Amaranth, Copperhead (Organic)

Amaranthus sp. Flower/Grain. 45 days leaf; 90 grain.

A stunning early maturing variety that grows 4-7′ tall and has light tan, almost golden colored seeds. With its very ornamental, large, copper-colored seed heads, it will certainly become a focal point in the garden. We love it when staple food crops can double as ornamentals. Copperhead is similar to the classic amaranth variety, Golden Giant, but with shorter plants and earlier maturity we find it to be more reliable for seed production in our bioregion. Amaranth was a staple crop of the Aztecs, its seeds and leaves are known to be some of the most nutritious of food crops. Our friend Gary Rondeau did an excellent write-up of his experience with this grain on his blog at:

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Sow in pots indoors in April for planting out in May, or direct sow after danger of frost. Space or thin to 12–18 in.

Seed Saving

Harvest for grain when seeds rub off easily in your hand, but before seedhead is crispy dry. Hang over a tarp to dry for several days, then dance, rub, or flail seeds from seedheads. Winnow to clean or place seeds in a bowl and make stirring motion with your arm; chaff rises to the top for easy removal. Isolate from other amaranths by 1/4 mile.

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