Amaranth: Expert opinion of US scientists

Today is not an ordinary article. This is a collection of excerpts from official research scientists from the United States of America. They were conducted by specialists from the Center for Alternative Plants and Products of Animal Origin (University of Minnesota) and the 2nd Division of Agronomy and Soil Science of the College of Agricultural Sciences (University of Wisconsin) a few years ago.

This data of foreign researchers is another official and competent confirmation of the unusual properties of this wonderful plant. Each section of the article presents brief conclusions from US researchers.

Historical facts

Amaranth, an ancient culture prevalent on the American continent. Cereal amaranths were important in different parts of the world and at different times for several thousand years.

The largest cultivation area was at the height of the Aztec civilization in Mexico in the 1400s. The last two centuries, grain amaranth has been grown in various places on the planet, including:

• Mexico;

• Central American countries;

• India;

• Nepal;

• China;

• and East Africa.

Amaranth studies by US agronomists began in the 1970s. Then several thousand acres of amaranth were grown in the United States for commercial use (sales of the products — seeds, oil, flour, leaves). Amaranth markets were not yet very stable, but evolved every year. Crop area increased in the 1980s.

Today, novice producers are encouraged to start with a few acres, and contracts for the sale of the future crop should be made even before sowing.

Scientists from the United States of America identify several areas of application for this plant and the products derived from it.

Food use

Grain amaranth is used for food. The most common application is to grind grain into flour for cooking:

• bread and pastries;

• noodles;

•cookies;

• and other flour-based foods.

Also from the grain of amaranth you can cook popcorn. Currently, there are several dozen products on the basis of amaranth grain on the US market.

One of the reasons that has recently caused an interest in amaranth is its beneficial nutritional properties – the grain contains:

• from 12 to 17% protein;

• lysine, an essential amino acid;

• vitamins and trace elements.

In addition, the grain is characterized by a high fiber content and a low content of saturated fat, which contributes to its use in the market of healthy food. Studies conducted on laboratory animals have shown that amaranth grain, used for food, can significantly reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.

Using in animal husbandry

Amaranth is used relatively often in animal husbandry, being an excellent animal feed. For example, research conducted in Minnesota (USA) showed how high the potential of this plant is as animal feed.

In addition, similar studies were conducted at pilot sites in Iowa.

As a result, it was found that in regions where it is too dry for growing corn, amaranth grain may become a suitable silage alternative, but research in this area will still be conducted.

Amaranth features

In the US, it is common to grow two species of this plant:

• Amaranthus cruentus;

• Amaranthus hypochondriacus.

Grain amaranths are different species with different characteristics, and did not turn into weeds, where they were grown, but retained their cultural characteristics. Amaranth grain grown in Arlington, Wisconsin contained between 16.6 and 17.5% protein.

Grain amaranths have large colored seed heads and can produce more than 900 kilograms of grain per hectare. At least, it is these indicators of yield recorded in the cultivation of amaranth in the Midwest. However, researchers note that part of the grain is still lost at harvest.

Amaranth cereal plants in the mature state reach 1.5-2 meters. They are dicotyledonous (broad-leaved) plants with thick, tough stems like sunflowers. Tiny, lens-shaped seeds have a diameter of one millimeter and usually from white to cream color.

Environmental requirements and cultivation

Also, scientists have studied in detail the conditions under which the best yield of amaranth can be achieved. And described the basic requirements for climate. Amaranth has been found to be drought tolerant, but subject to the presence of sufficient moisture to ripen the crop. Amaranth perfectly responds to constant, intense sunlight, direct sunlight and rather high temperatures.

Now let’s take a closer look at exactly how the preparation, planting and harvesting should be carried out. The seeds are very small, it is important that they are sufficiently solid. Field preparation for sowing can be performed using a field cultivator or disc equipment. This is followed by cultivation, using a harrow with grooves and seeding, preferably using a planter with pressure discs.

Seeds should be planted no more than 12 millimeters into the ground, depending on the texture of the soil and the surface moisture during planting. When choosing a field for sowing, heavy textured soils should be avoided. Sow amaranth in the United States begin in late May or early June, when the soil temperature is at least 18 degrees Celsius. And after the land was treated against the growth of the first weeds.

Accurate, optimal seed volumes have not been established, however, up to about 1.8 kilograms of seeds per hectare should be used. The distance between the rows depends on the equipment. The seeder should be ideal for small amaranth seeds. Traditional grain planters are not recommended due to problems with sowing speed control and sowing depth, but they can be used if amaranth seeds are diluted with “carrier”, for example, corn.

Harvesting

The harvest is the most important stage in the production of grain. Without compliance with certain, you can lose or damage most of the seeds. In particular, we are talking about the use of special reapers, which are designed for cutting amaranth stems and knocking out small grains of this plant. Studies conducted by University specialists during 12 years of demonstration that the yield of up to 18 centners per hectare is quite real! Naturally, if the site for this was previously prepared.

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Best Vegetables to Plant in Your Organic Garden

Eat and enjoy these tasty vegetables and herbs from your kitchen garden

Homegrown vegetables and herbs bring fresh flavors to summertime meals. Got a late start on your garden this year? Many of the following easy-to-grow varieties can be sown throughout the growing season. You can enjoy these herbs and vegetables freshly picked from the garden or cook them up using some of our recipes. Either way you know you’ll be getting an abundance of nutrients to keep you happy and healthy.

Bush Beans

Why we love them: Green beans are a healthy summer favorite, both for their fresh crunch and flavor. They also add a bright shot of green to your dinner plate.

What you get: Green beans provide a bounty of nutrients: vitamins A, C and K, manganese, potassium, folate and iron, as well as fiber.

In your garden: Plant your bean seeds in well-drained soil where they’ll receive full sun. Sow seeds every few weeks to enjoy a continual harvest through the summer.

 

Beets

Why we love them:Beets are an earthy, sweet treat. And don’t forget to eat the beet greens too-baby ones are delicious raw in a salad; cook more mature ones as you would chard or kale.

What you get: 1/2 cup of cooked beets has a mere 29 calories but boasts 2 grams of fiber and provides 19 percent of the daily value for folate, a B vitamin needed for the growth of healthy new cells. Beets’ beautiful color comes from betanin, a phytochemical that’s thought to bolster immunity.

In your garden: You can plant your beets as soon as your soil can be worked in the spring.

 

Carrots

Why we love them: Carrots are a perennial favorite-delicious raw or cooked, and they can be prepared in a variety of ways.

What you get: The pigment that makes carrots orange-beta carotene-is the same compound the body converts to vitamin A, a vitamin essential for vision, healthy skin and the immune system.

In your garden: Plant carrots as soon as the soil can be worked. They thrive in fertile sandy loam.

Cucumbers

Why we love them: Cucumbers are a tasty addition to salads, add crunch to your crudit‚s plate and even taste good cooked.

What you get: While the cucumber isn’t known as a nutrition powerhouse, it does provide refreshment: at 95 percent water content, a cup of cucumber slices is nearly as thirst-quenching as a glass of water.

In your garden: Give your cucumber plants generous amounts of organic matter and good fertilization and they will respond with lots of crunchy cucumbers; harvest them regularly to increase production.

 

Gourmet Lettuce Mix

Why we love them: Lettuce is easy to grow, making it a great choice for container gardening. This mix of greens tastes great in a salad or on a sandwich.

What you get: Although nutrients differ with each variety of lettuce, leafy greens are a great start to any meal, supplying vitamins A, C, K and folate.

In your garden: Lettuce thrives in cooler weather so plant it in the spring and fall, sowing every few weeks for a continuous harvest.

 

Snap Peas

Why we love them: These sweet peas with edible pods make a great snack on their own, and are just as welcome cooked up into a satisfying side dish.

What you get: With one-third of your daily value of vitamin C and 3 grams of fiber in every cup, these vegetables are a healthy choice.

In your garden: Snap peas are hardy legumes that germinate in soil temperatures as low as 40øF, but don’t do so well in hot and dry weather. Plant your peas so that they can mature as early as your planting schedule allows and sow more seeds when cooler fall days return.

Radishes

Why we love them: These spicy, crunchy globes are packed with flavor. And radishes are more versatile than you may think: add them to a salad or temper their heat by cooking them in your favorite veggie stir-fry.

What you get: Bonus! One radish has just 1 calorie.

In your garden: Even if you don’t have a green thumb, radishes are easy to grow in containers and gardens; spring radish varieties are often ready in just three weeks and are more mild in flavor-hotter summer soil produces spicier radishes.

 

Mild Mustard Salad Mix

Why we love them: Peppery and spicy mustard greens, like mizuna and pac choi, add great zing to salads. Try them when your recipe calls for Asian salad mix.

What you get: Dark leafy greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Mustard greens are also an excellent source of folate, important for women of child-bearing age.

In your garden: You can sow salad greens in your garden from early spring to midsummer.

 

Basil

Why we love it: No other herb epitomizes the taste of summer like basil. Whirl up a batch of pesto or sprinkle basil on your favorite pasta dish.

In your garden: Plant basil in rich, moist soil where it can enjoy full sun. Sow your basil every few weeks for continual harvest.

 

Dill

Why we love it: With both the leaves and seeds used for seasoning, dill is a very versatile herb. The leaves are soft and sweet, whereas the seeds have a sweet and citrusy taste that is slightly bitter.

In your garden: The herb can be used both fresh and dried. Plant your dill seeds in warmer temperatures: it thrives in soil around 75 to 80øF.

 

Cilantro

Why we love it: Cilantro is a flavorful herb prominent in Mexican and Southeast Asian cookery. Try it as an alternative to basil in pesto to top fish or stir it into your favorite salsa recipe. The stems are as flavorful as the leaves-just discard any that are tough.

In your garden: Plant cilantro early in the season and sow seeds regularly for a continued harvest.

 

Parsley

Why we love it: Often parsley is used as a garnish, leaving its delicious flavor underappreciated. Not only does it have a great aromatic quality, but parsley also contains vitamins A and C.

In your garden: Plant parsley in fertile soil with good amounts of organic matter and moisture.

 
Thyme

Thyme

Why we love it: Best known as a background flavoring for stews and soups, thyme is one of the most versatile herbs. Although typically paired with savory robust foods, such as red meat, poultry and root vegetables, it is also good with apples and pears.

In your garden: Grow thyme in an area that will receive full sunlight.

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Article Source: Eating Well

7 Tips to Improve Your Organic Gardening Skills

Tip # 1: Don’t Re-use Water with Chemicals

When watering plants use recycled water, but avoid re-using water from sources such as baths, washing machines, or dishwashing. These water sources may contain harmful chemicals that can be absorbed into your vegetables such as nitrates and phosphates. This water may even contain pathogens that could harm you or your plants.

Tip # 2: Rotate Your Crops

You will need to rotate the plants on a regular basis when you have an indoor organic garden. Plants need to get light from all directions in order to grow properly. If they are not rotated, plants will bend toward a light source, which can actually cause them to produce less fruits and vegetables, than they would have if they had been rotated.

Tip # 3: Protect Them Seeds

Keep your seeds warm and humid. Most seeds are healthy at a temperature of about seventy degrees. Place your pots next to a heating vent or install an additional heater if needed. You can cover your pots with plastic films so that the seeds can keep their humidity and warmth.

Tip # 4: Train Your Plants

Are you busy with your organic garden? Remember, before you replant your flowers or vegetables outside in cooler weather, you need to get them ready for the change in temperature and light! For a few weeks, move your plants to a colder spot with no light for a few hours. Gradually increase the amount of time you leave your plants in the cold. After a few weeks, your plants should be ready for the cooler outdoors.

Tip # 5: Give Them the Time They Deserve

Tend to your garden a few steps at a time. A garden requires ongoing maintenance, and becomes a big time drain if you let things pile up until the weekend. Stop by the garden for a few minutes each day and deadhead some flowers while you’re waiting for dinner to cook or pull a few weeds while watching the kids play.

Tip # 6: Plant Your Own Food

Plant ornamental, edible plants as part of your regular yard landscaping. Good plants to start with include rosemary, thyme varieties, sages, oregano and basil. These all look great mixed with perennials, and they will supply you with enough that you won’t need to purchase them anymore – herbs are expensive at the supermarket.

Tip # 7: Basket is Your Friend

When it’s harvest time, you should utilize a basket that you put laundry in to carry your veggies. This laundry basket can be used as a type of strainer for all your produce. Doing this allows you to both rinse and drain your fresh produce.

An organic garden right in your home is a great thing to have. You’ll love the fresh, organic produce that you pull right out of your back yard, for free! Apply the tips from this article now, to stop relying on farmers, who are only out to make a quick buck. Start enjoying quality produce, right from your own home.

The Basic Methods of Organic Farming

Natural farming is done to launch nutrients to the crops for enhanced lasting production in a green and pollution-free atmosphere. It aims to generate plant with a high nutritional worth. There are numerous methods through which organic farming is practiced are as follows:

1. Crop Variety

Now a days a brand-new technique has entered image which is called -Polyculture- where a variety of plants can be grown simultaneously just to meet the raising need of plants. Unlike the ancient technique which was -Monoculture- in which just one kind of crop was grown in a particular place.

2. Soil Administration

After the farming of plants, the dirt sheds its nutrients and its high quality depletes. Organic agriculture initiates the use of natural ways to increase the wellness of soil. It focuses on the use of bacteria that exists in pet waste which assists in making the dirt nutrients extra productive to improve the soil.

3. Weed Monitoring

-Weed-, is the undesirable plant that expands in farming fields. Organic farming pressurizes on reducing the weed as opposed to removing it totally.

4. Managing other microorganisms

There are both useful as well as harmful organisms in the farming farm which impact the area. The development of such organisms needs to be managed to protect the soil as well as the crops. This can be done by the use herbicides and also pesticides which contain less chemicals or are natural. Likewise, correct sanitization of the whole ranch must be preserved to manage other organisms.

5. Livestock

Organic farming initiates domestic pets make use of to enhance the sustainability of the farm.

6. Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is kept away from this sort of agricultural established because natural farming concentrates on making use of all-natural ways as well as discourages crafted pets and also plants.

7 Great Ideas for Your Organic Gardening Woes

Idea # 1: Make Full Use of Containers

Take care of your containers. You do not have to spend a lot of money on containers: you can reuse common items as pots. Make sure you clean your containers thoroughly and disinfect them to avoid diseases. Drill a few holes in the bottom so that the extra water can be drained.

Idea # 2: Seed Sprout Are Stronger

When your seeds sprout, they will not be in need of the warmth they needed to germinate. Sprouting plants can be removed from the heat source. Take off any plastic that is on the containers to keep away from warmth and moisture. Watch your seeds closely to know how to go about this.

Idea # 3: Help Mother Nature a Little

While Mother Nature will eventually do the work needed to create compost from a backyard pile, even if it is not actively tended, you can give her a helping hand by adding compost starter to the mix. Compost starters, available from the garden centers, add microorganisms to the soil that help speed up the decay process.

Idea # 4: Earthworms are Great!

Embrace earthworms in the organic garden! Earthworms are an organic gardener’s best friend. Through tunneling and their nitrogen-rich castings, they can help to aerate the soil. This improves the amount of oxygen that gets to a plant’s roots, improves water retention capacity, and keeps the soil loose and workable. They actually raise much-needed minerals from the garden’s subsoil to the topsoil, where plants can get the greatest benefit. These worms also break up hardpan soil, which is detrimental to root growth.

Idea # 5: Organic Mulch FTW!

To conserve water when you’re gardening, be sure to use three inches of organic mulch. The mulch will help your plants to absorb the water slowly over time, allowing you to use less water than you normally would. Many natural materials make great mulch, including pine needles and many types of leaves.

Idea # 6: Healthy Fruits have Colorful Flowers

Blend flowering fruit shrubs into your regular landscape. Don’t have a separate area to turn into a garden? Elderberries, blueberries and currants have pretty flowers in springtime and look great in the fall as well. The side benefit of these landscape-enhancing plants is all the fruit they produce for you to enjoy.

Idea # 7: Use Diatomaceous Earth as Pesticide

If you are experiencing a problem with slugs or other insects, a wonderful organic contact pesticide is diatomaceous earth. You can buy this at most garden centers, and it comes in a white powder form. It is an abrasive material that will kill the critters by damaging the skin of the slugs and joints of the insects.

After reading through all of that, do you still see organic gardening in the same way? Do you now see that it is so much more than a pesticide-free garden? The work involved is not too bad, but it will take effort and patience to grow an organic garden of your own.