A step by step guide for Growing Hydroponic Amaranth
Here is the full guide of how to grow amaranth in the hydroponics system. We can learn techniques, tips, and ideas of growing hydroponic amaranth for leaves and grains. It is rightly said that every time you eat it is an opportunity to nourish yourself. All those who believe they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness. So having a garden with food potential is one of the most valuable property that we can own, not necessarily on the ground but having a hydroponic system yielding green and fresh vegetables is also a blessing itself.
It is a well-known fact that green vegetables work like wonders in your diet. They are a rich source of vitamins, essential amino acids and have rich iron content. So every time you visit the doctor, your grandparents and even on a television you can see people admiring the benefits of including green vegetables in our meals.
When talking of green vegetable and not mentioning amaranth (singular Amaranthus) would be unfair.
Amaranth is classified as a pseudocereal, which signifies that it’s not technically a cereal grain like wheat or oats, but it shares a comparable set of nutrients and is used in similar ways too. Amaranth plant is such a versatile plant that almost it’s all parts can be consumed. Amaranth leaves, amaranth grain and amaranth stem are commonly used for cooking. Amaranth flowers produce seed that is referred to as Amaranth grain which has a characteristic nutty flavour. The leaves are used as Amaranth greens. Growing amaranth is a fun task because amaranth plant can be grown as an ornamental plant up levelling beauty of your space along with nutrition. Amaranth flowers are brightly coloured and sometimes they grow upright or trailing down. Young Amaranth leaves can be eaten raw in salads, while older, more mature leaves are better cooked. You will most commonly find amaranth grain sold in health food shops, as it is still not a widely cultivated grain, but the demand for this nutrient-packed grain is growing. The grains can be made into amaranth flour as a substitute or addition for traditional flour sources and provides a much richer variety of nutrients, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than the other grains. Amaranthus has a special place in Hindu religion as it is said to be pious and you can see people buying cholae laddu, especially during Navratri festive season.
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Besides numerous use of amaranth, we shall discuss how to grow amaranth greens in the hydroponic system for its use as a green vegetable.
Hydroponic gardening has the greatest advantage of providing high volume yield even in small spaces whether indoor or outdoor with fewer efforts. Hydroponic Amaranthus is another green vegetable which flourishes exceptionally well in different hydroponic systems.
There are many varieties of Amaranth on the basis of its use. Some of them are used for Amaranth grain and some of them used for Amaranth leaves for eating raw. Amaranthus tricolor is a striking ornamental plant best used as an ornamental plant because of its leave color. They are also available in different leaf colors like green foliage variety and also a purple variety which is suitable for growing amaranth indoors.
Varieties used for Growing Hydroponic Amaranth:
Amaranthus hypochondriacus (CO-4) this cultivar is leafy type and grain type both, the plants are characteristically dwarf. The grain in this variety make rapid vegetative growth within 20-25 days and the crop duration is usually 90 days.
If you want to grow amaranth plant it for harvesting raw leaves, then the following amaranth varieties can be considered
Amaranthus dubius (CO-1) its immature stems and leaves are thick and fleshy. Leaves are broad, thick and dark in color lacks vigor in early days but after 30 days it makes rapid growth
Amaranthus tricolor (CO-5) in this cultivar plants attain a medium height and leaves green and pinkish in dual color. The Gardner can expect its first harvest in 25 days
Amaranthus tristis in this cultivar leaves are green colored, small sized and the stem is slender and tender. Due to high leaf-stem ratio, the grower can have the first harvesting in 20 days after sowing and within 90 days can have about 10 clippings.
All the above varieties can be used for amaranth hydroponics.
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How to Grow Amaranth in Hydroponics?
For growing amaranthus you can use a variety of hydroponics system even you can build your own hydroponic setup by DIY or simply you can order the hydroponic kit from a variety of online stores which consists of personalized hydroponic system and nutrient solutions for high yielding amaranthus. A hydroponic system like deep water culture (DWC) and nutrient film technique (NFT) are best for raising hydroponic amaranth.
Best way to propagate amaranthus is by seeds you can fetch amaranth seed from any local horticultural store. Amaranth seeds are very tiny so sowing them can be little tricky and one has to be careful. Amaranthus seeds are very small and so have to be gently sprinkled.
A pinch or two of seeds is sufficient, the germination is usually observed within two days and lush green plant in 10 days. You can use coco-peat starter plugs for the germination of seeds which are also transferred directly to the system once seedlings have emerged.
Or you can transplant the seedlings after 15 days to the hydroponic system say to NFT channel, where circulating nutrient solution is provided to the young saplings for around 15 minutes, at two-hour intervals for about four to five times during a day.
Along with adequate nutrients proper aeration must be arranged for the system, the best indication of healthy hydroponic plants are its clean and developed roots, so always have a check on plant’s growth.
For obtaining a high yield of amaranthus make sure that the pH of the nutrient solution must be maintained at 5.5 to 6 fluctuation in this range may cause less yield and stress to the plant.
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Harvesting Amaranth from Hydroponics:
Amaranth is ready for cutting in 21 days commonly for harvesting can be done simply by uprooting the entire plant as the whole plant is edible. Here we suggest stem cuttings keeping the stem 3 to 6 inches above its root this permits lateral shoots to grow so harvesting can be done more number of times hence more supply.
If you wish to grow amaranth for its grains this can also be achieved by hydroponics. Basically, amaranth grains are seeds that develop after the amaranth plant matures and flowers. Growing amaranth for harvesting its seeds takes more time than harvesting amaranth leaves. As the amaranth flower stalks start drying out the amaranth grains are ready to harvest. If you gently rub the amaranth flower, you can observe the grains dropping out. At this stage, the flowers can be cut and dried. Flowers can be beaten inside a bag to release all the grains and it is later winnowed to get the seeds to separate from the chaff.
Some Facts about Growing Amaranth Leaves:
- Usually, Amaranth takes 2 to 3 months to get the first harvest if it is grown for grains, but when it is grown for leaves, you can harvest well before that.
- Amaranth is an annual or short-lived perennial plant.
- Amaranth thrives best in a warm climate, full sunlight (at least for 6 hours). and well-drained soil (soil based).
- Amaranth plant can go up to 5 feet high depending on the variety.
- Amaranth seeds germinate well in warm soils and can be damaged by spring frost.
- Growing hydroponic amaranth for leaves and grains is easy.
That’s all folks about techniques of Growing Hydroponic Amaranth leaves. Keep gardening!.
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