Carob trees are evergreens that are native to the Mediterranean region. They produce a pod that can be ground into a powder that tastes like chocolate. The sugar content of the pods is as high as 50 per cent. Both male and female trees are needed to produce seedpods, and it can take as long as seven years for a tree to begin to bear fruit. Don't plant carobs in climates where the temperature drops below 7.22 degrees Celsius for more than a day or two at a time.
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Things you need
- Carob seeds
- Sandpaper or Thermos bottle
- Tree tubes, about 6 inches tall
Weaken the hard seed coat of the carob by rubbing it with sandpaper or keeping it in hot water for our hours in a Thermos; this makes it easier for the seed to germinate. Only use the seeds that swell during the hot-water process. The others can be placed in sand and kept wet. As they swell, plant them.
Choose an area to plant the seeds. Carob needs full sun and does well on dry rocky soil but can grow in most conditions. It does not do well in heavy clay.
Set tree tubes in the ground. Tree tubes are usually made from plastic and protect the seedling from animals, mowers and inclement weather. Drive the tree tube deep enough into the ground to be stable.
Plant seeds in the tree tubes about 2 inches deep and water them. After the seedlings have grown to about 6 inches tall, transplant them into containers or in the ground. Be careful not to damage the roots. Plants set in the ground should be 25 to 30 feet apart.
Water the trees sparingly as they grow. When they become mature, it should be unnecessary to water the trees. Protect them from freezing weather and animals that might graze on them.
Harvest the pods when they are brown and hard if they are to be used to make carob powder. To make carob powder, wash the pods and soften them in water in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes at 6.8 Kilogram pressure. Remove the seeds and dry the pods. Grind the pods in a blender until they turn into powder.
Tips and warnings
- The pods can be eaten fresh.
- A less common propagation method is to feed the pod to livestock and then bury the animal's manure.
- Create your own tree tubes by cutting PVC piping the appropriate lengths for your project.
- The seeds can also be sowed directly into the ground.
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