Quinoa is a whole grain and superfood that is rapidly growing in popularity, give it a try and grow some in your own back garden!
Quinoa is rich in vitamins, minerals, and is a great source of carbohydrates. It has a mild taste with a slightly crunchy texture. The crop is ideal for people with gluten allergies or people who are looking to lose some inches. This nutritious grain can be cooked like rice or turned into flour for cooking. Read and learn how to grow quinoa for its health benefits and filling taste.
Growing quinoa is easy as the crop can adapt to several warm and cold climates. It grows well in areas with short days and night temperatures ranging from 28F-95F. You can choose from different varieties of quinoa that is suitable for your specific region and climate.
How To Plant Quinoa
To plant quinoa, you need well-drained soil with moderately saline nutrient content. The pH of this soil should be between 6 and 8.5. For an ample supply of nitrogen, you can plant quinoa with legumes. This will help the plants absorb the nitrogen in the system while growing.
You can germinate the seeds in trays and transplant them into the garden after the frost season. Plant the seedlings at a distance of one to two feet apart. These plants will grow at up to 6 feet tall in the optimum growing conditions for quinoa.
How To Care For Quinoa Plants
To care for your quinoa crop, the main rule is to never over water the plants. They will need water in dry conditions when the soil is extremely dry to touch. If your region gets enough rainfall, it’ll be smart not to water the quinoa plants at all.
If you are wondering how quinoa grows without many pests and diseases, the answer is in its bitter coating. This substance prevents any rodents and insects from munching on the seeds. You may ignore the leaves from flea beetles as it does not affect the crop.
How To Harvest Quinoa
Harvesting quinoa plant is a little tricky and needs a lot of patience. You can use machines to harvest it or do it with your hands. The change in the flowers of the plants is one sure sign for the seeds to be ready for harvest. Cut the heads of the plants and let them dry in a cool and ventilated place.
After the seeds are dry, roll the heads in between your hands to release the seeds. Collect these seeds in sheets or open containers for the next drying step. You can create a thin layer of these seeds on a tray. This will help them dry faster for storage.
Besides, you can clean out the seeds with the method of winnowing. This is done by pouring the seeds in a breezy location for the unhealthy ones to separate. After learning how to grow quinoa, you can store ample grains in airtight containers for long use.
Note that before consuming quinoa, you will need to wash and soak the seeds overnight. This will get rid of the bitter layer on the surface to give you a mildly rich taste.