Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I bought seeds of Joseph's Coat "Perfecta" Amaranth from Baker Seeds:
I read in their book that it is a "catch crop" for cucumber beetles.
Also, Amaranth is cultivated in Asia for its leaves. To be used in salads?

Does anybody has any experience to share, please?

Thumbnail by drthor
Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

here what I found:

Amaranth is a warm weather crop best sown around the same time as corn. The large to enormous flowerheads put on a magnificent long lasting display. Full sun with staking needed if growing for seed /or ornamental.

Amaranth leaves are succulent and nutty when eaten raw for the first few weeks and make superb cooked greens. Eaten in some form throughout much of the world, either as a seed grain or like spinach leaves.

Nutritionally, it is a complete source of protein, which is uncommon for a plant. Rich in vitamins A, B6, v C, riboflavin. It contains such minerals as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Strip the Amaranth's young leaves for stir fry, and allow the plant to mature to full seed head for an outstanding back garden display. Use successive planting for a continual harvest. One of my favorite summer crops - if you love spinach, this will definitely top it.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i havent grown josephs coat..but i have grown loves lies bleeding..and opopeo..both annuals
the opopeo i grew.and still get volunteers..for the birds to eat..they love the seeds..
also the opopeo gets really tall..and have a stunning red flower top.. great for
background areas..
as for nutritional value..ive read similar what you have..
the josephs coat is a lovely plant..just havent tried it.. yet.. :)

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Oooo that's pretty!
I haven't tried the 'perfecta', but grew 'oscar blanco' and magenta spreen. I prefer to eat them raw mixed with other greens, or cooked with another ingredient like pasta or veggies. I can't quite acquire a taste for them all on their own. They do taste like like spinach, but the texture isn't the same to me. I love spinach, so nothing is its

I can grow them in crummy soil and if I grow them in fertile soil they get massive. Then it takes a machete to cut them down. I also try and cut them down before they go to seed or they'll be all over the garden the next season:0)

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

So I understand that they will be my "summer spinach" right?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Grown for the grain it is very healthy and consumed worldwide. I've only grown for ornamental purposes and never thought to graze on the leaves. It is very pretty and will reseed if you are not careful.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

What do you do with the grain?
Cook them ? uh ?

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Drthor, it loves the heat and will supplies greens when the kale and chard have gone bitter.

Pod, I've heard that about the grain and it was one of the reason I wanted to grow it (for the chickens and ourselves), but I'm wondering if certain varieties are better suited. The 'Oscar Blanco' seeds are so tiny, I didn't feel like I could get them clean.

Has anyone grown a large seeded amaranth?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

It appears to be a very versatile plant. Yes, the grain can be cooked like a cereal or even popped like a popcorn. It can also be ground into flour for baking.

I've not tried it and like Cocoa, I think the seeds are so tiny. Not sure what the prefered cultivar for edible amaranth would be.

Here it is near the end of Feb and one of my kitties just came in with a snake bite. She is a sick girlie. Hard to imagine they are out but it was 81 here today.

This message was edited Feb 22, 2012 9:44 PM

Gainesville, FL(Zone 8b)

Quote from Farmerdill :
There are several types of amaranth. The type grown as a spinach substitute is Amaranthus tricolor, The grain amaranth is Amaranthus cruentus.

I would just add that the nutritional data I've seen indicating Amaranth supplies a complete protein is based on analysis of the seeds, not the leaves. And that the ornamental varieties, while technically edible, weren't bred for their table quality.


Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Ahhh, very cool, and informative. Maybe that's why I'm not crazy in love with the flavor. Think I'll try some from the farmers market before investing in more seed tho :0) I've got to try that teensy pop corn too!

Pod, so sorry about the kitty, hope she's getting some rest and feels better soon. I appreciate the warning, I'll make the kids boot up.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Seems I am running into Amaranth information all over...

Farmerdill ~ thanks for the links and additional cultivar names.
Thanks too , Rjogden for the nutritional info.

Here's hoping some of us will grow an edible crop!

Cocoa ~ the kitty is sore but all right which is more than I can say for myself as I try to dose her with liquid antibiotics. Woe is poor ole me... lol

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

WOW podster,
the link you just posted did answer all my questions.

Now I have just to grow it for myself ... and I can hardly wait ...

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

I'm excited for you, Drthor. Report back, I'm curious to know what you think of the taste and texture.

It must be something in the air, Pod, our cats are getting into all kinds of trouble in the last few days. This morning I found our oldest with a cut on his head and it looks like he slept in mud all night????
I wish they could talk.

This message was edited Feb 24, 2012 12:22 PM

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

Amaranth can reseed heavily. I have lots of the elephant head type and they are huge plants. Palmer amaranth is getting to be a scourge in cotton fields now...pigweed weed type.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

That's true, true. Even cutting the seed heads off there are some that still escape!

Pigweed is pretty bad here too. I'm grateful not to be faced with the decision of hiring field help or adding more herbicides.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Amaranth can be invasive. Im growing it too but it is listed as invasive under the right conditions (Texas)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Betsy (Inthegarden) just gave me a little Amaranthus 'Red Stripe' seed, for the leaves, and I at first guessed from the name that it might be Amaranthus viridis 'Red Stripe Leaf' (a.k.a Yin Tsai, Chinese Spinach).

Now I see almost identical listings under A. tricolor, and the fact that most A. viridis have all-green leaves (hence "viridis").

I'm wondering how to identify seed collected from someone's garden as either:
- A. viridis with an unusual red-striped leaf,
- or as any of many A. tricolor varieties.

The vendor was just "J-Kay International", a shipping-trading company, not a seed vendor.

The closest picture I've found is of a Botanical Interests seed pkt:
Amaranth Edible Red Leaf Heirloom
Amaranth tricolor
(even though it only has green & red foliage, no yellow)
Een Choy Hiyu , Caribbean Callaloo , Indian Bhaji

heat loving summer green ... showy ... foliage has a hearty spinach flavor ... loves the heat ... salad greens ... steamed, stir fried, or sauteed

I'm sorry to see confirmation that it is heat-loving! That may be why I got some to sprout, then pout, then wither away during our last, cool summer (highs in mid to low 70s).

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Rickcorey, you might do better with pigweed (don't you love the magenta spreen. It germinates around the same time/temp as lettuce, the amaranth sprouts much later for me.

Thumbnail by cocoa_lulu
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I'll keep my eyes open for a "pigweed" trade.
I always join the Hog Wild Piggy Swap, I would think it would be widely available there!

Maybe I should accept that I just have cool summers, and take advantage of that to grow spinach as long as possible. I trued last year, but I think the soil was too poor and too clayey.

Boy, a lot of things are called pigweed! I found one "spleen", but no "spreen".

Smooth Pigweed, Green Amaranth, Spleen Amaranth , Amaranthus hybridus
Purslane / Portulaca oleracea
Redroot Pigweed / Amaranthus retroflexus
Goosefoot, Pigweed, Inca Wheat, Quinoa , Chenopodium quinoa
Giant Amaranth, Pigweed , Amaranthus australis
Thorny Pigweed, Calaloo, Calalu, Amaranthus spinosus
Tumbleweed Amaranth, Prostrate Pigweed, White Pigweed, Amaranthus albus

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

This pigweed is called lamb's quarters too. lol
It's Chenopodium giganteum
I didn't save seed last year, too dry for them to mature in the lawn. There are already spouts to be seen within the last few days , but they don't mature until late fall. I wish I could send you some now, but if you can't find any or a substitute, let me know :0)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

For those of you interested in Vegetable Amaranth, Evergreen has a good selection Grain Amaranth and Quinoa are harder to find. But there are still folks experimenting with it. Quinoa is supposed to be more suited to cool climates. Much heavier seed yields than the leaf types.

Grand Saline, TX(Zone 7b)

Thank you, Farmerdill!

Drthor, Farmerdill's link reminded me that you might like the perillas.
I tried it a few years ago, loves heat, dry conditions. Like the others it reseeds like crazy. It's considered a gourmet green
I didn't care for it and it took a few years to pull up all the seedlings, but others love the taste. Oh, and the bees went crazy for it!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

That Tree Spinach / Chenopodium giganteum /Magenta Spreen / Purple Goosefoot / Giant Lambsquarters sounds like a monster! 6-8 feet tall? 2-4' wide? Wow.

If it grows in the UK, it must tolerate cool summers, so I could probably grow it. But I would like to test it first, in someone else's yard, who has bigger beds than I do!

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Cats fight get vicious gouge meats, tear tails, snake bites-cats are natural snake enemies, but they will get cautious after being bitten from crawling around under houses, making mud love will be either mama or papas soon, dont think antibiotics work on snake poisons...raw skin/missing hunks of hair... think I would go for the horse shed and the purple stuff (gentian violet) if anything, since they will be cleaning the sore places when they start feeling less sore. And kitties that are neutered catch fits being out in a fertile world in this season...

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Amaranth has been around since the Mayans at least, it is found in the wilds even. You can find Quinoa in boxes in the grocery stores already cleaned-at least Brookshires here in the south has it,

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

LOL ~ after two different vets' recommendations, I give them antibiotics. Apparently the snake fangs can cause infection which is far more serious to them than most venom. The little girlie lost about a quarter sized area of fur from the venom. Probably a small copperhead. Meds are done and all is well. Kristi

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

I will keep that in mind, just puzzled me, I can see an increase in snakes again this year, too, be careful in the gardens..

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Always conscious of the legless critters ~ thanks. I am always hesitant to overuse antibiotics but as much as I try to reason with the cats, they don't always listen when I tell them not to meddle with the snakes!

I badly need to rake which will eliminate their hiding places. We are way too windy and there are more fires in this area. Not a good sign!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

They always give antibiotics for snake bites venomous or not. its because the snakes bite deep and their mouth isnt sterile. I wouldnt worry about overusing antibiotics Kristi, in this case it was needed. Every animal Ive ever had that was the usual course of treatment. Unlike humans they cant tell you when the bite is becoming infected. Treating the infection is much more costly and time consuming then just giving the antibiotics right off the bat.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks Lisa... our vet said it is rare for a pet to die from the actual bite but the infection does the damage. I'm one of those that expects the worst so try to be prepared.

Kittriana ~ tell me, is the Quinoa that we can buy in the store the same as the Amaranth grain we would raise?

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Chenopodium quinoa is a chenopod related to beets spinach etc. Pitseed Goose Foot (Chenopodium berlandieri)) and Fat Hen (Chenopodium album) are relatively common weeds in North American, where both species are called Lambsquarters. Both seeds and leaves are edible, but do not yield the quantity of seed as the cultivated Quinoa.

Amaranthus caudatus, Amaranthus cruentus, and Amaranthus hypochondriacus are the species of Amaranth grown for grain.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Botanical Interests sells an ornamental Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa.)

They say you can eat its grian, but the emphasis seems to be on the colorfull heads as dried flowers (hot pink, burgundy, red, orange, yellow, white and green) and edible young leaves.

A quickie search among my usual sources did not turn up a seed source for the grain varieties!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

it is my understanding and there is a thread about this some where that Quinoa is for cool climates and Amaranth is for warm climates, Im sowing it this summer.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

'Seeds Of Change' in New Mexico has a bunch of amaranth resources, I think Farmerdill means the stuff in stores is the better food resource if you wish to try it, the wild variety is slimmer pickings...

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Quote from 1lisac :
it is my understanding and there is a thread about this some where that Quinoa is for cool climates.

Corey ~ Maybe you could try some quinoa this season. I hope to grow some as well. Maybe it should be started soon, and then I will sow some of the amaranth later on.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I've had that BI packet for a few years now. Now that I've learned how to start seeds instead of kill them, or serve the seedlings as Slig Salad, I miught have better luck.

But I'm so far behind, I haven't even started petunias, Alysum, violas or my favorite salvia.

Even more tempting, I chopped down more juniper bushes so I COULD create 2 small rasied beds ... still have to chop more roots, screen rocks and add compost.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

The vintage Quinoa discussion here...

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Thats it! I thought it was last summer wow time flies.

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