Sesamum indicum

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Alice

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Sesamum indicum
« on: August 29, 2012, 11:26:33 PM »
Has anybody ever grown Sesamum indicum (sesame)? It has been on my wish list for some time. I understand that it is a drought-tolerant plant and I think was grown commercially around the Mediterranean in the past.
I don't know if the seeds bought in bags for eating/cooking are viable or whether they have been treated (e.g. roasted). I have tried to get them to germinate but without success.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

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John J

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 06:25:04 AM »
My wife remembers sesame being grown here in the village, including by her late mother and aunt, when she was young. The seed has to be fresh and was sown in the early spring, preferably into saturated ground as germination relies on excess moisture. The plants were grown up tripods of canes, or any other sticks that were available. They are drought tolerant but the amount of water they received affected the yield, too much or too little water lowered production. Sorry we can't be more specific.
Cyprus Branch Head. Gardens in a field 40 m above sea level with reasonably fertile clay soil.
"Aphrodite emerged from the sea and came ashore and at her feet all manner of plants sprang forth" John Deacon (13thC AD)

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Alisdair

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2012, 08:19:15 AM »
What an interesting project, Alice!
A society I belong to (ISHS) published a paper back in 1977 on experiments in growing sesame, in Ghana - hardly mediterranean, but the results might add a couple of points to John's guidance. They found that if the plants were grown in rows 60cm apart, close spacing in the rows (7.5 to 15cm) didn't give a better yield than wider spacing (22.5 to 30cm). So they concluded that for ease of cultivation it was better to stick to the wider spacing. The only other thing that might be some use to you from that paper was that they found that in general fertilisers didn't increase yield - but that adding poultry manure (high nitrogen) did give more and bigger seeds.
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

Alice

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2012, 10:43:41 AM »
Thank you John and Alisdair for the interesting info.
Now I have to get hold of some fresh seed...
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Jill S

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2012, 11:18:27 PM »
Alice, halcyonplants.co.uk have seed for sale (non-roasted) or maybe, if it's still there, the man in 'The Tea Pot' herb shop in the old Market Street in town might have some. He seems (seemed?) to stock most herbs/spices so could be worth a look.
Jill
Member of RHS and MGS. Gardens in Surrey, UK and, whenever I get the chance, on Paros, Greece where the learning curve is not the only thing that's steep.

Alice

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2012, 01:10:23 AM »
Many thanks, Jill. I will try these sources.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Alice

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2012, 07:58:20 PM »
I ordered Sesamum indicum seed today from halcyonplants.co.uk. Thank you Jill. I was also tempted by Capparis spinosa (caper) and Glycyrrhiza glabra (liquorice) from their herb seed list. I have in the past tried liquorice (from seed) and caper plants (bought locally) but they perished. Has anybody had success with either of these plants?
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

Jill S

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 11:02:47 PM »
Havn't tried either. But I noticed, last time I was out there, a patch of capers growing wild on top of a wall, south facing, alongside the road to Koukoumavles. I meant to go back and get some seed last autumn. Didn't make it,  but they might still be there. If you have a chance could be worth a look. If not I think I would give in to temptation and get the seed from Halcyon. I gather that they are tricksy to grow, the wild ones however seemed to be very happy being starved and baked!!
Jill
Member of RHS and MGS. Gardens in Surrey, UK and, whenever I get the chance, on Paros, Greece where the learning curve is not the only thing that's steep.

Alice

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 01:17:43 AM »
That's the maddening thing, Jill. You see capers growing out of walls and in cracks in rocks but they don't like to grow where humans plant them! I have seen them relatively high up in the hills (Lefkes) and also on beaches, with their feet almost in the sea.
Amateur gardener who has gardened in north London and now gardens part of the year on the Cycladic island of Paros. Conditions: coastal, windy, annual rainfall 350mm, temp 0-35 degrees C.

pamela

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Re: Sesamum indicum
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2012, 08:54:55 AM »
I bought 3 Capparis spinosa from my local garden centre about 3 years ago.  They seem OK at the moment. Still very small.  I think the difficulty is between planting and getting the roots established. I planted mine half under rocks in crannies in very bad and non practically non-existent clay soil. In my opinion you do need to wet the area over the rocks etc with a fine spray through the first summer but not over water. It is fine line.  Two months ago, I took some cuttings from a friends substantial plant.  All died except one which has a couple of leaves.  Early days yet but I read that you need to take cuttings from mature wood which I did not do, so I will try again.  Now is the time to take cuttings.
Jávea, Costa Blanca, Spain
Min temp 5c max temp 38c  Rainfall 550 mm 

"Who passes by sees the leaves;
 Who asks, sees the roots."
     - Charcoal Seller, Madagascar

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Alisdair

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Re: Capers
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2012, 09:21:12 AM »
... and see the forum discussion on capers - never easy from seed - here!
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society