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Amaranth Overview

July 16th, 2010

Amaranth is a beautiful plant! Take a look at the spectacular blossoms from the amaranth variety ‘love lies bleeding’ produced during last year’s summer crop.

But growing these hearty show-stoppers in your garden may not be your first choice if your goal is enough production to feed your family, but WAIT! Did you know that these plants produce tasty greens you can sauté just like you would spinach? And, from what I’ve read, the greens don’t cook down as much as spinach either. (If you’ve ever sautéed spinach then you know how unnerving that can be! You never have enough!)

Here are three varieties we are growing this summer at the UC Davis Good Life Garden…

Elephant Head Amaranth

Hopi Red Dye Amaranth

Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth (see photo above with blossoms)

The photo directly above shows how our gardener Arlene is keeping the plants bushy in order for them to produce more greens. Basically she will keep topping the main stalk of the plant. (That white spot in the middle of the photo is the tip of the topped stalk.) This process will slow the plant from sending out the lovely blossoms packed with grain, but at the same time encourages the plant to sprout more of its bushy, tasty leaves.

If you miss sautéeing winter season greens, give amaranth greens a try for the summer and fall!


Transplanting tips: TIME OF DAY MATTERS!

June 23rd, 2010

Yesterday during a visit to take some photos Arlene pointed out to me that some of our amaranth seedlings weren’t doing so well. (See photo below.)

The amaranth was originally planted in one bed, but needed to move to another. Some Arlene transplanted mid-day when it was very sunny day and warm out. Those seedlings, as you can see from the photo above, are distressed and wilted. On the other hand, the seedlings which she transplanted on a cool and cloudy day are thriving. (See photo below.)

When I asked her why this was she explained that in her experience strong sun and wind can be very hard on new transplants, and, despite her careful and plentiful watering, they could not recover from the stress. However, those amaranth plants that she had re-planted during a cooler, cloudier day were looking much healthier.

I tried to find some information online and there wasn’t much about this the best times of day to perform your garden transplants, though there were plenty of resources on how to reduce transplant shock in general.

For an article courtesy of the University of California division of Agriculture and Natural Resources titled, ‘Using Transplants in Vegetable Production,’ click here.

What do you think? Post a comment to let us know about your preferred planting weather!