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The difference between these two crops is that quinoa is a cool weather and amaranth is the warm weather crop. Both of them grow easily and the quality of food they offer far surpasses that of our common grain. They are grains, but they have broad leaves which are unlike most grains which are considered grasses. Their fruit is high in protein grain, and the leaves are one of the most nutritious vegetable grains.
Quinoa grows best in northern U.S and most of southern Canadian sites. Both quinoa and amaranth come from South America.
How should you plant them?
Both quinoa and amaranth are drought tolerable plants and are disease free. These two plants like drain soil but once they are established, both of them will thrive in dry conditions too.
They grow 4 to 8 feet high and if planted in a raised bed, they can be planted 4 plants per square foot.
Quinoa grows best when the temperature is not higher than 90°F and the best time to plant it is when the soil temperature is 60°F. For best results, refrigerate quinoa seeds before you plant them.
As we already mentioned, amaranth is a warm season crop and you should plant it when soil temperature range between 65°F-75°F.
They are both slow getting started, but once they reach a foot tall, they take off and grow very rapidly.
When should you harvest your seeds?
Gently shake the flower head and see if the seeds fall out to see if they are ready for harvest. You will also know that quinoa is ready to harvest when the leaves have fallen leaving just the dried. Amaranth keeps on flowering until your first hard frost.
Tip: When you will finish harvesting, you need to clean them with screens and a blowing device (a fan for example), but not with water. To make sure that it won’t mold when storing, it is very important to dry your harvest for several days. You can leave it on trays in the hot sun or by an indoor heat source. To dry them as possible, stir occasionally, and then store in an air tight container in a cool dry place.