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How to Grow Quinoa

By Cleveland Van Cecil
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Quinoa is a plant native to Bolivia, Chile and Peru, and has been consumed for 5,000 years, according to the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Quinoa is used as a cereal grain and is often used by those with restricted diets for its high-protein content. Buying quinoa at organic or specialty shops may be expensive, so growing quinoa at home is an economical option. If you live in an area with warm summer days and cool nights, quinoa will grow quite well in your garden.

Take soil samples from several areas of your garden, using a small hand shovel. Place the samples into a plastic container. Send the samples to your university extension office to have the pH and nutrient levels of the soil tested. The extension will recommend amendments for your garden soil.

Apply the recommended nutrients and soil amendments. Mix them into the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, using a rototiller.

Sow the quinoa seed to a depth of 1/4 inch in early June, when the soil moisture is correct for seed germination. Sow more seeds than you need tightly together. Space the rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Do not water the planting area.

Thin the quinoa so there is one plant every 16 to 18 inches in each row.

Water the quinoa when the plants show two or three leaves, irrigating just until the soil is moist. Quinoa is drought-resistant and only requires 10 inches of water each growing season.

Harvest the quinoa once the leaves have fallen off, exposing the dried seed head. Strip the seeds off the stalk by pulling up on the head with a gloved hand.


Things You Will Need

  • Plastic container
  • Hand shovel
  • Tiller
  • Quinoa seed
  • Gloves