How to grow the Nigella sativa
Nigella (Nigella sativa L.), also known as black cumin, is a species of the Ranunculaceae, native to South-West Asia and not to be confused with the Bunium persicum, also called black cumin. Other names with which it is known are: Damigella or Fanciullaccia. In this sheet we will see how to grow the Nigella sativa and the technique in pot or in the ground. It is a small plant, about 50 cm tall with tap root with erect stalks and streaks of an intense green color, with bipinnatosette leaves that form a sort of casing of bracts close to the flower and with flowers, lilac, light blue , white or blue, from which a capsule is generated and from which the seeds, black and angular can be harvested when ripe.
To cultivate the nigella you have to choose a sunny area sheltered from the wind and the cold and an alkaline soil, rich in organic substance, quite loose and well drained. If you plant in the open field prepare in the end of winter a good organic fertilization to be buried in the soil with humus or compost or mature manure, while in pot prepare a mixture with 50% potting soil, 30% limestone and 20 % of earthworm humus or compost. The reproduction of the nigella occurs through sowing, an operation that must first be carried out in protected seedling in February (taking care, during the transplantation, of not damaging the root systems), or directly at home in the month of April. If you want to prolong the blooms it is advisable to sow scalars every 10-20 days, as the nigella blooms for a period of about 2 months; in this way you will have flowering plants throughout the summer. Moreover, to prolong the flowering of Nigella sativa it is advisable to prune the stems which carry the capsules, to remove the dried flowers; in this way the plant will be “forced” to produce new flowers to bring to seed. For irrigation it is necessary to adjust by adding water whenever the surface soil starts to dry out. For potted plants it is advisable to provide the bottom of these with draining material (expanded clay or coarse gravel) and never to accumulate water in the saucers. Among the most fearsome parasites of the nigella, also seen the first period of flowering that is the spring, we remember the black aphids. At the first appearance of these insects we must promptly act several times with washings based on water and soap of Marseilles or even, in addition, an insecticide also to be prepared in the farm or at home based on garlic. Very useful is the use, before flowering, the treatment of plants with nettle macerate which in addition to being a compound that strengthens the plants is an excellent fertilizer. Recall that the Nigella sativa, finds therapeutic applications and is used for both internal and external use, respectively in the form of drops or granules, as well as mother tincture and essential oil. Nigella sativa has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic qualities, sedatives and antihistamines. According to some researches, Nigella sativa has the property of protecting the liver from accumulations due to the prolonged use of certain types of medicines.