Quinoa originates from South America. It's a plant of the amaranth family, just like spinach. Quinoa seeds can be eaten and used as a grain substitute. The advantage of these seeds is that they don't contain gluten and can therefore be used by people who can't or don't want to eat gluten. Quinoa seed can also be ground into flour and can be used as a substitute for flour made with grains. Quinoa leaf can also be eaten and prepared just like spinach. The seed can also be roasted as an addition to a salad or other dish. It is also possible to germinate the seed to make very healthy sprout vegetables. Birds also like to eat the seeds.
Quinoa is very healthy, it contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B, B11 and E. And the minerals calcium, phosphor, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc. It also contains essential amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids, proteins and a lot of fiber. Vegetarians and Vegans can also use Quinoa as a good source of protein. This plant needs strong support. Non hardy annual. Height: 200 - 300 cm.
Outdoor sowing: April - June
Germination: 2 - 7 days
Germination temperature: 18 - 24°C
Sowing depth: ½ - 1 cm
Planting distance: 20 - 40 cm
Planting distance between rows: 45 - 60 cm
Plant position: very sunny
Flowering period: July - August
Harvest period: September - October
Quinoa is always sown outside, because the plants can't withstand repotting. The seedlings need a lot of moisture especially in the beginning. It's therefore important to prepare the soil well so that it can retain sufficient moisture. It's also important to remove weeds. The plants don't grow fast in the beginning and can then easily be overgrown by weeds.
Sow from the beginning of April, as soon as there is no longer any chance of night frost, outdoors in a very sunny place. Sow in rows that are 45 - 60 cm apart. Sow about ½ - 1 cm deep and sow sparingly. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil. Sow in a very sunny place with sufficient moisture. Keep weed free. Provide plenty of water, especially during dry periods. Once the plants are large enough to handle, thin them out to 20 - 40 cm. The thinned plants can be added to salads.
This plant is very attractive to bees and butterflies. Birds also like to eat the seeds of Quinoa. But the most important thing is that the seeds of this plant are edible for people and don't contain gluten. Quinoa is therefore very suitable as a substitute for types of grain for people who don't want or can't eat gluten.
Quinoa can be harvested when the seeds, which can be very colourful, turn to a pale shade. Remove the seeds from the stems by hand. After this, you can strain and blow the seeds to remove all pieces of stems. If it's very humid during the harvest period, it may be necessary to harvest the stems a little earlier and allow them to dry and mature indoors in a dry place. Before using Quinoa it must be washed twice to remove the saponin from around the seeds. Scrub the seeds well between your hands to remove this protective layer.