Chia – Growing in Georgia

Q: Can we grow chia in Georgia? I like to sprinkle the health-giving seeds on my cereal.

A: I have fond college memories of growing chia on a clay figure of Richard Nixon. He had a scraggly green beard but not much hair! Chia, Salvia hispanica, needs such a long growing season to produce seed that only gardeners in south Georgia could try it.

Like many salvias, it needs the short days of late fall to produce flowers. Even if you get chia to flower, the seeds are so tiny that it takes hours to shake them loose and winnow the chaff.

But researchers at the University of Kentucky are undeterred! They are breeding new chia varieties that don’t have such exacting requirements, hoping to find a new crop for Kentucky farmers. You can try growing chia in a sunny garden next spring but don’t get your hopes up.

New Crop for Kentucky

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