Sesame cultivation: the secrets of a seed with beneficial properties

In this short guide we will learn all the secrets for the cultivation of sesame, one of the most famous and hardy Indian plants in the world.

Let's find out the techniques for grow sesame and obtain seeds to be consumed in the kitchen on our favorite dishes.

The sesame (Sesamum indicum, L.) is a plant of Indian and Egyptian origin: although the earliest provenance is the best known, even in ancient Egypt, sesame was cultivated and consumed regularly.

It is currently grown mainly in the Far East, between China and India, where it is widely consumed in every dish; in Europe it is widespread above all in Greece, and not much in southern Italy.

Sesame is one annual plant from the erect stem, which can reach a height of less than one meter by branching or remaining closed in a single branch.

The leaves are characterized by the decrease in width starting from the bottom: the lowest are in fact wider and longer, and shrink as the apex of the stem is reached.

The flowers are white, dotted with black, with five petals and a cylindrical corolla. The seeds are contained in special cylindrical capsules that collect about 50 each and are formed following the self-fertilization of the plant.

So let's see what are the ideal conditions and the best techniques to grow a sesame plant in our garden or in our home garden.

Ideal soil for sesame

Given its origin, the seed is a plant accustomed to arid, sandy soils with a very high drainage capacity.

Particular attention must be paid to this last point, since sesame resists drought and, at the same time, does not tolerate water stagnation, which is absolutely to be avoided.

Clay soils are also good, but not excessively. In the presence of an excessively clayey soil, in fact, it can be rebalanced by adding and mixing peat and sand for at least 50 centimeters deep.

It does not tolerate soils with high salinity, while it adapts well to basic and acid soils with pH between 5 and 8.

Ideal exposure and climate of sesame

Sesame is one heat-loving plant. It resists excessive heat, but not excessive cold.

Even in the presence of a windy area it proves to be quite resistant, as long as the exposure is in full sun and does not suffer from return of cold and frost.

In fact, already at 10 degrees the plant begins to suffer.

Sowing of sesame

The most common technique for planting sesame is the sow directly on the ground.

Where possible, so where the space is large enough to allow it, it is best to prefer one broadcasting, mixing the sand with the seeds to protect it.

If you don't have a large enough plot, you can still choose the sowing in rows, taking into account a necessary distance between one row and another of at least 60-70 cm.

Finally, if you want to plant sesame in a home garden, the best solution remains the cultivation in pot and then transplanting it into the ground when the plant has reached at least 10-12 cm of development.

The ideal period for sowing is in April, if it is grown in southern Italy, and in May for the northern regions.

Sesame watering

In the initial phase of its life, during the plant's age of development, sesame requires particular attention to maintaining thesoil moisture.

As a result, sesame becomes much more drought tolerant. If the season is completely devoid of rain, in summer you can proceed with one or two manual irrigations, controlling the amount of water to avoid water stagnation.

Sesame harvest

Given the small size of sesame seeds, the harvesting of sesame plants does not occur when fully ripe, as there is a risk of detachment during harvesting and the loss of most of the seeds.

The sesame plants should be harvested immediately afteryellowing of the leaves, generally 3 or 4 months after sowing.

Once harvested, the flowers will begin to darken turning into capsules that contain the sesame seeds. The capsules, which represent the fruit, will open independently upon completion of ripening.

For this reason, the ripening must be completed in the sun, hanging and drying the plant.

In Western culture and in Europe in general, sesame is widespread at the table especially in the form of oil derived from seeds or in grains toasted on bread.

L'sesame oil it is particularly rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which is why, in addition to being of excellent quality, it hardly becomes rancid.

Sesame is, as already mentioned, a very resistant plant.

However, it is not exempt from the attack of aphids, which can feed on leaves and flowers, compromising chlorophyll photosynthesis and plant development.

In addition, sesame can be attacked by some mushrooms how Cercospora, Alternaria is Macrophomina phaseolina.

However, these attacks are extremely rare, especially in home crops. Therefore, it will be enough to take care of the plant and use its seeds in peace.

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