Native Region: South America
Zone Range: 03-10
Preferred Climate: cool temperate
Harvest Date: Sunday 20 September, 2009
Seed count: 30-40
This grain-like plant produces edible seeds high in complete proteins. The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa grains contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Quinoa grains are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited.
The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or 'mother of all grains', and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements'.
Sow in containers in a cold frame in spring or outdoors when soil temperatures reach 18-24 degrees Celsius. Thin plants to 12 inches apart. Grow in sandy, well-drained lean soil in full sun. Maturity is 90-120 days. Quinoa does best in sandy, well-drained soils with a low nutrient content, moderate salinity, and a soil pH of 6 to 8.5. For maximum freshness, please keep seed refrigerated in its original packaging until it is time to plant.