How To Grow Your Own Quinoa At Home

485575052Quinoa is a grain like crop that’s grown for its edible seeds. Its leaves can also serve as vegetables, albeit on a limited scale. The plant thrives in well-drained soils and needs a considerably long maturing season. It also requires warm temperatures not exceeding 90°F (32°C.

How to Grow Quinoa

Quinoa resembles lambs’-quarters especially during the early growth stages. Seeds should thus be sown in rows to avoid confusion with the weeds. Due to the small size of the seeds, one could preempt thinning by mixing it with radish seed or sand, as is at times done with carrot seeds.

The small seeds need good surface preparation and sufficient moisture for them to germinate successfully. They should be sown in quarter inch deep rows with about one and a half to two feet between rows. One could plant them by hand or use a row seeder.

After germination, the seedlings need to be thinned to yield a 6-18-inch gap between them. The thinned seedlings can be used as additions to salads. One gram of seed sows about 50 feet of row, with an acre requiring about a pound.

Quinoa Garden Maintenance

Though quinoa is a low maintenance crop, it’s normally affected by weeds, especially in the early growth stage. There are two ways in which they can be avoided, namely mulching and cultivating. If soil moisture is sufficient, germination could be achieved without irrigation.

In such a case, one should start watering the plants only when the reach the two- or three-leaf stage. Quinoa appears to grow slowly at first but is tremendously drought resistant. When the plants reach a height of 1-2 feet, they start growing rapidly with the canopy closing in.

This helps shade out the weeds and keeps moisture evaporation low. During inspections, one may notice symptoms of insect larvae munching the seedlings. This shouldn’t be much of a concern as it won’t impact the harvest significantly.

Harvesting Quinoa

The plant is ready for harvesting when all leaves have fallen and only the dried seed heads remain. One should watch the weather when the plant reaches this stage because the dry seeds could germinate if rained on. If the heads haven’t dried completely, they should be harvested when the seeds are hard enough to resist indentation when pressed with thumbnails. They then need thorough drying before storage.

To determine if the plant is harvestable, the flower heads should be shaken briskly but gently. If the seeds fall off readily, then one could commence harvesting. Ripe grain can be gathered easily in dry weather by bending the plants over a bucket and rubbing the seed heads between one’s hands.

The seeds need to be cleaned by winnowing using a fan. Further drying is usually necessary to keep off mold during storage. One can spread it on trays during hot days or use an indoor heat source. One should keep stirring them from time to time until they’re completely dry. Quinoa seeds should be stored in in a cool, dry place using air-tight containers.

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Tips to Become An Expert On Organic Gardening

464668713In the gardening world, it is important to to try to grow and maintain the best plants that you can. That is where smart gardening techniques come in handy. This will help you grow the most plentiful, beautiful and healthiest plants that you can. Follow these tips to become a better gardener.

Find the crops that grow well in your local climate and the soil in your garden. If you try to force a plant that doesn’t like your weather, you’ll end up putting out a lot of work for very little result. What grows well one year will probably grow well next year too, so plant it again.

Select perennials to reduce the amount of care your garden requires. Plants that return year after year usually require only a modicum of weeding and pruning. Edible perennials, such as asparagus, rhubarb, and sorrel, can provide an excellent salad addition for your household without causing too much work for you.

Pick garden vegetables often and early. While immature, many types of vegetables are very tasty in their young phase. Snap peas, little summer squash, cucumbers, and budding broccoli can be picked to keep the plants in a state of reproduction for a longer period of time. This will also increase yields with a second harvest off of the same plants.

Add some earthworms into your garden soil. Earthworms are great in tunneling and loosening up the soil, giving the roots of your plants plenty of air space. They help make soil that is rich in nutrients by breaking down dead plant materials. Earthworms are a much better solution for your garden than commercial fertilizers.

If you have clay soil, the most important thing to do is work it over and amend it with some type of compost. Plants tend to do well this type of soil once they are established, as they can sink their roots deep enough into an area that never dries out. Conversely, plants in lighter soil need watering constantly. Remember to place an organic mulch on the surface, which will stop the surface from baking in the summer.

As you can see from the previous list of tips, gardening can really be an enjoyable hobby or career. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of maintenance and a lot of patience, but it is all worth it in the end to have a beautifully maintained garden.