Despite the fact that this plant is considered unpretentious, it also needs care. True, minimal care is required, but the return will be enormous. If the plant is provided with favorable conditions, you can get a yield of more than 50 centners of seeds per hectare, and high-quality green mass – about 2 thousand centners of hectares. Then we talk about what an amaranth is like an unpretentious plant, and what conditions can be created for obtaining a richer harvest.
Features miracle plants
First, we will focus on the description of amaranth. Each of the representatives of its numerous species (more than 90) is an annual herbaceous plant about 1 meter high. The amaranth has an upright stalk, often pubescent. The leaves of this plant (whole, diamond-shaped, lanceolate or ovoid, with a petiole) may have a green or red color, as well as be multi-colored. Flowers develop in the axils of the leaves and on the tops. The seeds of amaranth are very small: the mass of 1000 seeds is about 0.4 g. At the same time, one plant is capable of producing up to 500,000 seeds, but it takes from 90 to 150 days to full maturity.
All types of amaranth are typical C4 plants (with four carbon atoms). They absorb carbon dioxide much faster than other plants, so, for example, when growing room amaranth next to it, flowers less active in this regard may simply not survive. It is noteworthy that predominantly tropical plants from hot countries have this type of photosynthesis.
It is also important to know the preferences of amaranth. It:
• well-lit, windproof areas;
• sandy soil;
• Chernozem with a neutral or alkaline soil solution;
For amaranth not suitable:
• acidic soil;
• stagnant moisture.
It will not be possible to get a good harvest of amaranth on peat-swampy soil, on heavy loams. Amaranth grows best in regions with a temperate and subtropical climate.
Select the site and the timing of sowing seeds
The best option for obtaining strong and high-yielding plants is considered to be sowing seeds into the soil prepared from autumn. It is in the autumn that it is necessary to dig up a plot intended for sowing amaranth, and add 5-6 kg of humus or compost and 50 g of complex mineral fertilizers per one square meter.
If the soil is not prepared in advance, it is recommended to sow this grain crop on the site where cabbage, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, potatoes grew before. These crops are considered the best precursors of amaranth, and organic fertilizers are usually applied under them. Amaranth also grows well after green and leguminous crops. For the future, it can be noted that it can be returned to its original place no earlier than in 3–4 years.
Sowing is recommended in the middle or at the end of May when the soil warms up well: it should not be less than 10 ° C. The very late date of sowing, at which there is an opportunity to get a harvest of leaves, is considered the beginning of July. Since during this period the moisture in the top layer of soil is low, it is better to sow before rain, or after sowing the seeds, water the soil.
Soil level before sowing, and the seeds are mixed with sand or conventional sawdust in the ratio of 1:20. Seeds are sown to a depth of 1-1.5 cm. Rows should be located 45 to 50 cm apart. Such a large distance between plants is necessary due to the fact that each of them expands and over time requires a lot of space. After sowing, the entire area must be rolled so that the small seeds fit tightly into the ground.
The main rules for the care of amaranth
All representatives of this type of grain crops in the first period of their growth develop very slowly, and the first shoots appear 8-10 days after sowing. Slow growth at the beginning of the development of plants is due to the fact that, above all, they must form a powerful root system. Due to the slow growth at the first stage, the amaranth is silenced by weeds, therefore weeding and thinning are necessary during the period of emergence of shoots. Frequent watering amaranth is not needed. These plants are drought resistant, and they need watering only for long droughts.
Thinning is done in two steps as the plants grow. The first thinning is necessary in phase 1−2 true leaves. The distance between the rows should be 3–5 cm. The second thinning is carried out 2 weeks after the first, and here the distance should be 25–30 centimeters. If amaranth is sown to obtain green mass, then 10-12 plants are left thinning for one running meter, and if for thinning, with 70 cm row spacing, and 4-5 plants per running meter. Simultaneously with thinning, loosening and weeding is done. Later, when the plants root well and quickly grow, they cope with any weeds themselves.
The first feeding is carried out even during sowing, and it will require 10-15 g of potassium sulfate and the same amount of superphosphate per square meter. Fertilizer is applied directly into the furrows. Then it is recommended to conduct dressing immediately after the first thinning, and a concentrated mullein, diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10, is suitable for it. The same dressing is carried out after the second thinning. Until the plant gets stronger, it is better to do top dressing regularly, with an interval of 10-12 days, alternating the application of mineral fertilizers with organic ones. It is also recommended to conduct dressing at the beginning of flowering. For this, any complex for flowering annual plants is suitable. Fertilizer is better before precipitation or before watering.
After the second thinning, you can see that amaranth begins to grow very quickly, adding 6-7 cm daily. Leaves can be harvested from the lower tiers of the plant as soon as it reaches 25 cm and throughout the summer until late autumn, while the amaranth grows. Grain can be harvested when the seed pods have a straw color, and the stem can change color to light green. The main signs of ripening are redness, desiccation and fall of the lower stem leaves, but in the scarlet species of amaranth at this time, the stem and edges of the leaves become creamy. In addition, a sign of their easy shedding also indicates seed ripening. To “panicles” are not much showered, the plant is better to tie up, as is practiced in the care of grapes.
However, it should be noted that after the seeds are collected, they need time for ripening, and usually it is 7-10 days. During this period, they should be in a room with good ventilation. It is necessary to dry greens under a canopy, in drafts, and to store – in a dark, dry and well-ventilated place. It is better that the collected amaranth was stored in linen or paper bags and suspended.