Quinoa (Capsicum spp.)
Quinoa is a grain native to the high altitude growing regions of the Andes, where this crop thrives in dry days and cool mountain nights. While the plants will grow under many conditions, the seed heads will not always form properly. Consider this an exciting experiment! While you may not get good seed head formations, the plants are beautiful and you can eat their succulent greens.
Folate, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese.
How to Grow Quinoa from Seed
Plants grow best in areas with temperate days and cool evenings.
Direct seed in spring after danger of last frost.
Developing stands of this plant that grow well in the less dry, less cool areas of the continental US is still very much in the beginning stages. While the plants will grow under many conditions, the seed heads will not always form properly. It's thought that maintaining cool nighttime temperatures is very important to pollination, although a lot is still unknown. Regardless of Seed production, quinoa is easy to grow for young greens harvested when about 12" high.
How to Save Quinoa Seeds
Self-pollinated and wild-pollinated, most pollination is done by the flowers themselves, although wind-pollination is possible and so isolation distances should be observed. For good seed formation, quinoa needs and adequate frost-free period that is both not too hot and not too cold. It's the Goldilocks of the grain world.