Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Pods filled with tiny little sesame seeds.

This journey of growing Sesame seeds in my home garden began in December of 2010. I purchased seed packets harvested from the gardens at Monticello, the home of  President Thomas Jefferson. Among the packets were sesame seeds. Wandering around the gift shop on a chilly December day, my gardening brain decided, seeds would be my souvenir from the visit. Year after year I will plant and replant this seed as a reminder of our trip.

Really, this would be my whole point of growing this crop.
Pale blooms adorn the plant
The plants are in the late bloom stage right now. All of my diligent work is about to pay off. A chill in the air should bring about harvest time soon. Here's the low down on how I cultivated Sesame.

  • December 2010: purchased seeds from the gift shop at Monticello.
  • April 25th 2011: Direct sowed 2 small rows of 5 seeds each row. None of which sprouted. The soil temperature here in Ohio wasn't warm enough, that's my guess anyhow.
  • May 5th 2011: reseeded 6 seeds in containers and sat them in a cold box to sprout. Of the 6 seeds, only 2 sprouted. Of the 2 sprouts only one plant survived.
  • June 9th 2011: reseed of 6 seeds once again (being frugile with the seeds from Monticello). Again, only 1 plant survived.
  • July 1st 2011: two spindly looking plants were transplanted to the main garden
  • September 21st 2011: two Sesame seeds plant (stalks) are in the late bloom stage and showing signs of a good harvest. 
So, what have I learned from growing sesame?
Next year I will plant 5x more seeds than I hope to have in crop. The seeds will be started indoors during late April and nurtured with care until the soil temperature warms significantly. This is a basic rule of thumb for any warm climate crop grown in Ohio.

The souvenir seed packet cost around $4.00. I planted the seeds sparingly because there weren't many seeds in the package to begin with. All in all, this seasons crop is by no means cost effective. Next year will be a different story, with 2nd generation seeds to work with. The Monticello seed package itself was quaint. I'm sure I will paste it into our scrapbook. I may not have enough seeds this year to make a batch of Benne Wafers but, there's always sesame 2012.

2 stalks each are approximately 3 feet tall

I'm pleased with my souvenir purchase. Our visit to Monticello lives on. I'm calling this one a success.


  1. That is just about the coolest thing-ever.

  2. Grown in a nut-free garden, making the seeds a nice substitute for the nut allergies in your family.