Saturday, September 13, 2008

Amaranth All Over Again

Last year, our garden was happier, a veritable cornucopia of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers. This year, we've been more than a little preoccupied with sheep, turkeys, chicks, work, house guests, oh, and children-- increasingly busy children.

The poor little garden, already cramped against the side of the house to maximize pasture space, has suffered. But it hasn't been a total bust. The little 15 X 5 foot patch has bestowed a few tomatoes and cucumbers, even some zucchinis pretty much all on its own. Somehow, Dan's eternally-optimistic corn crop is happening. But things are beyond scraggly, things are verging on downright unkempt out there.

Undeterred, last year's heritage tomatoes have traveled through the digestive systems of our free-ranging chickens and installed themselves in brand new places. Likewise for the regal zucchini plant holding court in the sheep pasture. But most impressive of all is the amaranth.

Last year, fresh with spring exuberance, I ordered a packet of amaranth seeds. Amaranth, plant of the Aztec, is both beautiful and practical. The deep red seeds are high in iron and other essentials. Last year's amaranth was on the puny side. We left it alone to drop its seeds, and this year, it rewarded us with extravagant, deep red blooms!

We will harvest these after the first frost and try our hand at shaking the grains loose and serving them up. I'll let you know how THAT goes.....

And next year, regardless of the state of our garden, these hardy perennials will ensure that it'll be Amaranth all over again!


Christy said...

Let me know how the amarath goes. I'm seriously thinking about growing it next year, it has so many potential uses.

P said...

I'll definitely post about it. Harvesting it is a bit daunting... Any suggested uses?

Christy said...

I know the grain can be ground and used like flour. The leaves are supposed to be good in salad. I'll see if I can remember what else I've read.

P said...

Thanks, I read about Amaranth two years ago, when we planted it and have to refresh my memory as the time to harvest it draws near.