Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quinoa Planted Again

I planted quinoa last year (2008) with not particularly good luck (it was a total failure). The chickens relished the leaves and therefore, stripped the plants. Deborah Kean also planted it at the Oregon State University Vegetable Research Farm last year and had problems with top heavy plants lodging after fall rains. This year I'm trying again with fencing to keep birds out and a little more knowledge about growing the plant here in the Pacific Northwest (water sparingly!).

Five varieties were planted on June 7, 2009. These were planted a single time, no replication of planting, in short (two foot) rows in a raised garden bed. The bed is surrounded by a plastic chicken fence which probably shades the bed slightly. I'll remove the fencing over the top eventually but am being especially careful about keeping chickens out as they could decimate the whole planting in a very short time.

Four of the varieties were the same ones planted last year with the addition of one new variety from Nichols Garden Nursery.

1. Cherry Vanilla (Nichols): "100 days, 5' tall. Open pollinated ... Hot pink and white seed heads are striking in the late summer and fall garden."

2. Dave (Four-O-Seven, Seeds of Change): 90-100 days, 5-6' tall . "Medium sized seed is yellow brown on yellow gold seed heads.

3. Brightest Brilliant (Seeds of Change): 100-110 days, 3-4' tall. The seed packet has no variety description but the website says: "This ornamental and highly edible, nutritious grain blooms in late summer to produce gorgeously rich brugundy [burgundy], orange, yellow, white and pink flower head spikes. The most unusual and striking quinoa we've grown." Unfortunately, there was only a single seed left in packet, but fortunately, that single seed germinated.

4. Faro Traditional (Seeds of Change): 100-130 days, 4' tall. "Most adaptable, southern Chile sea level variety. Green and red topped plants with white/yellow seeds. Mid to long season, adaptable to much of the US. High Yielding."

5. Temuco Traditional (Seeds of Change): 100-110 days, 5-6' tall. "Delicious white-seeded variety. Tall plant produces yellow-green or brilliant red seed heads. One of the best choices for maritime areas, but also grows well in a variety of climates."

This year I had excellent germination (it was a dry June). Plants were thinned to about 6 inches apart (each variety has 1 to 4 plants) as of July 8. I've added the clearest photo I have, taken when plants were 3 weeks old. At this point they all look pretty much the same, they resemble lambs-quarters (another Chenopodium) for those of you who wonder.

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