CERTIFIED ORGANIC! Beautiful calico-coloured seed heads mature above plants up to 2.4m (8') tall. Leaves of young plants are tender and tasty raw or steamed. Sow more densely if growing for greens - farther apart for large, full-size plants. Dry harvested Quinoa seeds completely, and rinse them thoroughly to remove a bitter coating prior to use. After cutting and drying the seed heads in late summer, bash the seeds about in a pillow case or yard waste bag to loosen them from the stems. Then it's easy to remove the chaff to end up with pure, clean seeds for eating and planting. And yes - it grows well in BC and in the Pacific Northwest. Feedback from Ontario growers who grew Brightest Brilliant Organic is very positive as well.
Matures in 100 days (Open-pollinated seeds)
Quinoa greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, and have a nice, mild flavour. The seeds can be ground into a flour that is gluten free, or simply cooked like rice. Continue reading below for our tips on how to grow quinoa from seed.
Season & Zone
Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full sun
Direct sow in spring, while night temperatures are still cool. Night time temperatures should be consistently above 10°C (50°F). Optimal soil temperature for germination: 18-24°C (65-75°F). Seeds should germinate in 4-10 days.
Sow 5mm (¼”) deep, 10 seeds per 30cm (12″), and thin to 25-35cm (10-14″) between plants. If growing for baby leaf production, plants can be spaced more closely.
Days to Maturity: From direct sowing.
Ideal pH: 6.0-7.5. Use a well-drained, loamy soil with added organic matter in the form of well-rotted compost or manure. Keep weeded, but otherwise quinoa is drought tolerant and undemanding. It’s a great plant for xeriscaping, and the tall plants look good at the back of a floral border.
Harvest any time after seeds have changed from green to their calico colours, even after light frost. Read more about How to Harvest Quinoa.
In optimal conditions at least 70% of seeds should germinate. Usual seed life: 3 years. Per 100′ row: 160 seeds, per acre: 42M seeds.
Diseases & Pests
Watch for slug/snail damage to young seedlings. Keep the area free from debris where these pests like to nest.
Check out Mark’s podcast about quinoa on the Encyclopedia Botanica blog.