home garden.
The main difference between black and white sesame seeds is the flavor. The black ones have a much stronger flavor than the white ones. In fact, sesame seeds come in different colors like white, yellow, red, brown, gray, and black.
So, black and white sesame are both sesame seeds but are different varieties of sesame. According to some researchers, black sesame seeds tend to have higher antioxidants than white ones. And probably that is the reason why they are considered to have medicinal values and also used in food preparation. Whereas, white sesame seeds are used mainly for oil production.
When to start the seeds?
Sesame seed plants can be grown as soon as the frost is over in your region. If you are planning to grow them outdoor only, then you should wait at least for a month after the last frost. If you are lucky to live in a climate where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate much and stays at least above 55–60°F, you can grow them any time of the year. From my past experience of growing these plants, I can tell you that even though sesame plants are drought tolerant in the early days they do well only if the temperature is optimal for them. Sesame seeds will germinate and grow faster when the temperature is above 70°F.
Now even though sesame seed plants are sensitive to temperature and produce more when the temperature is above 70°F, it doesn’t mean that they will stop producing when frost starts. They follow their own timeline. So we have to plan accordingly. For example, If I start plants. in April the plants will mature in about 3–4 months plus a few weeks more for seed pods to dry completely. So, I’ll probably harvest in August. So there has to be at least a 5 months frost-free growing period to grow these plants successfully when you are growing them outdoors.
Last year, I got one harvest and once the plants were done with all seedpods, the main stem started dying. I thought that the plant was done producing but since the plant was potted with other plants, I didn’t remove the plants for the fear of damaging the roots of my eggplants.
I noticed that the new small shoots were forming near the base of the plant. I just cut the main stem off just above these new shoots. This side shoots again grew back in new stems and they also started producing more flowers and seeds. So, I could harvest twice from the same plants between April- to late fall before finally, the frost hit us. I’m not sure for how long the plants can sustain. like for how many years.
Germination time is about 5–7 days.
Sesame plants prefer well-draining loamy soil with neutral to slightly alkaline pH. The plants do not like clay types of soil and it doesn’t have to be very fertile. So not a demanding plant.
The depth of sowing seeds
Germination of the sesame seeds is very easy. The most important part is to keep the young seedlings safe until they are mature enough for transplant. I germinated seeds under a grow light in a plastic cup. I filled the cup halfway with a seed starting mix that is rich in coco coir, vermiculite, and a little bit of compost. I dropped the seeds in this mix and covered them with an additional 1/2 inch of seed starting mix. For direct sowing, the seeds are sown about 3/4- 1 1/2 inches deep. The top 1/4 inch is covered with dry soil.
I covered my tiny greenhouse-like mini assembly with a transparent Ziploc bag and secured it with a rubber band.
The seedlings emerged in about 5–7 days. As soon as the seedlings emerged I took the plastic bag off. There was a lot of water condensation as the seeds germinated. Some of the seeds got some fungal infection and I had to discard the thin layer from the top. So, this is something to remember next time. If you notice too much moisture condensing inside the pot then it should be uncovered immediately. or germinate the seeds in an uncovered container. The next step is to transplant the seedlings to a new bigger pot since the seed starting mix did not have much nutrition. I prepared a new pot that is going to act as an intermediate pot for the seedlings.
I will share with you how my plants do in about 2–3 months when they start producing.