About Red Garnet Amaranth: Amaranth had a sacred status in the ancient civilizations of the Aztecs and Incas, since the grain was used in various religious rituals. It remains a staple food in modern Mexico and some parts of Asia, being prepared in numerous dishes from sweet to savory. One traditional Mexican treat known as "alegria" is made with amaranth grain and honey or molasses. A supergrain, amaranth can be used for gluten free flour; it also makes a complete protein when mixed with another grain. In addition, amaranth greens have a higher iron content than any other green vegetable except parsley, as well as containing many valuable vitamins and minerals.
Red Garnet Amaranth Germination: Amaranth germinates when the soil temperature reaches at least 70 degrees F, so gardeners in cool climates may want to start their seed indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Direct sow the seed several weeks after the last spring frost; sow thinly 1/4" deep in rows 16-18" apart, thinning the seedlings to 10-12" apart as soon as they appear. Some gardeners prefer closer spacing such as 2-3" if harvesting the greens only. Amaranth prefers full sun and well drained soil. Germination should occur within 8-10 days.
Growing Red Garnet Amaranth Seeds: Amaranth tolerates drought very well once established, but the the greens will be more tender if the soil is kept moist.
Harvesting Red Garnet Amaranth: Amaranth greens can be harvested as soon as they grow big enough for eating, and continue producing well into late summer. For the best flavor, harvest the leaves before the plant flowers; the leaves will begin to mature in about 40 days after planting. Individual leaves can be lightly harvested from each plant even if the goal is to harvest the grain, which will mature about 120 days after planting. To harvest the grain, remove the seed heads individually as they ripen or cut the whole plant and hang it to dry when most of the heads have ripened. Spread out the heads to dry on a surface out of direct sunlight. When they have dried completely, rub or shake them to remove the grain; winnowing or screening may be necessary to remove debris. Another method of harvesting is to shake the seed heads into a container every day when they begin to ripen. If the plant is left to mature and drop its seed, it will attract many birds.
Saving Red Garnet Amaranth Seeds: To harvest the seed, remove the seed heads individually as they ripen or cut the whole plant and hang it to dry when most of the heads have ripened. Spread out the heads to dry on a surface out of direct sunlight. When they have dried completely, rub or shake them to remove the seeds; winnowing or screening may be necessary to remove debris. Another method of harvesting is to shake the seed heads into a container every day when they begin to ripen. Store the seed in a cool, dry place for up to five years.
Detailed Red Garnet Amaranth Info: Amaranthus tricolor. Also known as Garnet Red, Summer Poinsetta, Joseph's Coat, Chinese Spinach, Tampala, Callaloo, Vegetable Amaranth, Een Choy. Perennial. 50 days. Zone 3-9. 41,600 seeds per oz. 6-7' height. 10-12" spacing. Produces extremely tall plants with green/deep maroon leaves and brilliant red flower spikes.