Gardening

Nigella Sativa: [Sowing, Care, Watering, Pests and Characteristics]

Important points when sowing Nigella Sativa
  • When? The growing season for its famous seed should be done at the end of spring.
  • Where? Preferably, it should be grown in warm climate environments. They occur quite easily, but preferably in places with great sun exposure.
  • How do we prepare the land? The preparation of soil with alkaline pH is essential. It thrives in clay or sandy soils, without puddles.
  • How do we sow? In late spring, sowing by seed, using seedlings prepared in winter. When seedlings grow to a height of between 30-40 cm, they are transferred to the garden.
  • How do we pay? With organic compost , which provides it with many nutrients.
  • When is the harvest ready? In 10 -11 months it completes a complete cycle of germination, growth and development of thousands of fruits that ripen and give us seeds of great culinary and medicinal value.
  • Ideal temperature? The ideal daytime should be between 22ºC to 26ºC and a little more. The night time ranges from 18ºC to 24ºC. Below 5ºC it will suffer a little.
  • How do we water? It can be watered 3-4 times a week in summer and only 2 times a week the rest of the year. It does not support flooding.
  • Diseases and pests? It is quite resistant, but the excess of water can damage it a lot and rot its roots and fungi reproduce.

   

What is Nigella sativa?

A very unique herbaceous plant is Nigella sativa , also known by the common names of black cumin, absinthe or ajenuz. It belongs to the Ranunculaceae family , reaches a maximum of 60 centimeters in height and its appearance is grayish green and has an unconventional whitish or slightly purple flower with sepals larger or more striking than the petals.

Its fruit is encapsulated and to extract its seeds you have to wait for it to mature.

Its flowering period reaches its splendor in the spring and even lasts until the beginning of summer. Although there are species that bloom in the fall .

It is native to Turkey and Iraq, in western Asia, with more than 2,500 fully identified species, but its original variant comes from Egypt. It can be seen today from the Mediterranean to central Asia. It can be seen from Spain, although timidly, until it abounds in India.

   

Medicinal properties of Nigella sativa

Since ancient times, it has been considered a medicinal plant with antifungal and antibacterial qualities, with black seeds used even as a condiment (similar to pepper) or as a powerful bronchodilator to deal with respiratory problems in asthmatics.

Its anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and regenerating property of the skin comes from the thymoquinone component, a powerful natural antiseptic used as an essential oil.

Eliminates uric acid, fights jaundice and increases body heat.

Where should we plant Nigella sativa?

This plant adapts perfectly well to the Mediterranean climate , even when it is of Asian origin, so it supports hot summers without any problems and cold periods, although it does not like frost. A minimum of 5ºC is what it resists in winters.

That is why it prefers sunny days, with exposures of about 6 hours will be more than enough, they support sunlight quite well.

In fact, today it has managed to spread quite easily throughout the world, since it adapts to almost any type of soil.

When should it be grown?

In the case of sowing and multiplication of Nigella sativa, this must be done with seeds, which appear after flowering is a fact, at the end of spring.

The seeds come inside a pod and are very aromatic , similar in smell to nutmeg. That is why they are also called false cumin. These are removed by leaving the sheathed capsule to dry, which protects them from the elements.

The appropriate thing is to cultivate them in seedbeds, when the winter season arrives and then move them to the ground, to the garden where they can fully develop until they reach a height of between 30 to 40 centimeters, or perhaps a little more.

   

Did you know…?
A curious fact about this seed is that it was used even in the tombs of the Pharaohs in Ancient Egypt and Cleopatra used its essential oil to keep its beauty intact.

Its growth cycle is quite fast, because it takes 10-11 months to germinate, grow and give away thousands of seeds for use in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes.

How do we prepare the land?

The earth must have a fundamental characteristic: alkaline soil is the most suitable for black cumin. An alkaline pH suits him very well, but acidic or neutral pH soils still suit him, so much so that this plant can still grow in sandy and clay soils.

A high-drainage soil is very important for this herbaceous, because its roots are actually somewhat delicate and do not support excessive humidity, so the waterings must be carried out in a spaced manner with great care not to drown it.

A preparation of organic nutrients will help it a lot to grow healthily, since it favors the growth of strong roots, as well as the production of its essential oils of high commercial value.

How to sow Nigella Sativa step by step?

If you can buy or access some black cumin seeds, we recommend the following tips to take advantage of its benefits:

  1. Prepare a potted substrate universal culture containing 35% perlite to ensure good drainage of water.
  2. If you prefer to plant them in a garden, remember that Nigella sativa is not very demanding, but it avoids puddles. That is why very porous soils favor it.
  3. It is recommended, once the seeds have been sown at an estimated depth of about 4 centimeters, taking care of a distance between seed and seed of about 5 centimeters. Ideally, do this in spring, in seedbeds or directly in the garden .
  4. It is necessary to water 3-4 times a week in the summer season, because both the plant and the seed need to stay hydrated and the rest of the year it can decrease to 2 times a week.
  5. Likewise, the application of a powerful organic fertilizer is recommended to keep it well nourished. The guano is ideal to help.
  6. Pruning withered leaves and flowers is essential to maintain the health of the plant.

   

What care does Nigella Sativa need?

  • Plenty of natural light is highly recommended. It needs a lot of sunlight.
  • It does not require large daily waterings. Doing it 2 times a week will be more than enough for her to grow healthy, because she does not tolerate waterlogging.
  • It requires the help of well-drained, clay and sandy soils which are its favorite, although it has managed to adapt very well to Mediterranean soils.
  • It is advisable to lavish a good extra dose of fertilizer in the flowering season, between spring and early summer.

What pests and diseases does it have?

It does not usually suffer serious problems with bug attacks but it is affected tremendously when it is subjected to intensive irrigation, because its roots will tend to rot and the flowering cycle will be impaired.

Fungi can attack too, but in general terms it is a fairly hardy and long-lasting annual plant .

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