Quinoa is one of the world's most popular health foods that can be easily grown and prepared by anyone with garden space.
It technically isn't a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal.
Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.
It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
Useful gardening information
Quinoa needs full sun and well-drained and fertile soil. It's a slow grower and takes around 90-120 days to harvest. Quinoa is quite easy to grow in the garen. Quinoa prefers cooler weather, ideally less than 90 degrees, making it an excellent choice for northern gardeners.
Quinoa is typically started directly in the soil. You should plant in early spring after the soil has warmed to about 62 degrees.
It is best to plant seeds in rows, covering seeds about 1/4" deep. Thin plants to about 8-12 inches apart.
Quinoa likes dry soil; so don't water it unless the soil is exceptionally dry. It does very well with very little moisture.
Quinoa is ready to harvest when all the leaves drop off, leaving only seed heads on a stalk.
Check your seeds to make sure they are completely dry. This is done by pushing your fingernail into the seed. If you can push a slight dent in the seed, your seeds are not dry enough. If you need to harvest before the seeds are completely dried out, you can let them finish drying indoors.
The best way to harvest quinoa seeds is to use a large paper yard waste bag. Once the seed heads have been allowed to dry completely, they can be bashed about into the bag, which will catch all the seeds and chaff. The seeds are more dense than the chaff, so they can be winnowed by tossing upwards and catching in a bowl. The chaff should blow off bit by bit, leaving only the seeds behind.
Then let the seeds dry completely before storing them. Store your seeds in a tight container in a cool location away from light. They will easily store for up to six months or more.
You can expect approximately one pound of grain per 10-12 quinoa plants.
TRN571 French Vanilla Quinoa
Its large seed heads look like overloaded ice cream cones. This new variety reaches 6 to 7 feet tall. Plants produce fewer branches when spaced 12" apart in rows 16 inches apart. The large heads ripen uniformly, making harvest more straightforward than in varieties with many large branches. French Vanilla quinoa seeds are white or buff in colour.
TRN572 Cherry Vanilla Quinoa
Cherry Vanilla is so attractive in the garden with its pink and cream coloured seed heads. It bears the whitest seeds off all our varieties. Cherry Vanilla has particularly tasty baby leaves, so it is an outstanding baby salad green choice. The tall plants bear copious decorative flower clusters followed by huge quantities of tiny edible seeds.
TRN573 Mint Vanilla Quinoa
Mint Vanilla quinoa seeds produce tall, dark green foliage topped by bright white seed heads and seeds, tinged with pale green. This variety is well adapted to coastal growing and productive even when summers are not so hot. The light colour of the seed heads give it a particularly ornamental appeal. Quinoa is very high in protein and fiber, but it contains no gluten. It is widely celebrated as a super-food, a nutrient rich and easy to grow crop for the home gardener.
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