Amaranth Test Plot - Planting

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by Elessar, May 31, 2013.


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  1. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    I am starting a new project and would like to share my progress with you. Today, I received a shipment of Amaranth seeds from Dr. toxophilus.

    IMG_20130531_093602_zpsc770e026.

    I consider anything free a gift and I am honored to have recieved this shipment of what I believe to be the perfect post Event crop for the survivor or prepper. I don't consider myself either of these types because I am still a rookie at so much of this stuff. However, I have the land/space available, and have been working toward self-sufficiency for a while. Toward that goal, I began research crops and discovered the related information on the survivalmonkey forum, combined with the offer to share some free seed that fulfilled my desire to begin planting something useful instead of simply growing weeds or grass. Don't get me wrong, the goats love the weeds, and the horse enjoys the grass more than I do (I hate mowing, hence, the goats) but the potential of Amaranth may be fantastic. I am really excited and will be posting progress reports here.

    I intend to include pictures of this project and welcome comments and advice.
     
  2. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    To begin at the beginning: we have a small hobby farm located in central Kentucky. I have been struggling with my 10' X 10' garden but that won't stop me from expanding into other areas for additional crops that fulfill my goal of self-sufficiency. I decided on a test planting of Amaranth after reading some of the information available here as well as some very positive reviews across the interweb.

    I have a spot available because my wife has decided that she will not be setting up the "Rubber Pond" anymore. That means the inflatable swimming pool that we bought from Walmart has seen it's last party and has already been delivered to the dumpster where is was quickly rescued by the local scrapper to be turned into a tarp. Good for him. The spot that I have selected for my test planting is about 16' circle of the footprint where to pool used to sit. The grass has been effectively killed off already and I have removed the rock and paving stones we had set around the pool.

    It's time to clean out the barn and I have been removing the manure/compost and dumping it onto the designated site where I will use my roto-tiler to chop and mix it into the somewhat poor soil that is mostly clay. I know from my research that Amaranth doesn't like clay, but we play the cards we're dealt, so...I have soil that is primarily clay. That's why I'm using the manure from the barn to balance that outand create a better base. It's gonna take me another day or two to complete the cleaning job in the barn. YUUUUCK! I hate cleaning the barn and that's why we don't have any animals that live in the barn all the time, except, this one horse that has a health issue and must be in a dry lot all summer. When the weather gets bad in fall, we give her a run-in to get out of the freezing rain and sleet, so I am awarded the joy of cleaning one stall.

    IMAG0132_zpse65a8581.

    Stay tuned for images of the proposed test plot location...
     
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  3. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    I use Photobucket to host online images and I can't figure out why my picture won't post.
     
  4. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    Post the link direct to the photo without using the insert image thing.
    + Show me your potatoes!
     
  5. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Well, I was able to till up 3/4 of the space before the rain set in last night. I still want to finish the final 1/4 and then use the Mantis Mini-tiller to hit it all again, just to be sure all of the big clods are broke up and everything is mixed well with the under lying clay. I feel good about the consistency of the soil and the rain should help with the blending. I'll water it down again if the rain doesn't hold but the forecast shows some good showers on the radar as well. I won't be planting until next week so I still have a little more time to finish preparing the ground. Our high temperatures have been hoving around 75 degrees and the soil isn't really warmed up too much yet, so I don't think I'm too late either.

    I will get this picture thing solved and add photos to these posts so you can see the progress.

    IMAG0133_zps269d5970.
     
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  6. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Pictures are up. I finished chopping up the manure with the Mantis tiller and all the test plot is ready.
     
  7. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    I don't understand....how did you resist tilling the whole lawn under?
    :)
    Taters aint pretty....u could surround the circle with kale or something if u wanna make it look a bit nicer. Never seen or tasted Amaranth though...
     
  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    You're taking manure straight from the barn? Won't it be too hot?
     
  9. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    MM: This stuff has is left over from winter so it's already mostly decomposed and dry. I let it rest a week before planting, today.
     
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  10. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    Officially planted two rings this morning; one 18 inches inside the outer edge and a second ring 36" inside of the first. I may have over seeded, but only time will tell. The planting instructions say to put the seeds just below the surface, so I used a broom to sweep a little dirt over any seeds that were exposed. Our forecast is for showers this afternoon and tomorrow. We'll be watching closely over the next 10 days for germination. Stay tuned...
     
  11. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Sorry had to ask. People ask me the same thing every time I mention I use horse. I think it is a code thing among gardeners to see depth of knowledge. ;)
     
  12. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    We received over an inch of rain during the last 24 hours. No need to water today or tomorrow...

    We ended up with almost 3 inches of rain over three days. Today should be HOT
     
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  13. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    We got spouts!!!!
    IMAG0160_zps5c657b43.

    These spouts are pretty small and they are really hard to see, but there are lots of them. I expect to have to thin out the spouts a lot but their comin' on in bunches!!! Yahoooooo!
     
  14. Dr.toxophilus

    Dr.toxophilus Monkey+

    looks good!
     
  15. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    We thinned the sprouts tonight. Since I didn't have any idea what germination rates might be, I was generous with the seeds. Wow! These things came up quick and have been going crazy. Tonight my wife and I thinned the sprouts mercilessly. The bright colors are looking very good and I am excited about this test plot. I've informed my wife that if this early success continues, I want to go big next season. No pictures for this part of the job, but we should have something good to show in a few weeks as our weather continues to heat up. Stay tuned!
     
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  16. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    When you harvest it could you please try to pop some & report on that. I read that you could pop it like corn and am very curious.
     
  17. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I tried this a couple years ago when I first started growing Amaranth and unless there is a variety that produces giant seeds, popping it is a joke. The seeds are the size of cauliflower seeds and when you pop it the size does not change like popcorn. Another problem I had was to get the seeds to pop you have to bring them almost to the point of burning. Maybe I did not do it right, but I gave up on that idea.
     
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  18. Dr.toxophilus

    Dr.toxophilus Monkey+

    It's good to hear your plot is coming up nice, but I told you the seeds can be spread pretty thin! I always plant 'em too thick too! Try eating the culled plants like spinach when they get a bit bigger.

    Amaranth pops great, that's how I eat all of mine. Like Mountainman said, though, the pan needs to be very hot. There's a certain temperature and quick working technique that you need to get down, but the popping process works great. It's kind of crunchy and light almost like a dry cereal, and I've pressed it into cakes with honey like a "Rice-Krispy" treat thing.
     
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  19. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Thanks for the feedback on the popping. It seems like a better snack then chips. I am growing kale to make kale chips but this amaranth is quite intriguing. Reading Elessar's experience has got me wondering where to plant this.
     
  20. Elessar

    Elessar Monkey+ Site Supporter+

    We had a pretty good storm system moved through last night and it rained almost all night. I'm guessing we received over two inches of rain. The plants are getting up to almost six inches and it seems funny to call them sprouts or seedlings now. There are differences in size between the two species but they seem to be racing in growth spurts. I'll have pictures of the progress as soon as the clouds clear.
     
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