Amaranth

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Amaranth
« on: September 05, 2009, 11:29:14 PM »
Amaranth is a showcase plant for the Guerrilla Gardener. Germinates well in loose soils scattered in the early spring. Needs little soil preparation, and competes with wild weeds, being a weed itself. Responds excellent in shallowly prepared soil requiring minimal water.
My favorite use is the flower stocks separated from seed used as ground cover for late planting of other vegetables.
Amaranth seed is very adaptable to conditions, and is very insect resistant. I use it as a companion plant with many lower growing garden plants, ie squash, cabbage, and melons. Creates partial shade for hot summer vegetable gardens while adding a beautiful  topic to the landscape.  Amaranth as shown likes water once a week.  I have plants now in prepared soils reaching over 7 feet high. The plants in dry unattended areas stay short, 1 foot high, but the deep burgundy flower display, dark green leaves with red stalks add interest to any flower garden.  The tall stalks can be trimmed and dried to use as poles in the garden or shellacked for very light weight walking sticks.

The tender young leaves are a great spinach substitute and much more yield than spinach. You can call amaranth a spinach tree.  Recommend planting in lean soils if you plan to eat the greens, because of the nitrate warnings in literature. The abundant seeds can be milled and added to bread.  Seeds can be harrowed out in a drum.

Another big plus, amaranth usually self seeds the next year crowding out undesirable grasses such as fox tail.  Amaranth can be thinned easily.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2009, 11:38:38 PM by Sunsetdrunk »