Growing Jojoba Plants

Learn about growing jojoba plants. This unique shrub's oil can be used in place of whale oil and is being considered as a viable substitute for petroleum.
By Tom S. Janca
November/December 1977
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Tips on growing jojoba plants and the benefits of this wonder plant.
Illustration By Fotolia/spline_x


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Tips on growing jojoba plants, including how to profit from growing jojoba and how growing jojoba benefits our planet.

Growing Jojoba Plants

"Jojoba, jojoba, jojoba . . . that's all you talk about," says my wife. And she's right too! I can't help it. Because I know what the jojoba plant means to the sperm whale, the whole balance of nature, and all the peoples of the world!

I didn't always know, of course. It was only in 1973 that I stumbled onto an Arizona Republic article by Maggie Wilson that explained how the endangered sperm whale could be saved by the oil from this desert shrub. And, although I was immediately interested in lending a hand to the whales . . . I have to be honest and confess that what really caught my eye in the piece was the part that said $50 would be paid for each and every two-inch-long jojoba seed that was brought in.

Wow! My home here in Mesa, Arizona just happens to be smack in the middle of the plant's biggest native area. And — since I'm a nature lover, prospector, and at least a for tune seeker — I wasted no time in rushing right out to fill my pockets with those two inch-long seeds.

Well, I didn't find any (although I did find some one-inchers weighing two grams . . . which is far above average). But while I was looking I learned that the jojoba is a very, very unique plant. Not only can it save the sperm whale . . . but it can bring new life to and lands, provide millions of jobs exactly where people need them the most in all parts of the world, and maybe even help get the modern world off its petroleum addiction and onto a saner, renewable-resource way of life.

And it can do all of this while turning barren desert land into what can only be called liquid solar energy farms. Wow! Before I knew what was happening, I had forgotten all about a few piddling little $50 seeds. I wanted to become part of the inevitable Jojoba Revolution! I began to write letters, talk to people, and take everyone I could haul out into the desert to see jojoba plants in their natural habitat.

One thing led to another and I was soon in touch with Dr. Thomas K. Miwa, co-director for the U.S. Consejo Internacional Sobre Jojoba and Byrd Baker of the Mendicino Whale War. I even received a certificate from the Chief Jojoba Nut attesting to the fact that I was an active member of the Jojoba Witnesses! Next I was invited to give a talk to the Society for New Earth and to participate in Earth Week at Arizona State University . . . both great honors.

By this time, of course, I was also doing far more than meeting people and speaking at gatherings. I was spending a great deal of my time out in the deserts and mountains, sweating in 110 degree heat, stepping on rattle snakes, sticking my arms into wasp nests hidden in jojoba bushes, and hand-hulling (I didn't have a machine) 500 pounds of the seeds at a time.

I was finding markets for those seeds too. Very rewarding ones . . . and not just in money! Jojoba plantations have now been started in Texas, California, South Africa, and Australia . . . and I supplied some of those seeds! In seven to ten years, each acre of the trees will be producing 2,000 to 5,000 pounds of jojoba oil a year. That should save about two sperm whales per year per acre, and I had a part in it. That's what I've been working for!

And that's what I'm still working for. I've now established Janca's Jojoba Oil & Seed Company (1407 S. Date St., Mesa, Arizona 85202) to [A] help save the whales — especially sperm whales-from extinction and [B] help develop jojoba as a renewable resource energy crop. Our plan is to [1] interest people everywhere in the world in the plight of the sperm whales, [2] let people everywhere know that jojoba oil is an economical alternative to sperm whale oil, [3] build up a dependable supply of improved strains of jojoba seeds with which we can bridge the gap from strictly wild harvests to plantation production of the nuts, and [4] establish a jojoba plantation of our own.

We already have more orders for the seeds than we can possibly fill . . . and I'm currently paying $2.00 a pound for clean dry jojoba seeds and 75¢ to $1.00 a pound for seeds that have been only dried. I hope some of MOTHER's readers will start sending them to me!

I'm anxious to help anyone who's interested get started growing jojoba too . . . not just in big plantations, but also on a smaller scale. Jojoba seems perfect for homesteads, small farms, even front and back yards. It's a beautiful ornamental evergreen that never gets really big and I'm still determined to learn how well it'll grow in other kinds of soil and under many different climatic conditions. If you'd like to experiment with the shrub in your own area (wherever that might be) just send me $1.35 and I'll mail you the story of jojoba and a packet of seeds that you can plant. And then be sure and let me know how they do!

I'd love to get everyone — or, at least, a very great many people — all over the world growing jojoba. Research has shown that the shrub can produce a crop with a cash return five times larger per acre than cotton . . . and do it for 100 to 200 years with very little annual maintenance. This is bigger than all the governments of the world put together! Jojoba is for the people of the earth . . . the people, and all other living things.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get started . . . NOW! Order some seeds and start learning how well they grow in your area. Get in touch with the jojoba organizations listed with this article. If you live in Arizona, southern California, Mexico, or Baja California, start harvesting those wild seeds . . . . I'll buy all you send me. Let's go! Maybe when we have a million people watching 25 million jojobas grow . . . we'll finally find that two-inch-long seed!

Tom S. Janca
Jojoba Oil & Seed Company
1407 S. Date St.
Mesa, Arizona 85202


Read more about the jojoba plant: The Healing Properties of the Jojoba Plant.


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