As many people know, Amaranthus is a universal plant, on the basis of which you can make tea, add to various dishes, cook porridge with grains and even make bread with Amaranthus flour. And if everything is clear with flour and grains, you can buy it in specialized stores, because it is not a perishable product, what about the fresh leaves.
And in this case, everything is simple, you can grow Amaranthus not only in the garden or growing amaranth in containers but also on the windowsill of the apartment. This article has the answer for you.
Amaranthus is an annual plant that grows 80–120inch (2–3m) tall. It has a rather fleshy stem and leaves that come in red, purple, or solid green. The flowers can be gold, red or purple.
Although Amaranthus is a weed, it can be grown not only to decorate a garden or plot but also for food.
Amaranthus is a rather unpretentious plant. It does not require much attention or special care. It easily tolerates drought, light frosts, and high temperatures. amaranthus can grow on any soil in any climate zone except swampy. But when all is said and done, the plant prefers light and warmth.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Amaranthus was recognized as a plant of the future at the United Nations General Assembly. At this meeting, the cultivation of the plant and its useful qualities were discussed.
It turned out that Amaranthus is a plant that is not very demanding and can be grown in almost any condition. Of course, many people in this situation may object.
HOW TO GROW AMARANTHUS IN THE APARTMENT?
But this is quite possible, as long as you know the step-by-step instructions and follow them. So, to grow Amaranthus on the windowsill, you need.
1. Amaranthus seeds. You can buy them at any gardening store.
2. Soil for seedlings, because you can prepare it yourself, you need three parts of humus and one part of sterile sand.
3. the container in which you will plant Amaranthus, its height should be no less than 4inch (10 cm) and at the bottom should be made holes for water drainage, otherwise, the seeds just rotted away. The width of the container should be a little narrower than the windowsill, and do not forget to have a special holder for the remaining water that will flow down after watering.
4. Food film, a small trowel, watering can, or sprayer.
When you have bought everything you need, you can start sowing the seeds. It should be remembered that Amaranthus is a heat-loving plant, so even in an apartment, the best months to plant it are from May until the end of September. Let’s proceed to plant Amaranthus seeds with step-by-step instructions.
1. Pour the soil into the pot where Amaranthus is growing and mix it well, making sure there are no clumps of soil.
2. Take another bucket, but one-fifth of the soil into it, pour the seeds there and mix well.
3. Spread the remaining soil in the pot evenly and sprinkle it with a little standing water or spray it with a sprayer.
4. Scatter the soil with seeds into the pot and spread it evenly, then water it in the same way or spray it with a sprayer.
5. Cover the pot with plastic wrap.
6. Place the pot on a windowsill. Amaranthus is a light-loving and heat-loving plant, so a windowsill is an ideal place to grow it.
Don’t forget to moisten the soil daily. If you do everything as instructed, the first buds will appear in 4 to 5 days. When Amaranthus grows 1–1.5inch (2–4cm), it is ready to eat.
GROWING AMARANTHUS ON A WINDOWSILL
If you want to grow a mature plant on your balcony, it is worth having patience. When Amaranthus seeds germinate and 3–4 leaves appear on the buds, this is a sign that the plant can be transplanted to a separate pot. Plastic cups can be used in this case. To transplant seedlings.
1. In a plastic cup or small pot, fill it with soil and water it gently.
2. Make a small depression in each pot and plant a seedling there.
3. Water the plant.
4. Pinch the tops of the sprouts slightly, a process that helps strengthen the roots of each plant.
Although Amaranthus is used to dry climates, don’t forget to water it regularly and spray it with a sprayer. Also, tamp down the soil in each pot regularly. When the plants are about 8–10inch (20–25cm) tall, they are ready for use as food.
Amaranthus leaves are an important part of a healthy diet. Modern research has confirmed that Amaranthus contains a large number of plant proteins that are not inferior to animal proteins in their properties. Amaranthus leaves also contain another rare Amaranthus component called squalene. It helps to prolong youth at the cellular level.
Amaranthus leaves have applications in many different fields and are very popular in cooking. Growing a few Amaranthus bushes on your balcony will not only diversify your diet but also improve your health.
GROWING AMARANTHUS FROM SEEDS
To grow Amaranthus in a plot, simply sow its seeds in a bed, or plant seedlings.
SOWING IN THE OPEN GROUND
Only in areas where warmth has arrived in April, you can sow directly into the bed. During this month, sow the seeds into the ground. The ground should be sufficiently heated.
The first shoots appear in about 10 days. If the planting is too dense, the seedlings should be thinned. After that, be sure to loosen the soil.
GERMINATION AT HOME
More often, the seedling method is used. It is not difficult to grow Amaranthus seedlings independently. It is only necessary to follow the recommendations of some experienced gardeners.
1. Sowing seedlings is best to start sowing in March.
2. It is best to sow seeds with a mixture of humus and sand. This mixture must be warmed up before planting to protect the future shoots from fungi and pests.
3. The container in which you intend to sow Amaranthus should be high enough, not less than 4inch (10cm).
4. You should make small holes in the boxes and pots so that excess water can flow out of them. Otherwise, it may cause the seedlings to rot and die.
5. Sow the seeds at a depth of 0.6–0.8inch (1.5–2cm). Moisten the soil lightly before sowing.
6. Cover the container with aluminum foil and place it in a warm place away from light.
7. The time of the first germination in the home depends on the temperature in the room. At 71°F (22°C), sprouts have appeared in 3–4 days. At temperatures below 60°F (16°C), seeds will germinate in no more than 10 days at the earliest.
8. Be sure to thin the seedlings.
9. After 3 or 4 leaves appear transplant each plant into a separate container. Immediately after transplanting, prune the top of the seedlings. This will help the roots get stronger faster.
Start planting seedlings in the open ground in May, when the average temperature is around 4 degrees. At this temperature, the soil is already warm.
Choose a sunny and warm place for planting. Prepare the soil for sowing in the fall. Turn it over and apply mineral fertilizer and humus. The very seedling itself must be hardened before planting. Then it will be able to withstand a little frost.
Caring for the plant at home is easy. It consists of the following.
1. Watering: It should be regular and also moderate.
2. Weeding and hoeing.
3. Tying the stems. This procedure should enable the stems to bear the weight of the flowers without breaking under them.
4. Pest and disease control.
5. Fertilization with mineral and organic fertilizers.
In June, young plants are pruned at the very top of the stem. This helps the plant to grow well. The stems will become thicker and produce a large number of ovaries.
Important: Amaranthus takes 3–3.5 months from sowing to full maturity. This is true for both species as vegetable plants and as ornamentals.
You can start harvesting seeds in the fall. They are not difficult to collect. the roots of Amaranthus are cut. The clusters should be spread out on any flat surface and left to dry. The whole drying process should last for about 2 months.
After that, Amaranthus is sifted through a fine sieve. The sieved seeds are also spread thinly on the surface and left to dry for some more time. Normally, the seeds will dry out in 10 days.
Place the prepared seeds in a paper bag. Already next year, they can grow new plants. Their storage period is 4–5 years.
SOWING AMARANTHUS SEEDS IN OPEN FIELDS
Amaranthus should only be sown directly into the ground in the southern part of the country. Choose a sunny, dry, and sheltered place when sowing. Keep in mind that the plant does not tolerate stagnant water in the soil. Site preparation before sowing depends on what you are after.
If Amaranthus is to be grown as an ornamental, even the loosest stony soil is suitable for it. But if it is to be used for food — make sure the soil is light, well-drained, moderately acidic, and rich in useful substances.
WHEN TO SOW AMARANTHUS SEEDS IN THE OPEN FIELD?
The sowing time is from the end of April to mid-May. It is important that this is when the weather is warming up and the soil has warmed up to 50°F (10°C). In the fall, turn the soil by adding compost, peat, or fertilizer.
Repeat digging in the spring to add mineral fertilizer and loosen the soil thoroughly to even out the soil. amaranthus is particularly important for the phosphorus and potassium content of the soil. If growing Amaranthus for food, avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen content, as these can turn into dangerous nitrates.
Be sure to water well and prepare trenches 16–20inch (40–50 cm) apart and about 0.6inch (1.5 cm) deep. Then sow the seeds in them, cover them with a thin layer of soil and compact them slightly.
In case of frost, the young plants should always be covered. During the first month after the seedlings are born, weed and loosen the soil frequently. Be very careful when using a hoe or mattock, as Amaranthus has very shallow lateral roots.
When Amaranthus grows, remove weak plants: for healthy growth, the shrubs should be at least 12–16inch (30–40cm) apart. As an adult, Amaranthus is not very demanding and does not require constant care.
In colder regions, you can sow Amaranthus in the open ground in a greenhouse near the end of May and transfer it to the open ground in June. You can also sow Amaranthus in the winter and wait for the ground to freeze before planting.
The crop is covered with sawdust or fleece. In spring, the cover is removed, but in the bed must be put arc and stretch film.
CULTIVATION OF AMARANTHUS SEEDLINGS
Starting germination of Amaranthus seedlings can be started in early March. Since the plants take a long time to germinate, soak the seeds in advance to allow them to germinate slightly, but not to sprout.
Amaranthus soil can be made from a mixture of leaf rot, peat, and garden soil in equal proportions. Add some superphosphate or wood ash. If you do not want to prepare your own soil, you can buy peat pots for Amaranthus, a plant that really likes a loose, nutrient-rich environment.
Seedlings must be kept at a temperature of at least 68°F (20°C) for germination. It is best to cover the box with a plastic sheet and place it in a warm, well-lit place. During this stage, watering should be moderate and regular, preferably using a sprayer. Sprouting will occur in about two weeks, after which Amaranthus should be thinned to allow the seedlings to develop fully.
When 3–4 leaves appear on the buds, each seedling should be transplanted into a separate pot. The pots should be at least 5inch (12cm) in diameter. Fill each pot with soil. It is best to use the same soil as when the seeds were germinated.
Wet the soil where the seedlings will grow beforehand, and only then gently remove each seedling. Make hollows in the soil and plant the seedlings in them. Water the plants. Pinch the tops of the shoots after each seedling is transplanted into a separate pot.
This will help the roots become stronger. Before planting, feed the seedlings in two stages: when the first true leaves appear and after 10–15 days. As a fertilizer, you can use any complex mineral fertilizer.
AMARANTHUS: OPEN FIELD TRANSPLANTING OF SEEDLINGS
Amaranthus seedlings can be planted in the open ground in the Urals in late May when the average daily temperature is above 41°F (5°C). At this time the ground has warmed sufficiently and there is no danger of frost. It is best to do this on cloudy days or at sunset. Prepare the seedbed in the same way as for sowing.
Dig holes about 8inch (20cm) deep at a distance of about half a meter apart. Plant three to four plants each. After that, water extensively and apply the foliar cover. To acclimatize the plants better, it is worthwhile to harden Amaranthus buds outdoors daily for about a month before planting, gradually increasing their stay in the open air.
OUTDOOR CARE FOR AMARANTHUS
Amaranthus is fairly unpretentious in terms of care; it does not require much water or any special conditions. However, in order to make sure that the plant does not die and gives a good harvest, you need to follow some rules of its care.
Throughout the summer Amaranthus needs organic and mineral fertilizers. Although Amaranthus is drought tolerant, it must be watered frequently during the very hot summer months or it will stop growing. Weed and soak plants as needed.
Be sure to tie up tall Amaranthus so that its branches do not break under the weight of the flowers. Prick the top of the plant in June, then the shrub will be lusher, the stalks will be stable, and the number of ovaries on the branches will be greater.
AMARANTHUS: DISEASES AND PESTS
Amaranthus can be attacked by aphids. Amaranthus can only be damaged by aphids early in its life — mainly during the humid and rainy summer months. To avoid this, preventive measures must be taken on the plant.
The same preparations are also very effective against weevils, whose larvae develop in the plant stems and retard their growth. If too much water accumulates in the soil, Amaranthus can become sick from fungal diseases. Treatment is provided by spraying the plants with fungicides — colloidal sulfur, copper sulfate, copper chloride, and similar preparations.
OBTAINING AMARANTHUS SEEDS
In order to grow Amaranthus, seeds can be bought in any specialized store. But it is also possible to obtain Amaranthus seeds yourself. To do this, cut Amaranthus at the very base and hang the panicles for 2 months to allow them to dry completely.
The drying room should be dry and well ventilated. after 2 months, sift the panicles through a sieve with a very fine mesh. Place the seeds on the surface of the same well-ventilated room for another 7 to 10 days. Stir the seeds regularly.
Make sure that no rodents come into contact with the seeds. Spread branches of elderberry around the seeds. Place the dried seeds in a paper envelope or box. They can be stored for 4–5 years.
Amaranthus was, until recently, a plant of little interest to amateur gardeners. As information about its unique medicinal properties emerged, interest in it increased dramatically.
Thanks to scientific breeders obtained ornamental varieties, successfully used to decorate gardens and homes. Amaranthus is a great decoration for any garden: low-growing varieties are suitable for decorating flower beds, squares, and containers, and tall-growing varieties look good in the center of hedges and flower beds.
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