Cashew are one of the most popular and demanded nuts if not the most popular. The tree originates from Brazil, but it is cultivated in many parts of the world. Since it Brazilian, thee is no wonder that this tree prefers tropical climate to grow such as Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.
Growing this healthy and delicious nuts is not difficult if you provide an optimum growth condition. If you follow the method this article suggests for growing cashew tree, you will end up with a fruitful cashew just like the one in below picture
1. Propagating the Seed
The cashew is made up of a fruit that varies in colour between pink and orange. The fruit is called cashew apple. At the bottom of the apple there is the nuts. Although both are consumable the nuts are the most popular and they are the seed.
For best results, the seed should be less than 4 months old. Young seeds have better chances in growing healthier. Here is a picture that shows how young nuts look like.
Once you get the seeds leave them in the sun for three days until they dry well. Then soak them in the water for a night before you plant them. The seeds should germinate within a month. Now it is time the best spot where to sow the seeds.
2. Soil and Sunlight
These trees are tropical plants that love the sun and require at least 6 hours of sunlight to grow. They need warmth and light to survive. They grow best in a temperature between 25 and 40c. Shading them may stifle their growth and they may not even flower, so it is important that you choose a spot in a farm, open field or a hill.
When it comes to soil, choose a spot where the soil is not rich in clay. These plants prefer sandy soil with a pH level of around 5-6. Soil that does not allow water logging will accelerate the growth of your seeds.
Once you’ve chosen the ideal spot for sowing the seeds, dig a 10 centimetres holes (3.5 inches) for each seed you’re planting. If you’re sowing several seeds, keep at least 30 feet (9.1 m) between each seed as these plants need to grow in adequate space.
These plants take around 3 years to fully grow and start producing. While they’re growing the will need regular watering with changing frequency depending on the season. These plants originating from brazil are used to moderate rainfall. Water them carefully and don’t give them too much water as this may drown the roots and your plants die.
While they’re young water them once a week in summer. This will give them enough water to develop a healthy root system. They will need water in winter. Once they mature after the first year, water them twice week if needed but also do not water them in winter.
Cashes need regular fertilizing during the first year. For best results, apply slow-release fertilizer according to the product instructions around the base of the tree every two months during the first year. From the second year, fertilize with 30 pounds (15 kg) once a year. Also, you may apply farm manure or compost once a year.
The fertilizer should be rich in Nitrogen, Zinc, and Phosphorus These will help your tree many diseases such as Zinc deficiency. They will also improve the productivity of trees as well as the quality of the nuts.
5. Supporting, Pruning,Mulching, and Caring
Supporting the cashew trees is very important to ensure healthy growth. Support also shield your plants against wind and uncontrollable weather conditions. If you don’t your cashew to get blown by a sudden natural even, start supporting your trees while they’re still young. The stick should be changes according to the growth and length of your trees.
Pruning also is necessary for cashew trees. Checking the trees every couple of months, removing the dead, weak and entangled branches will promote growth. Branches that are infected by diseases and pests should be cut. This will help avoid infecting other parts from the tree.
Mulching is required for most plants as it prevents weed from growing and conserves moisture providing an ideal condition for the growth of the trees. Organic matter is the most recommended mulch.
Caring for the cashew includes watching out for pests and diseases. Although these plants are not vulnerable against pests and diseases, but major pests could attack thesuch as tea mosquito, stem and root borer, leaf Miner, and blossom Webber.
6. Cashew Harvesting and Processing
After waiting for three years, now it time to enjoy the fruit of your patience. The trees should be harvested in winter when they are flowering. The cashew apple will be pink or red, or yellow in some cases whereas the nuts are grey. Below a picture of a cashew ready for harvesting:
After picking the fruit with the nut at the bottom of it, separate the latter as it needs processing. The apple is ready for consumption, but the nuts need to be roasted first. Cashew nuts can be kept in the shell up to 4 years. If you decide to store them without shells, you have up to 2 years to roast them.
If you’re wondering why you can’t just shell and eat the cashew like other nuts? It is because they contain liquid that can burn holes in into you. Roasting cashew nuts should be immersed in 210 C° oil for two minutes. Please use gloves and mask during this process.
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