Do you want to grow a Cashew Tree in your garden? But for doing so you need to know certain things which are given below in this article as we will know the complete process of how to grow a cashew from seeds.
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) Trees are very easy to grow but need specific environment and conditions for growing. Cashew is a evergreen tropical plant with big leaves and beautiful pink flowers. A Cashew Tree can grow up to 40 Feet ( 12 m) high.
Cashew is a nut. But apart from this nut Cashew tree also produces a fruit which is called CASHEW APPLE.
Cashew Apple is edible and high in Vitamin C, even more than oranges. In fact a cashew apple may have 5 times more Vitamin C than a regular Orange.
The cashew nut is found inside the kidney shaped shell which is attached to the bottom of the cashew apple.
- Cashew Tree is a tropical plant so they can be grown at a place where the minimum temperature doesn’t fall below 10 C (50 F) and can tolerate temperature above 40 C (105 F) but the average daytime temperature of 25 C (77 F) is perfect.
- Cashew tree loves Sandy or well-drained soil. Never grow cashew tree in a soil which is rich in clay.
- Cashew tree requires at least 6-7 hours of direct sunlight.
- Cashew trees are drought tolerant, but produce more fruits if watered regularly. During the summer, water weekly or twice . Reduce or withhold watering during winter. Over-watering can harm or even kill your cashew tree, so water only if soil is dry and let the soil to dry out between spells of watering.
- Cashew tree will do well without too much additional fertilizer. However, you can give them a feeding once or twice a year with a organic compost or standard fertilizer.
GROWING FROM SEEDS
- To grow from seed, you need the entire raw seed not just the nut. You can buy the seeds from here.
- Be extremely cautious while handling cashew seed and wear gloves as the outer shell (coat) of the seed contains the poison oak allergen urushiol, and may cause dermatitis.
- A cashew seed may last upto 4-5 months but the sooner you plant them, the better.
- Soak the seeds in lukewarm water overnight & discard any seed which is floating on the surface as it is not viable.
- Best time for sowing the seeds is early spring.
- Plant your seeds at a depth of around 3 inches in the ground or in potting mix.
- Cashew seeds will germinate in around 20 to 30 days.
GROWING CARE & TIPS
- Select a sunny and well drained spot.
- Prune regularly to remove weak and dead branches.
- Remove all branches that are infested with diseases or pests.
- Apply organic mulch at the base of your cashew to keep it free from weeds.
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PESTS AND DISEASES
The cashew tree is normally pest free. Major pests that can attack a cashew tree are tea mosquito, stem & root borer, leaf Miner and blossom Webber. So you can spray an insecticide designed for fruit trees.
Besides insects, cashews can be infected by Anthracnose fungus. It spreads because of lot of moisture. It may strike when you’ve had a very wet season as the new leaves and fruits are developing. Infected areas start to grow watery lesions, and they eventually turn rusty brown as they grow. First remove as much of the infected material as you can. Then you can apply fungicide on your tree.
Cashews won’t start to produce fruit until they are around 3 years old. Cashew tree flower and set fruit during winter, and you should be able to pick them within a couple of months.
CASHEW NUT PROCESSING
Each fruit only produces a single cashew nut, you have collect as many as you can to process. Break the cashew pod off the end of the fruit, and you can store it like this for up to 2 years in a cool place.
Do not attempt to break the shell before roasting; cashew shell contains a horrible caustic oil which can burn skin.
When processing cashew nut at home must wear gloves and safety glasses and take special care. To learn more on how to process cashew– Wait for my new article.