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Video: Amaranth In Cooking, Medicine And Garden Design
My first acquaintance with amaranth happened in Moscow in 2001. In one of the pavilions of VDNKh, I noticed a bag with seeds of an interesting plant with long hanging inflorescences. Then I did not know anything about amaranth.
Having sowed the seeds that same spring, I began to observe this plant with curiosity. The first shoots appeared in ten days.
At first they grew slowly, but as soon as they grew by 5 centimeters, they began to develop by leaps and bounds, and at the end of June, to my unspeakable joy and to the surprise of my neighbors, a magnificent plant with a height of 1.5 m with hanging to the ground appeared before us raspberry inflorescences. This is how my love for this amazing plant began. If the rose is called the queen of flowers, then amaranth can rightfully be called the flower king.
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Amaranth (Amaranthus) is an annual plant of the amaranth family. Plants reach 2-3 m in height, have a stem thickness of 8-10 cm and a weight of 3 to 30 kg. The inflorescence is a lush panicle up to 1.5 m long of various shapes and densities. Seeds are small of various colors. They retain their germination capacity for up to 5 years.
The homeland of amaranth is Central and South America. The indigenous population of South America began to cultivate amaranth 8 thousand years ago. Amaranth products have been part of the diet of the Aztecs and Incas for centuries.
Amaranth is a natural source of calcium. Eating it fresh (in summer) or dry (in winter) is an excellent prevention of osteoporosis (brittle bones).
Amaranth significantly reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, regulates metabolic processes.
Its leaves contain a lot of protein, well balanced in amino acids, which is highly soluble and easy to extract. In addition, the leaves contain nutrient and medicinal substances for humans: starch, vitamins, pigments, pectins, trace elements.
Amaranth grain contains up to 8% oil, in which up to 10% squalene is found. It is the main component of human skin. Due to the fact that squalene is part of the cells of the skin, it is easily absorbed and penetrates into the body. It is able to increase the strength of the immune system several times, thereby ensuring the body's resistance to various diseases.
Now amaranth is successfully used in India, China and other countries for inflammatory processes of the genitourinary system in women and men, for hemorrhoids, anemia, vitamin deficiencies, loss of strength, diabetes, obesity, neuroses, skin diseases and burns, stomatitis, periodontitis, stomach diseases and dr. Amaranth is able to compensate for the deficiency of protein, vitamins and microelements in the human diet.
Amaranth oil was tested in St.Petersburg at the Petrov Oncology Research Institute, in Moscow at the Burdenko hospital, in the burn center at the N.N. Sklifosovsky. The results are as follows: there is no better immunity activator yet.
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Reproduction of amaranth
Amaranth grows very quickly. I sow seeds in May in open ground to a depth of 1 cm. A week later, shoots appear, and at the end of June, amaranth inflorescences appear.
You can grow amaranth through seedlings. He tolerates picking and replanting well. Amaranth often reproduces by self-seeding. When growing it, it must be remembered that it is a cross-country, highly pollinated with other species, including wild ones. This must be borne in mind when seed growing amaranth.
This same property makes it possible for even amateurs to breed new varieties. For example, in my garden I let 2-3 such seedlings grow from self-seeding, and the result is always unpredictable.
The main types and varieties of amaranth
There are 65 genera and about 900 species of amaranth known in the world. There are 17 known species in Russia.
In floriculture, amaranth is used quite widely. These plants are decorative until frost. Every year in my garden I grow 5-6 types of amaranth.
Breeders have bred many varieties of amaranth. There are varieties for fodder purposes, there are varieties used as a vegetable plant. The weight of such a plant can reach 30 kg.
Amaranth is a magnificent plant with bright red, purple or golden flowers, with various types of panicles, straight or drooping, and variably colored foliage. The most common types of amaranth used in ornamental gardening are panicle amaranth, dark amaranth, tricolor amaranth, caudate amaranth, round amaranth (gomphrena) and their numerous varieties.
The most famous type of amaranth is celosia - cockscomb, the inflorescence of which is similar to the comb of a rooster and is represented by a large number of garden forms: white, yellow, pink, crimson, bright red, purple and even variegated colors.
Curbs, ridges can be made from low varieties. From tall species, hedges are obtained. Tall types of amaranth, such as tailed amaranth, look good in the center of the flower bed.
Next, in a circle, I plant either paniculate amaranth or tricolor amaranth, and I sow the next circle with round amaranth (gomfrena). The colors of the amaranths are such that, in any combination, they look very organic. Low-growing amaranth varieties are suitable for growing in containers.
Amaranth inflorescences are a wonderful dried flower. Once planted, it will never disappoint even the most demanding grower.
Pests and diseases
I have been growing amaranth for many years, and have never seen a single sick plant. According to other sources, amaranth leaves are sometimes affected by aphids.
With excessive moisture, various fungal diseases can occur. Perhaps it happens in a rainy, cool summer.
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