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Growing Calaloo aka Amaranthus


 
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Garlicbreath
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Location: Wexford

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: Growing Calaloo aka Amaranthus Reply with quote

As I was making an emergency purchase of beans this moring I picked up a packet of calaloo seeds too. On googling this when I got home I discovered that this is a plant usually grown for it's flowers - Amaranthus or Love Lies Bleeding. Seemingly it can be a bit of a thug in the garden, self-seeding all over the place. Does anyone have any experience of growing this plant either as a food crop or an ornamental. Does it get warm enough here to grow it successfully?
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Belfast
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Growing amaranth
by Emma Cooper
"Ornamental amaranths are easy to grow, tall plants that will bring an exotic note to your flower borders.

Half-hardy annuals, they should be sown thinly where they are to flower, in spring. They can also be sown earlier indoors in pots, for transplanting outside when the danger of frost has passed. Amaranths like to be grown in full sun.

Amaranthus caudatus, Love Lies Bleeding, is the most well known member of the amaranth family.
This plant grows up to 1.5 meters (4 feet) tall and produces long ropes' of dark red flowers that cascade right to the floor. Flowers are produced all summer long and make a striking cut flower. When carefully dried, they will keep their color for a long time."
the rest of the artile is in the link below
http://www.helium.com/items/436508-growing-amaranth



"Propagation

Mid-March is the time to sow seed, and it's happiest when 3mm or 1/8 in into the soil and lightly covered.

Sandy soil that drains well is best to give this plant a bit of air circulation.

Be patient with the Amaranthus. It will take about 24 days to germinate.

It will be happiest if the soil temperature is between 65-75 degrees F/ 18-24 degrees C. If the soil temperature drops below this point, use a little lukewarm water to keep the seed happy.

Seedlings outside should be planted in late April, early May in full sun with dry soil again.

Seedlings can be thinned so that there is about 2 in / 5 cm distance between each. This will give them a chance to spread out and become bushier, showing off their foliage and colour.

Growing Conditions

This plant is popular when in bloom, so either guard it from your relatives, or transplant enough into paks that it can be generously distributed.

Amaranthus is generally happier when transplanted, kind of like your teenager who is happier once they've transplanted themselves into a new location (not to mention your relief)!

This movement should help to speed up and intensify the coloring of the leaves, making the colors more vibrant faster. Ranging from purple, to red, to gold, this plant is happy to be useful, but happier to be an ornament in your garden.

Problems

Like I mentioned above, keep the soil well drained for this picky plant. Amaranthus likes things hot and dry and needs to be watched closely for insects and disease.

Don't over-water this one, as it will not thank you for the extra drinks."

the rest of the article is in the link below
http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/amaranthus.html#ixzz0FgQf39PF&B
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Garlicbreath
Rank attained: Silver Birch Tree
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this info Belfast. Sounds like just the job for the hot dry summer we're about to have, ie drought resistant Laughing

Seriously, I'm going to sow this in one of my raised beds (very well drained) for salad leaves and to make crab and callaloo soup. If it grows well I'll move a few plants to let them flower and see what happens. The seeds are supposed to be a great food source too.
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paddy mac fisto
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 9:15 am    Post subject: calaloo leaves Reply with quote

I think I remember an episode of River Cottage where this was mentioned. I think they visited an allotment and there was a Jamaican guy growing it and yer man took some away with him. I think he may have spotted a tin of it in a shop in that show as well.
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