How to Plant Chufa: Planting Method in a [Complete Guide]

Chufa (Cyperus esculentus)It is a wild plant that produces rounded tubers with a rough texture which are edible and are used to make horchata drinks in addition to its properties as a superfood.

In Ancient Egypt it was already known that the tiger nut was a hyper nutritious food. In fact, tiger nuts have been found in pharaohs’ sarcophagi. It is said that it was the drink that they consumed.

In general, the cultivation of tiger nuts is not easy. However, if the proper steps are followed, there should be no problem because they are not very vulnerable to environmental factors (something that we do not control).

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Important Points when Sowing Tiger Nuts:

  • When? Crops planted in April have shown to have the most abundant productions.
  • Where? It grows well in areas near the sea. It needs a lot of sunlight. It does not tolerate frost, so it prefers temperate climates.
  • How do we prepare the land? We must put a good amount of organic matter orearthworm humus. The land must be rich. It should be loose, tilled and free of weeds.
  • What type of soil do we use? It prefers sandy soils.
  • How do we water? Ideal, drip irrigation.
  • How often do we water? In summer, almost daily. It is necessary that the soil is moist, but without flooding. The rest of the seasons we can space the irrigation, depending on the rains that there are.
  • When is it harvested? When the upper part of the plant dries up. This is usually in the months of November and December.
  • Plagues and diseases? Sweeper and aphid.

Properties and Characteristics of the tiger nut

This tuber is known bybe rich in essential vitamins and minerals.Its highest content is carbohydrates and fiber. In addition, it provides antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and arginine. It also has moderate amounts of omega-9.

Normally the tubers are round and elongated and of different sizes. Its skin is brown with light to dark tones depending on the type of soil and the time it is harvested. Its pulp is yellow when dry.

Its origin dates back to ancient Egyptian civilizations and was introduced to the Iberian Peninsula with the Arab invasion. It is currently grown in most parts of the world as long as the right climatic conditions exist.

On the outside, it is a plant whose leaves grow in the form of a rosette and are opposite each other.

They measure between40 and 50 centimeters in lengthand are dark green.

Its flowers are very small, ranging from 6 to 12 millimeters. They are reddish in color and sometimes slightly golden. They usually grow together.

When to plant tiger nut? The time

Planting date depends on requirements.

It was usually sown in early July or May; However, thecrops planted in aprilhave shown to have the most abundant productions.

As an interesting fact, attempts have been made to harvest tigernuts through hydroponic crops, proving to be quite convenient since they also increased production.

Something that is recommended that you take into account when planting tiger nuts is to notice that in the subsequent five months no frost _since, in the case of having them, the growth of the plant would be carried out with problems or, directly, it would not be carried out.

Where to plant tiger nuts? light and temperature

Taking into account the months without the presence of frost that the tiger nut needs to grow, it can develop quite well in temperate climates.

The temperatures that it supports best vary between13 and 25°C.In case the temperatures are lower, it is better to sow in a greenhouse or wait for the weather to present better conditions.

Regarding light requirements, the Chufa preferssunny places and grows well near areas near the seasince this regulates the temperature.

If you do not live in an area with nearby bodies of water, you can provide more irrigation so that the humidity lowers the temperature of the soil.

How do we prepare the land?

The growth of the tiger nuts occurs best insandy loam type soils.

This is because the soil is looser and it is much easier to harvest the tubers. In addition, in this type of soil, the tuber acquires a more intense flavor, as well as a larger size and better quality of the skin.

On the other hand, it can also grow in clay soils; however, the washing of the tubers is a little later due to the mud that sticks around them.

Likewise, they can grow in sandy soils, but since they lack a large amount of nutrients, tiger nuts may have problems developing tubers that are of a good size and have a sweet taste.

Also make sure the soil has good drainage and organic matter. If it does not have these characteristics, you can mix the first 30 centimeters deep with compost. Although Chufa grows well in areas with sea, they do not support soils with high salinity.

How do we water the tiger nut?

The amount of watering will depend on the area.

In summer which is normallythe hottest season increases the amount of watering.During the other months, water regularly without flooding the area.

Try to keep the soil slightly moist. For this, as usual,We recommend drip irrigation.

Intense rains and very strong winds can harm the crop as they cause early ingrown.

To avoid this, cover it with a small roof so that they continue to receive sunlight. If the rains are light then there will be no problem with the crop, it can simply delay the harvesting season a bit.

How do we plant tiger nut step by step?

  1. You can sow the Chufa directly on the ground or in a pot; however, there are methods in which it is first allowed to germinate and then planted in the ground.
  2. Once you have purchased the tiger nuts, make sure they are very clean. It is important that you do not wash them with commercial soap, but only with water, since otherwise the tuber can be damaged.
  3. Then place them in water to hydrate for about two full days. Throw away the Tigernuts that have holes, that float or that have an abnormal color as it is very unlikely that they will develop.
  4. Once the seeds are ready, plant approximately five centimeters deep and with a distance of a few centimeters between them to allow them to develop their root system.
  5. Then cover with soil without pressing it and water abundantly.
  6. After a few weeks, shoots will begin, which will be small green leaves above the ground.
  7. The tiger nut harvest takes place between the months of October to November. If you have maintained the growth conditions, you will notice that the leaves are growing and for the months of harvesting they will change to brown and begin to dry. This means that you can now remove the tuber.
  8. Once you have removed it from the ground, wash it with plenty of water and let it dry completely. If you do not use all the tiger nuts that you have collected, you can store them as if they were legumes or in the refrigerator at temperatures not lower than 2°C.

How and when do we harvest the tiger nut?

We must start collecting the tiger nut when the top part dries out.

This happens at the end of the year, specifically duringthe months of November and December.

After the harvest, either manually or with machines, it is passed to the subsequent washing, drying and maturation.

Tiger nuts should be left to cure for a few months to obtain the sweetness that characterizes it.

What favorable associations does it have?

The tiger nut grows well in monocultures,that is, only together with other tiger nuts.

However, it is advisable that you do not make two harvests in a row of this plant since deficiencies are generated in the soil. So that the vitamin and mineral requirements are stable you can plant onions a season earlier or later.

What pests and diseases does it have?

The main pests are caterpillars that attack leaves, aphids and borers.

The genus Cyperus is usually the most prone to borer attacks. You can avoid it by doing what it says onthe favorable associations section.

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