Have you thought of how to plant tiger nuts at home? I want to let you know it’s a big possibility. Be it a large or a small garden. You can as well grow them in containers.
In this article I would love to show you how to plant tiger nuts.
Some of the benefits of growing your own food:
- Is the freshness (straight from the farm to your plate),
- You are sure of what you put in, from the organic fertilizer to natural pesticides that way you eat with confidence.
You can have tiger nuts all year round, it’s a crop that grows easy and doesn’t need much from you.
It’s not one of those plants that needs so much care but definitely you have to care for it.
Tiger Nut Plant Description
Before I show you how to plant tiger nuts,
let’s look at a brief description of the plant to keep you informed and so that you can identify one when you see it.
If you want to find out more about tiger nuts you should check my article on tiger nuts: simple facts, uses and benefits to know. You’ll find that very interesting so let’s continue.
The plants look very much like grass.
If you’re not familiar with the plant you’ll take it for a grass but seriously it’s a grass and in fact in some places it’s considered a weed.
It has strong potential for becoming a weed.
The plant is a perennial crop (plants that stay for several years),
Cyperus esculents is it’s botanical name,
The plant made up of leaves, a stem, roots and tubers,
It has a single stem that’s attached to the root, the stem carries the leaves,
The leaves are slender about 3-10 mm wide, and green in colour,
The tubers grow inside the soil and attached to the roots,
The plant can grow as long as 60 to 90 cm long,
Growing the plant is done via tuber, rhizomes and seeds, the most common method is the tuber and rhizomes
Tuber are round in shape about 7mm-20mm in diameter,
The colour can be yellow, black or brown depending on the variety.
Planting Season For Tiger Nut
Early planting happens in April to July, during the rainy season and late planting happens in September to November.
One seed of tiger nut is set to produce about 50 – 250 depending on the variety.
It grows well under a wide range of climate conditions.
There are several varieties yellow, black and brown. The yellow variety comes in small and big size varieties.
In Nigeria the yellow and the brown are common.
How to Plant Tiger Nut
As always as you will do for other crops select a good location in your garden,
For tiger nuts choose a location where there is adequate sunlight and ensure it’s not waterlogged.
The best soil for growing it ranges from Sandy to sandy loamy soil,
If you intend planting in containers ensure the containers are located in a good place,
If you are growing the plant during the raining season you would like to locate your containers where the rains can reach the plant.
Make sure they are not grown over any plant or tree shading it.
Clear the area if not cleared.
Till the soil to loosen it a depth of about 50 to 60 cm is ideal,
That is because the plant roots penetrate deep into the soil and the tuber grows inside the ground,
Better still I personally recommend making a ridge,
Be sure to add manure to the soil.
How to plant tiger nut in container
If you decide to grow tiger nuts in a container which I love to do, preparations have to happen as well.
If it’s a new container you want to fill it up with the right kind of sand,
And if it’s an already used container, remove the weeds and loosen caked up soil.
Add manure to the soil.
Now we are good to go.
How To Plant Tiger Nut: Seed selection
Now the ground is clear and ready to receive our seed.
You can choice to grow tiger nuts from tuber, rhizomes or seed,
Predominantly the crop is grow from the tubers and some grow them from rhizomes, the use of its seed is not very common
While others grow from seedlings.
You can chose to grow the crop directly into the ground or container,
or you grow seedlings and transplant I recommend this if you have to deal with rodents like rat,
that prevents then from destroying the crop,
or if you are having difficulty growing them from the tuber.
We will be explaining in more details how to plant tiger nuts using the tuber for seed.
You can find the tuber in the market dry or wet, or any seed store.
If you are growing for commercial purposes get good seed, and a variety that yields more.
Where do you buy your seeds? Do share in the comment box below.
If the seeds (tuber) are dry you will need to soak in water for a day that’s 24 hours then you can proceed to plant.
Make a hole about 5 cm deep and drop the seed inside.
Spacing the tiger nut plant
Spacing vary depending on the space available to you.
A spacing of about 15 -20cm per plant is recommended.
The plant will fill up more space, as new plants sprout during the planting process,
Water the soil after placing the seed into the ground.
If you’re planting outside the rainy season make sure you water well, the plant likes water.
Be sure to water early in the morning or evening (once a day) at least three times a week,
there will be no need for regular watering during the raining season except where the rain does not fall for a while.
Harvesting can begin 3 to 4 months after planting.
The tuber in the latter is usually bigger.
If well taken care of as soon as the crop is ready the green leaves begin to dry up that’s a sign,
most tubers and root plants, for example turmeric, ginger, coco yam, yam etc. behave that way.
Harvesting Tiger Nuts
Harvesting happens by digging deep carefully into the soil and putting out the plants.
you will find it in a cluster of tubers.
If the soil is too hard you can pour water to loosen the soil, making it easy to till and pull out the plants to get the tuber.
Care should be taking in pulling out or digging so you don’t break the tiger nuts,
Also, to harvest as many tubers as possible there is a high possibility of losing some of the nuts inside the ground when harvesting.
If you planted in a container you can as well. I’ll turn over the container if it’s a small one and get out the nuts.
Wash the nuts in water to remove sand and stone (this process will involve washing several times).
Once it’s well washed, drain and allow the water to dry out.
At this point if it’s for home consumption you can begin enjoying your tiger nut, snacking it fresh or processing it into tiger nut milk, tiger nut oil, tiger nut flour or whatever you wish.
How do you like your tiger nuts?
Dry to increase the shelf-life,
use sunlight or a dehydrator and store it in a clean dry place.
Pest and diseases
I can recall one of the times I planted tiger nuts on the ground after about two weeks,
I came out to see the crop pulled out from the ground and the leaves scattered.
Rodents, beetles and worms are pests that destroy the plant.
You need to watch out for them.
Rhizoctonia and Fusarium which are fungi that affect the tiger nut plant.