Planting Depth: 1/4”
Plant Spacing: 8”
Growth Habit: upright
Soil Preference: moist, 6.0 - 7.5 pH
Temp Preference: warm
Light Preference: full sun, or partial shade in warmer climates
Days to Maturity: 75
Pests/diseases: Root-Gall Nematodes, Mites, Aphids, Snails, Cutworms, Leaf Miners, Flea Beetles
HOW TO PLANT AMARANTH
You can start them inside 6-8 weeks before the last frost or direct seed outside once the danger of frost has passed.
If you direct seed outdoors, wait for soil temps to reach 65°F. Amaranth seeds are small, so sprinkle them onto prepared soil and top with a thin layer of earth. Indoors, plant seeds one-fourth of an inch deep and keep moist.
Germination Time: Seeds aren’t fussy to start and will germinate in under a week in temperatures between 65-80°F.
Soil & Sun Requirements: Amaranth is flexible when it comes to soil but prefers well-drained earth with a pH in the range of 6.0 - 7.5, so spread some cottonseed meal or coffee grounds in the row where you are going to plant. If you can, it’s best to do this in the fall before spring planting. That way the cotton seed breaks down over the winter. Growing amaranth plants need full sun with at least 6 hours per day.
Transplanting Young Plants to The Garden: Begin to harden off plants about 10 days before transplanting outdoors. Plant out only after the last frost date has passed.
CARING AMARANTH PLANTS
Fertilizing: Amaranth likes nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so a garden with lots of compost manure will make them happy. In addition, I like to use fish emulsion on my leaf crops.
Weeding: It is important to keep up with weeding as young plants are easily smothered by encroaching weeds. Amaranth has shallow roots so take care when you’re hoeing or cultivating. It’s best to cultivate by hand when working close to the plant’s stem.
Watering: Amaranth is drought tolerant. However, to produce nice leaves, make sure to keep the soil moist at the root level. Ideally, amaranth needs a few inches of water once or twice a week.
Root-Gall Nematodes: Amaranth is susceptible to root gall nematodes. These microscopic worm-shaped invertebrates are parasites that eat your plant’s roots. As they munch down on your plant, they excrete an enzyme which causes swelling. This is the bump or gall you may see on plant roots. You can buy organic soil soaks that contain saponins to kill the nematodes.
Mites: Control this arachnid by pruning infested leaves and blasting plants with a strong spray of water. You can also spray plants with neem oil.
Aphids: Aphids are tiny, (usually) wingless pests that feed on plant juices. You’ll often see curling, stunted leaves that may be covered in a sticky substance. Spray them off with a strong blast of water, or spritz plants with a concoction made out of water, dish soap and cayenne pepper. You can also plant mustard and nasturtium as trap plants near amaranth.
Snails, Cutworms: Set out traps or grit to control snails. Cutworms nibble on your plants at the base, effectively cutting them. Control them by picking them off or sprinkling diatomaceous around plants. Prevent them by tilling your garden in the fall.
Leafminers: Leafminers restrict plant growth and yield. You can spot them by the squiggly lines they leave behind in plant leaves. If you catch this early, you can regularly squeeze the tunnels in the leaves to crush the bugs. You can also use sticky traps or spray plants with neem oil.
Flea Beetles: Flea beetle infestations can kill an entire crop, so keep an eye out for these tiny jumping pests. Be sure to till your garden in the fall to prevent these. Use sticky traps and diatomaceous earth to control. Trap crops like mustard and radish will keep them away from your amaranth.