Sésame / Sesame
You can grow sesame seeds in Quebec!
That's right, sesame seeds can be grown in Quebec.
We know this because we've been growing them for a number of years on our farm!
We start sesame plants indoors on May 1st. The seedlings grow quickly and we plant them out on June 1st when there is no more chance of frost. (If you are in a colder area, be prepared to cover your plants on chilly nights!)
Plants grow to about 4ft tall and start blossoming in July with pretty purple flowers that look a like foxglove. The flowers drop off to reveal upright green pods that gradually mature to brown.
At full maturity the pods open revealing rows of seeds - sesame seeds!
Ideally, you should wait till the pods are fully dry in the field to harvest but weather rarely cooperates! If frosty nights are in the forecast, you can harvest plants with almost mature pods and let them dry indoors or in a greenhouse. You'll see the pods continue to mature indoors. Break a few pods open to see whether the plants are ready to be threshed.
To extract the seed, stomp on the pods to break them open. Use a screen or spaghetti colander to separate the seeds from the chaff. Pour the seeds in front of a box fan to blow the chaff away. And voilà! Sesame seeds!
A note about climate: we grow in Zone 5b so if you're growing sesame seeds in zone 3 or 4, you will likely need to provide a bit more love and weather protection to get the plants to maturity.
We got our original sesame seeds from Greta's Organic Gardens near Ottawa. So we aren't the only people growing them in a northern climate!