Planting Quinoa

So after finding that grain seeds are more of a specialty item, even from “seed companies”, we decided to purchase our second choice of grain. This year we will be planting quinoa instead of rye. It may be for the better since apparently quinoa is quite the flowering beauty while rye is… well, not.

This is what we’re going for:

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Basically, the quinoa will grow between three to four feet tall with beautiful red, pink, and white flowers and then die back leaving the harvestable seeds. Quinoa needs only moderate water (it isn’t a heavy drinker) and will grow even in sandy soil. Much like rye, but not a huge heat lover. Since this is our first ever attempt at growing quinoa, or any grain for that matter, it will be interesting to go through the process.

Our first task was to clear out a spot in the “garden annex” where we keep our raspberries, potatoes, and growing fruit trees. The annex is fenced in from deer, but doesn’t have the built up soil the main garden does.

Trevor weed-eated (is that a word?) the whole area with what he has named “the Prius of weed-eaters”. No offense Prius owners, but like this electric weed-eater, the Prius is pretty gutless. It would have been nice to have a muscle car weed-eater.
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Then the work crew shoveled off the top layer of grass leaving the bare dirt underneath in a 4’x8′ plot.
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Hard rocky dirt just wasn’t going to cut it so we shoveled in some nice black compost to pick up the slack.
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The package said to make rows, but our thick compost wasn’t going to allow for that. We just cast out the seeds as evenly as possible, gave it a good soaking, and wished the new patch some luck. I did, however, realize much too late that 100 seeds is barely a half of a handful and we would need more seeds. I’ve read that many people have had great results with packaged eating quinoa from the grocery stores since it is unaltered and identical to the packaged “cover crop” version. We will have to pick up a small bag and test this theory.
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