Some readers will know that I am growing my Own quinoa in my home garden this year. Last year I failed due to the dreadful weather in the UK. I found the following article which the author Dan Jason has given me permission to publish here.
There are so many similarities between quinoa (keen’ wah) and amaranth that it seems appropriate to describe them together. Quinoa, however, is a cool weather crop and amaranth is a warm weather one.
Quinoa and amaranth are two very old, high-protein plants that hail from South America. They were held sacred in ancient Inca and Aztec cultures. Both now hold great potential for self-sustaining gardens in the northern hemisphere. They grow as easily as their weedy relatives (pigweed or lamb’s-quarters) and the quality of food they offer far surpasses that of our common grains. Traditional hand-harvesting methods can obtain bounteous harvests.
Quinoa and amaranth are treated as grains although they have broad leaves, unlike the true grains and corn, which are grasses. Their leaves are among the most nutritious of vegetable greens, but it is their fruit that is usually meant when these plants are referred to as “crops.” And that fruit or grain is quite special. The protein content of these two foods has a essential amino acid balance that is near the ideal. They both come closer to meeting the genuine protein requirements of the human body than either cow’s milk or soybeans. They are high in the amino acid lysine, which is lacking in most cereals such as wheat, sorghum, corn and barley.
Both quinoa and amaranth are quite adaptable, disease-free and drought-tolerant plants. They thrive in rich soil—as long as it is well drained—but both will, once established, produce abundant harvests under dry conditions.
The wild relatives of both amaranth and quinoa have long been familiar to North American gardeners and are often called by the same name of pigweed. The pigweed that is related to quinoa is also called lamb’s-quarters (Chenopodium album), while the ancestor of amaranth is known as red-rooted pigweed or wild amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus). Both pigweeds have the amazing ability to flower and go to seed at any stage of their growth and both will cross with their cultivated progeny. The grower who wants pure strains of either quinoa or amaranth must therefore pay close attention to weeds.
Most cultivars of amaranth and quinoa grow four- to eight-feet high and, when in flower, are majestic plants whose presence emits a special radiance in any garden. Quinoa’s unique flower hues are most striking at a close distance around dawn or dusk, while amaranth’s flamboyant bronze and burgundy tones are dazzling in bright sunshine. Smaller ornamental amaranths such as Love-Lies-Bleeding and Prince’s-Feather have been listed in garden catalogues for hundreds of years.
Article Source:- Salt Spring Seeds