W,H/Matures Grain 12, Leaf 6/Harvest 4/Yield Grain 4-16+, Leaf 68-272/Spacing Grain 12" Leaf 6"
Days to Maturity figures are really just for comparing between varieties within a category. Actual days will vary from location to location, depending on garden conditions.
An ancient, annual, heat-loving grain native to the New world that has been re-discovered as an excellent food source. A member of one of the great weed species so will grow in almost any garden soil. Thrives in heat and full sun - in fact shows a high endurance for summer heat and drought. Best to keep watered though. Often grown as an ornamental - and if you do, do not enrich the soil as poor soil brings out the colors.
Both the leaves and the grain are high in protein and vitamins. High in protein, Amaranth provides essential amino acids missing in other grains, in particular it has a double dose of the essential amino acid lysine which is often missing in vegetarian diets.
Also known Chinese spinach. Leaves are eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or stir-fried. Used as a nutritious vegetable, in soups, stews, curries, fritatas, omlettes, pastas, sauces, etc. The crisp interior of large stems are a fine cooked vegetable like asparagus.
Amaranth has no hull to remove, so this is a great place to start growing grain for cereal, pilaf, and soups. . . When seeds first start to drop to the ground, cut the heads off and hang in a protected place with good ventilation over a tarp to catch seeds. When dry, rub heads to remove seeds and winnow. Amaranth is gluten-free.
Plant after all danger of frost is past in full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Start after your last frost date when soil is warm. Can be planted in succession and harvest when 10-14" tall, before flower. Loves heat and moisture.
Amaranth varieties are optimized for either leaf or grain (except our Golden Giant grain amaranth which does both well). We have both vegetable and grain types.
Leaf Amaranth (code begins with VAM) -- The leaf varieties are optimized for leaf production. These are good both as pot herbs and in salads. You will still get grain but perhaps not as much as grain varieties.
Grain Amaranth (code begins with GAM) The grain varieties produce high yields of grain; while all amaranths make good pot herbs, these varieties may be too tough for salads.