Amaranthus hybridus (65 days to flower, 125 days to seed) Open-pollinated. The grain of the gods from Opopeo, Mexico. Doubles as a wonderful green until flower-set. Tom Vigue sows thickly after frost danger, enjoying the bronze-green leaves from 4–6" and the top leaves until the plant reaches 2'. Vigue says, “Never stringy, always tender…a lot more massive than spinach,” to which it tastes similar when cooked. Not great raw. Thin as you go to grow grain in the same bed, or start as transplants to increase chances of beginning your harvest before the heavy autumnal rains. Huge plants require 2' spacing. Opopeo’s magenta-purple stems grow 4–8' topped by 2' deep burgundy flower spikes each laden with 4–8 oz of seed grain. Grain matures from early to mid October. Cut and hang the heads to dry inside rather than field-curing in wet autumns. Wait until grain is crumbly dry and then rub against a mesh screen to thresh. Store your grain securely; mice love it. Boil two parts water to one part grain for a high-protein gluten-free breakfast cereal or mix with pumpkin meal, vegetables and herbs, allow to harden, and slice into fryable patties. Multi-branched plants prone to lodging in loose soils, otherwise may offer support to pole beans when given a head start. ~1200-1500 seeds/g. ①
4300 Opopeo Amaranth - Organic
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Amaranth was one of the Aztecs’ five principal crops. They ground puffed seeds into flour and prepared sauces with the leaves. Amaranthus grain has 14–16% protein. The leaves have three times more vitamin C, ten times more carotene, fifteen times more iron and forty times more calcium than tomatoes, and three times more vitamin C, calcium and niacin than spinach leaves.
The selections here are rare heirloom varieties especially chosen for small- or homestead-scale production. Revived interest in food security and sovereignty inspires us to seek edible and heirloom grains. Most of them are also decorative in both form and color, making great accents to bouquets and wreaths. In the early 1800s Maine was the breadbasket of the U.S. Wheat and rice do not demand huge space and can be threshed with a little ingenuity. With good fertility, proper spacing and reasonable diligence, it is quite possible to harvest 10 lb of heirloom wheat from 100 plants in a 10x10' plot. A 100' row of rice can yield 6–10 lb.
Larger-scale growers and farmers, those seeking larger quantities of more mainstream varieties, or those looking for cover crops should check out the Organic Growers Supply list of Farm Seed.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.