Vita Cypriot Amaranth
Purple-red leaves on 6-8’ tall plants. Known in Cyprus & Greece as “Horta” or wild mountain greens. Steam the plentiful young leaves with lemon juice & olive oil. Our seed came from William Woys Weaver of Roughwood Seed Collection, who gathered the seed while researching food history in Cyprus.
Days to maturity: 30
Seeds per pack: 225
Germination rate: 52% on 01/31/2020 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
Amaranth is an extremely self-sufficient crop. Expect germination between 10-20 days, and fast growth after that. At this point on our farm, amaranth greens have seeded themselves enough that we harvest many young, tender plants whole at 12" as a way of thinning, but the plants we allow to mature are given about 2' space in each direction. Mature plants have deep pink taproots that allow them to go long periods of time without watering, and shoot up thick, bushy branches.
Seed keeping notes
Amaranth is wind pollinated and can cross pollinate with many varieties of Amaranth. Isolate by a minimum of 500 feet or cover the flowers with corn tassel bags to prevent unwanted cross pollination. Seeds are ready when they start dropping from the seed head, which matures after the flower dies back. You can cut the whole seed head and hang it to dry and mature further in a dry, ventilated place, or you can shake it while still on the plant every day or two, as the seeds ripen at different times starting from the bottom to the tip. Either way, shake the plant in a bucket to release the seeds. Use a strainer to sift out the larger chaff. Use your breath, wind, or fans to winnow off lighter weight chaff.