The seeds come with growing instructions and are very easy to grow. I have grown them for 2 seasons in my home allotment in England and they shot up. From sowing the seeds to harvesting the seeds was about 5 months. The plants germinate freely in a warm room at around 15 – 20 degrees centigrade. As soon as you can get them hardening off under glass outside as the seedlings have a tendency to bolt. Plant out to the allotment once they are 6 inches high and there is no risk of frost.
If you live in a warmer climate you can sew the seeds directly into the ground. You need the plants to be about 12 inches apart and they will need staking as they grow to about 6 feet high.
Quinoa Growing Cycle For The UK
March – Sow seeds 2 to a 24 pod seedling tray
Once germination takes place remove the weaker seedling from each pod.
April – Harden out the seedlings daily under glass in good light.
Mid May – Plant out to your prepared plot. Do not allow plants to dry out.
Early September – Harvest the seeds.
You can use the leaves of the plant as a green vegetable. It has a strong flavour and can be eaten raw as part of a salad or cooked like spinach. Do not pick too many of the leaves as this will reduce the crop of quinoa seeds you will be able to harvest. The yield from each plant will be 4 – 8 ozs.
Does Home Grown Quinoa Taste Better?
I am always being asked this and the answer is no. I can’t taste any difference except that the saponin coating needs more washing time than the seeds you buy in the shops. I grow quinoa because I enjoy my garden and I am a bit of a quinoa fan. The plants are very much like a 6 foot weed with huge seed heads full of quinoa. And that is pretty much what they are. I will be photographing the growing process thoroughly this season and be posting the pictures here.