The quinoa plant (Chenopodium quinoa) is a whole seed that provides a lot of benefits and has become fashionable, especially in people with a vegetarian or vegan diet. Learn all about how to grow quinoa and more in this guide.
Quinoa is rich in vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, among other nutritional supplements offered by this plant. Many believe that growing quinoa is very difficult, but it is not, it is easier than it seems and we explain it below.
When and Where to Plant Quinoa
Before knowing how to plant quinoa we must know where and how to grow quinoa, it is not a demanding plant but we need to know the following.
It should be sown in early spring. It is ready to harvest from 90 to 120 days after sowing.
Quinoa requires full sunlight. Although it can tolerate sowing in areas with half shade, it is common to see a decrease in the harvest.
It prefers a relatively cool climate but does not tolerate frost or very high temperatures. A soil temperature of 59°F (15 °C) is recommended.
Lower temperatures make harvesting unfeasible. It does not grow in temperatures higher than 86°F (30 ºC).
How to Grow Quinoa Step by Step
Below we will explain the steps to know how to grow quinoa correctly and have a successful harvest.
1- First we will prepare the soil, we need to remove the weeds and stir the soil well. It prefers well-drained soils.
2- We add some organic matter to our soil so the quinoa will grow better.
3- Plant the quinoa seeds no more than 0.6″ (1.5 cm) deep and 16″ to 24″ (40 to 60 cm) apart between plants. By maintaining this separation between plants, we help to prevent them from competing with each other for land resources.
4- After 4 to 6 days we will observe the quinoa sprouts.
5- It can be harvested after 90 to 120 days.
How to Care for Quinoa Plant
You already know how to grow quinoa, now you must know its main care to have a successful harvest.
The main concerns and care that we must have with this plant, is the weeds, we must keep its surroundings clean of the same, as these could kill our crop, usually, the growth of quinoa is quite slow, but once it reaches at least 12″ (30 cm), these will grow very fast and will be self-sufficient and strong plants.
This plant is giant, so we should not place it in pots, each seed will have and become an adult plant up to 10 ft (3 meters) high. With approximately 20 quinoa plants, we will harvest 2.2 lbs (1 kg) of this highly appreciated cereal.
How to Grow Quinoa: Pests and Diseases
Quinoa seeds are coated with a substance called “saponin” which is quite bitter and generally prevents birds and other pests from messing with the grains.
The leaves, however, can be vulnerable to damage from insects such as aphids and flea beetles. Once the plant is mature enough, it can withstand damage from these small insects without problems, but while they are young, they can pose a problem.
Some caterpillars and leafminers can also be attracted, although on a smaller scale, so it will usually be enough to remove them as you see them. Pests are not a big problem when growing quinoa.