Average outdoor temps need to reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit before planting the seedlings outdoors. The Amaranthus genus is a complicated one, featuring at least 75 annual and perennial species that easily cross-breed and hybridize. The closer you can get them, the better they look once fully grown. Choose a smaller variety for decor and salad greens. Your email address will not be published. [Video] 8 Keys to Winter Gardening In An Unheated Hoop House, Winter Composting Tips to Preserve Beneficial Insects, [Video] How to Get Started Growing Indoors, 6 Alternative Gardening Methods for Growing Your Own Food – Besides a Traditional Garden, [Video] Quick Tutorial on Planting Garlic, Learn more about growing your own superfoods at the Superfood Garden Summit. If you sow seeds directly outdoors, wait until a week or two after the last frost to allow the soil to warm up. It's also possible to collect some of the seeds in fall and replant them the following spring. Many of these types of pesticides are broad spectrum designed to eliminate multiple insect pests and may contain ingredients that aren't meant to be ingested by humans. Today, most gardeners are familiar with Amaranthus species such as A. caudatus (love-lies-bleeding) as ornamental plants, and many don't even realize that amaranths are also edible plants that can be grown for the grain-like seeds and edible leaves. You can eat both the seeds and the leaves from any edible amaranth plant, though larger plants will tend to provide a larger crop of seeds. Amaranths produce enormous quantities of tiny seeds that will rampantly self-seed around the parent plant if you don't carefully harvest the seed heads when they mature. In fact, once-upon-a-time, this was the primary reason amaranth served as a staple in home cottage gardens. Regardless of your cultivar, amaranth leaves can be harvested at any point. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Large growth and heat won’t make amaranth bitter like other leafy greens. However, its beauty doesn’t detract from the its value as an edible crop, and in recent years, there has been a resurgence of gardeners growing edible amaranth for home consumption. Or, you can cut the whole plant down off at ground level when it is 1 to 2 feet tall. If consumption is the goal, choose annual amaranth varieties marketed as edibles. When harvesting the leaves, make sure to leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. You’ll get a fresh look and the soil will get a break. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. These are very easy-to-grow plants, as befits a genus with many species that grow as roadside native plants. How to grow amaranth: You can begin planting amaranth seed anytime between mid-May to mid-June. Amaranth is flexible when it comes to soil but prefers well-drained earth with a pH between 6.0 to 7.5, so spread some cottonseed meal or coffee grounds in … Edible amaranth is often grown for the plentiful tiny seeds that hang in tassels from the top of the plant after the attractive red flowers fade. Avoid using commercial pesticides with a "wait to pick" or any other type of warning regarding consumption. Some of the amaranth varieties that are commonly planted as decoration will also provide you with healthy greens. Some varieties are marketed as best for seed production, while others are bred for attractive, tasty leaves that work well in salads. We appreciate your support! Grow amaranth for food, if desired. Amaranth used to be a common crop in many gardens, providing both nutritious leaves and edible seeds that could be used as a staple grain. Amaranth grows well in average soils and will grow adequately in poor soils. Soil Requirements. Small leaves are more tender, but the larger leaves also have a full flavor. To harvest grains, let amaranth go all the way to flower. Keep an eye on the flowers as they bloom and then begin to die back. By using The Spruce, you accept our, 15 Red-Flowering Plants to Consider for Your Garden, 10 Tall Annual Flowers that Make a Strong Impact, Amaranth Adds Drama to the Sunny Flower Garden. Amaranth plants grow well in average to rich and well-draining soil with equal amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Many species are native to the southern U.S. and Mexico, so you can expect it to thrive even when late spring and summer is unusually warm. Regardless of your cultivar, amaranth leaves can be harvested at any point. Only dense clay soils are likely to be completely unsuitable for amaranth. Rotate it around to those frustrating places where you have planted just about everything in the last couple of years. Leaves can be harvested within a few weeks of outdoor planting. The leaves are similar to spinach both in flavor and nutrition, and they don’t get bitter in hot weather as many other leafy greens do, but they generally taste better and are more tender when small. In, fact, amaranth greens are one of the hardiest salad greens for growth in hot weather. I look forward to continuing to share more information with you about this important topic. As far as growing amaranth goes–that’s about all you need to know! Amaranth grows best in well-drained, loose soils with a lot of organic matter, but does well in average garden soil too. As they sprout in spring, the volunteers can be thinned out to about 10 to 18 inches apart, or carefully dug up and transplanted elsewhere. Don't overwater, or you run the risk of root rot or fungal diseases. The closer you can get them, the better they look once full grown. As they sprout, thin the plants out to a spacing of 10 to 18 inches. If you want to eat both the leaves and the seeds, you may want to grow a couple of different varieties of amaranth – a larger one for seeds, and a smaller one for the greens. It’s possible that it will reshoot for another harvest, though you do risk introducing pests to the open stem. Required fields are marked. Keep an eye on them as the flowers bloom and then begin to die back. Like many vegetable crops, they need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day to do well. Before they all turn brown, cut the flowers off and place them in bags, where they will dry. An avid gardener since childhood, I love sharing my passion for gardening with others! Shake the bag once they are dry, or knock the seeds loose over a cloth. In the bags, they’ll dry. Angela England is the author of "Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)," and edits the online publication Blissfully Domestic. If you do everything as stated in the instructions, the first shoots will appear in 4 – 5 days. So you can get away with growing them 10 to 18 inches apart. Growing your own food can help you take control of your own health and food supply, and there has never been a better time to get started! Germination generally takes 7 to 14 days. I started this website in 2015 to help others learn how easy it is to grow your own food using healthy and sustainable gardening methods. Learn how to grow your own delicious organic mushrooms at home - it's easier than you think with this comprehensive course... ©2020 RZH Enterprises, Inc.,   Privacy policy, {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}. Depending on variety, this may take several rinsings due to the amount of chaff. While amaranth is tall, they aren’t necessarily wide or bushy. Sustainable Gardening News is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Large size and heat won’t turn amaranth leaves bitter, as often occurs with other leafy greens. Amaranth can fall prey to many of the same pests and diseases that affect other vegetables. You can also use the leaves of amaranth as a leafy vegetable; the taste is similar to spinach and they can be used in the same way as many of the leafy vegetables, especially in mixed-green salads. Hi, I’m Rose! When planting outdoors, sow seeds about 4 inches apart, barely covering them with soil. Trim leaves off to harvest, and leave the crown and some leaves around the top to continue growing. Before they all brown, cut them off and bag them. Do not forget to moisten the soil daily. The Spruce uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Same with transplanting–these are warm weather plants and frost won’t do you any favors. Amaranth is a light-loving and heat-loving plant, therefore window sills are an ideal place to grow it. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. Part of this renewed interest in edible amaranth is due to recent increase in self-sufficiency and the value of growing your own food, while others celebrate amaranth due to its high nutrient content, as it is sometimes known as a “superfood.”. When amaranth grows to 3-4 centimeters, it can already be eaten. Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener, Herbalist, beekeeper, and journalist with decades of experience propagating and growing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals. Shake the bag once they are dry, or knock the seeds loose over a cloth. If you want to harvest the plants for seeds, it will take about 12 weeks for the plants to reach full maturity. Flowering amaranth plants can still have their leaves harvested to eat, but you may find that the flavor changes after the amaranth plant flowers.