Gardening

How to plant amaranth

There are dozens of species of amaranth, most of them native to America. Some species are cultivated especially to harvest their seeds, while most species can have their leaves consumed when cooked or braised, or even raw when the leaves are very young. Both seeds and leaves have a high nutritional value, being especially rich in lysine, an essential amino acid in human food. Many species and cultivars of amaranth are grown as ornamental plants in gardens.

The most cultivated amaranth species for seed production are:

Some of the most appreciated species for use as vegetables, in addition to the Amaranthus cruentus species mentioned above, are:

Climate

Amaranth is a plant that prefers a subtropical or tropical climate and can be grown at temperatures between 22 ° C and 30 ° C.

Brightness

These plants need direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily.

Ground

Ideally, the soil should be well drained, deep, fertile, rich in organic matter and with a pH between 5.5 and 7. However, these plants are quite tolerant in terms of the type of soil, even tolerating slightly saline soils or subject soils. soaking for short periods.

Irrigation

Irrigate frequently so that the soil is kept moist while the plants are young. When well developed, the deep roots of the largest species can allow plants to withstand short periods of drought.

Planting

Amaranth is planted by seeds, which are small and must be close to the surface to germinate. Thus, only sowing should be superficial or a light layer of sieved soil can be used to cover the seeds.

The seeds can be sown in the final place or in sowing, small pots, cups made with newsprint and other containers. The transplant should be done when the seedlings are 7 to 10 cm tall.

The spacing used varies greatly depending on the species and cultivar, and there are no established recommendations for all. Some general recommendations are to use a spacing of 75 cm to 1 m between the rows and 20 cm to 60 cm between the plants intended for seed production, or 20 to 30 cm between the rows and 10 to 15 cm for cultivation like vegetable.

Amaranth, depending on the species and cultivar, can be planted in planters and pots. Some species or cultivars can grow a lot, also having deep roots, and therefore are not suitable for pots and other containers.

Cultivation

Remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources while the plants are young. Most species show abundant foliage when the plants are well developed, rarely allowing invasive plants to grow.

Several species of amaranth are themselves invasive plants in vegetable gardens and plantations, which can cause damage in plantations of other crops. The natural presence of these plants in a location usually indicates that the soil has good fertility.

Avoid using nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as these plants have the ability to store nitrates in their leaves and branches.

Harvest

Seed harvesting can take place between 80 and 90 days after planting. The panicles are harvested and left in the sun to finish drying for two or three days. They are then beaten so that the seeds are released.

The leaves and tips of the branches can be harvested from 55 to 70 days after planting, when the plants are approximately 25 cm tall. The branches sprout, allowing new cuts to be made.

Amaranth can accumulate nitrates in its leaves and branches, thus being able to intoxicate and even kill cattle and other ruminant animals.

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