It’s August in Augusta and though I’ve never planted a second season before winter, I thougth I’d give it a try. In the following post I’ll be writing about all the veggies and herbs I’m planting and the one’s I’m harvesting in preparation for winter. I’ll start from A-Z. I’ll explain the growth/harvest time and I’ll talk a little about each plant, it’s nutritional value and purpose. So let’s go!
AMARANTH: Amaranthus is a cosmopolitan genus of annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables. Although amaranth has only recently gained popularity as a health food, this ancient grain has been a dietary staple in certain parts of the world for millennia. It has an impressive nutrient profile and been associated with a number of impressive health benefits. For pre-Colombian Aztecs, amaranth was not only a dietary staple, but an important aspect of religious rituals, as the women would shape a mixture of amaranth seeds with honey and even human blood into idols to be eaten ceremoniously. Today, amaranth is often popped like popcorn and mixed with honey, molasses or chocolate to make a popular treat in Mexico called “alegría” (meaning “joy”). Although amaranth derives its name from the Greek for “never-fading flower,” it is amaranth’s highly nutritious seeds (and greens, though they are hard to find), not its vibrant red blooms, that are its most valuable asset.
GROWTH: Amaranth is traditionally a tropical plant, grown in Africa, India, south Asia, and Mexico. It needs a long season, 90 to 120 days, a fact that discourages many northern gardeners. In this, it’s a lot like pumpkins, a crop many of us in the north raise successfully. Other reports say: Amaranth is very much a summer crop. Exposure: Full sun. Zone: Will produce reliably in Zones 7 and up. Needs a nice hot summer for its entire growth period of 40-50 days. Amaranth is a warm season crop that requires full sun. Best germination occurs when soil temperatures range from 65 to 75°F (18-24°C). For southern Canada and the northern U.S., this usually means a late May or early June planting, so we’ll see with this one.
PURPOSE: My purpose for growing Amaranth will be for it nourishment for tea’s from the leaves and roots it nutrional value from the seeds.