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Amaranthus Tricolor, Chinese Spinach, Amaranth, Calaloo - Red Army

£0.95

Red cultivar of a green vegetable, popular in many countries, including the Caribbean.  Staple ingredient of Calaloo Seafood Soup.

Leaves can be used in stir-fries, stews and soups, with a tangy, spinach-like flavor.

It is a very ornamental plant and is often grown in the flower garden.

It is also a very efficient plant at capturing carbon and turning it into biomass.

This variety is normally grown for the edible leaves, but produces copious amounts of seed later in the year. 

An easy plant to grow, but it requires a long growing season if you want seed and will only germinate above 10C, preferably above 20C, so you will need to start them off indoors early in the season. 

Hardy to zone 5. Amaranth accumulates nitrates in its cells when grown non-organically, so it is advisable to grow your own without chemical fertilisers. 

Sow late spring in situ. An earlier sowing can be made in a greenhouse and the plants put out after the last expected frosts. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A minimum soil temperature of 10°c is required for germination, germination is better at temperatures above 20°c. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination.

Prefers a light well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position, though it does succeed in heavier soils. Tolerates fairly acid soils.

Edible uses 

Leaves - raw or cooked. Often used at the young seedling stage, they are also cooked as a spinach and have a very mild flavour. An excellent hot weather substitute for spinach.

The crisp interior of large stems makes a tasty vegetable. It can be eaten raw or cooked as an asparagus substitute.

http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Amaranthus_tricolor 

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