Amaranth is one of the most vibrant and beautiful microgreens you can grow. Besides its striking red color, the taste is unique, and a small amount in a dish adds a layer of flavor.
We will show you how to grow amaranth microgreens in a few easy to follow steps.
How to Grow Amaranth Microgreens
Amaranth is used not only as a microgreen but as a garden flower and also as a grain. There are many species of amaranth and even more cultivars. As a microgreen, the most commonly used amaranth cultivar is called Red Garnet.
This cultivar can also be grown in the garden, it has clumps of fuzzy reddish-purple flowers that are very beautiful. They remind me of the annual flowering plant celosia.
As microgreens, amaranth is easy to grow. If you follow a few easy steps outlined below, you'll be eating amaranth microgreens within 10 days.
This article will outline the steps to grow this vibrant microgreen and discuss the nutritional value of amaranth.
Advantages to Amaranth Microgreens
Besides the beautiful red color, amaranth microgreens are very nutritious. The nutrition of these microgreens is discussed later in this article.
Click this link if you want to skip down to the nutrition section.
Growing Red Garnet Amaranth Microgreens
Even though amaranth microgreens are so easy to grow, they're not often recommended as such, or offered in beginners microgreen kits.
However, they're an excellent variety for first-time growers to sow, raise, and harvest if the following two tips are kept in mind.
- Amaranth likes warm temperatures, so if your growing area is on the cold side (below 72-degrees) increase the heat or place the growing tray on a seed heat mat.
- The second tip is to not over-water amaranth as it grows, it is susceptible to fungus growth.
Growing Amaranth in Ten Easy Steps
Below is a list of the ten steps to growing amaranth microgreens. For a more detailed explanation, and to see a video of each step, take a look at Growing Microgreens for the First Time.
Here are the steps using the Home Microgreen Kit. If you don't have the kit, the photos will show you what supplies you need to grow microgreens. You can click images to expand their size.
Note: Some of the images below are of the beta Home Microgreens Trays (opaque trays & red lids). The black trays and opaque lids are the new Home Microgreens Trays. Both are similar-sized, but the later use much less soil and are therefore more economical.
Some people grow all of their microgreens on jute fiber mats. We believe that premium potting (soilless) mixes are a better choice, even if using soil appears to be a pain.
Add a premium potting mix to the planting tray. A planting tray needs small holes in the bottom so water can be drawn up from below instead of top watering once the greens have germinated.
The soil should be firmly compacted and level just below the top of the tray.
Use a spray bottle to wet the soil surface with un-chlorinated water. Allow the water to soak into the soil, then respray the surface. If you see depressions or high spots on the soil, use your fingers to level the surface.
The variety of amaranth we grow and sell is called Red Garnet Amaranth.
The seeds are small and round, so you'll need to take care when you handle them. Otherwise, you'll be chasing them around the planting table.
Add your amaranth seeds to a shaker bottle. A shaker bottle will allow you to spread the seeds more evenly. There are between 37,000 to 38,000 amaranth seeds in an ounce. That's between 1,300 and 1,350 seeds per gram.
For amaranth, you want to plant about 38 seeds per square inch. So if your planting tray surface is 37.5 square-inches you'd add 1.1-grams of Red Garnet Amaranth seeds to your shaker bottle.
Below is a photo of 1.1-grams amaranth microgreen seeds, or about a quarter of a teaspoon. So as you can see, amaranth seeds are tiny as there are over 1,350 seeds in that volume.
If you're growing microgreens in your own tray, check out our handy Microgreen Seed Calculator!
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Now that the soil surface is prepared, and the seeds are in the shaker bottle, it's time to sow them.
Start sprinkling seeds onto the soil working in concentric circles around the planting tray. It's helpful to hold your spare hand around the tray, so seeds don't bounce out. Especially with amaranth seeds, as they are hard, round, and easily bounce off the soil.
You may need to unscrew the top off the sprinkler bottle to get the last few seeds out of the bottle. Once all the seeds are out of the bottle, use your finger to spread out clumps of seeds to areas with fewer seeds. Spread the seeds as evenly as possible across the surface.
Don't worry if the seeds aren't perfectly spaced. The seeds will grow, and the plants will spread out to fill the voids.
It may seem that the seeds could be sown more densely. However, we've run trials, and more seeds increase the probability of disease in amaranth.
Amaranth stems are soft and tender and seem prone to attack. In later photos, you'll see that the plant density in the trays is excellent.
Now it's time to prepare the seeds to germinate. Use the spray bottle and wet the seeds. Go easy, or the seeds will fly out of the tray. The water will also help settle the seeds into the soil.
Place the planting tray inside the watering tray. A watering tray is one that doesn't have holes and will hold water. Use a similar size tray, like in the Home Microgreen Kit, or you can use a larger tray.
Place a cover on the seeds (don't seal the tray tight), if the cover is transparent or opaque, use a tea towel or cut a piece of cardboard to fit the cover to keep light off the seeds. The tea towel is removed from the tray below.
Most microgreens can be left on the soil surface, but they need to be covered to keep light off them while they germinate (we tested this, read why it's important to blackout and weigh down seed by clicking this link).
Place a weight on top, this not only keeps the cover on but also encourages the plants to root into the soil media. Below we've used a fossil, now we use 5-pound weights! Don't worry, the growing plants are vigorous and will lift the cover as well as the weight as they grow.
Don't do anything for 2-days. Just let the seeds germinate and grow. The cover will retain enough moisture for the seeds to grow.
On day 2 (late in the day) take a look at the seeds. You'll see that germination has taken place and the amaranth seedlings are growing!
Check the moisture of the tray, it should be okay, but make sure by checking the color of the soil media. A light brown color suggests that the media and seeds should be sprayed lightly with the spray bottle.
If the amaranth seedlings are smaller than the ones below, check the soil surface to see if it is dry. If so, use the spray bottle and wet the surface again and place the cover back on the tray.
Let the plants grow for another day or two before checking on them again.
The amaranth seedlings in the photo below are ready to be placed under lights. The germination rate is reasonable, and the plants are rooted and ready to leaf out.
Here's a close-up.
The white fibers are root hairs, not a fungus.
When the plants are ready, remove the cover and placed the tray under an LED light.
Now that the amaranth microgreens have germinated started to root, and are growing it's time to get them under some light. There's a lot of discussion about what light is best for microgreens. I think it's best to give them as much light as possible.
After all, light is where the plants get their energy to grow. Whether it be sunlight, cheap LED lighting, or a special grow light, give them as much as you can. Don't fret over it, just do the best you can with what you have.
If the plants look white or pinkish, don't worry, once they receive light they will turn darker rose red.
Some growers mention that Red Garnet Amaranth microgreens don't require a lot of light, however, as you'll see in the photo below, the red color is more intense where the more light hits the leaves.
Let the amaranth microgreens grow and give them water from the bottom. Here's where the watering tray comes into play. Memorize how the weight of the dry tray feels. Judging the weight this way is how you'll know when to water again.
Add water to the watering tray, a quarter of an inch works at first. Set the planting tray in the water and allow it to absorb the water from below. Watering from the bottom keeps the leaves and stems dry, eliminating the possibility of damping-off disease and stopping soil from splashing up on the plants.
The first time you water, you may have to add more water because the majority of the soil in the tray is dry. Afterward, you won't need to add as much water.
Every other day check the weight of the tray to see if it needs water. The need will depend on the humidity and amount of air moving across the tray.
Once under the light, the amaranth microgreens will stand straight up and grow steadily, but not super quickly. The microgreens below are 6-days old.
After 9- to 14 days, the amaranth microgreens will be around 3-inches tall and are ready to harvest.
The amaranth plants in the photo below grew for 16-days.
To harvest, tip the tray about 45-degrees over a cutting board or a large plate and using stainless steel scissors, or a very sharp knife cut the microgreens just above the soil surface.
Try not to disturb the soil. If some soil does spill, it's okay, use your hands to fluff the cut microgreens the soil particles will fall to the board or plate where you can wipe it off.
It's always recommended to wash microgreens before you use them (I don't if they are dry and clean) to be sure no bacteria is on the microgreens.
Only cut what you're going to use that day. Replace the growing tray under the light and let them grow so more.
If you can't use all of your amaranth microgreens before they grow too tall and leggy, cut them and place them in a zip-lock bag with several small slits cut in the bag. Don't wash the microgreens at this point.
You want them dry, as they will stay fresher longer. Squeeze the air out of the bag and store the microgreens in the refrigerator crisper.
That's all there is to growing amaranth microgreens. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section below the article to ask. I'll get right back to you.
Amaranth Microgreen Nutrition & Flavor
Nutritionally, amaranth microgreens are well-balanced with higher levels of Vitamin A, B's, C, and K. It also contains moderate levels of protein.
As for minerals, amaranth contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It's also reported that amaranth has more antioxidants than kale microgreens
Not only are amaranth microgreens healthy for you, but the grain also is, and many health benefits are reported.
You can download a chart presenting the vitamins and minerals for the most commonly grown microgreens by clicking the button below.
How to Use Amaranth Microgreens
Amaranth microgreens taste sweet with an earthy flavor, and they have a soft texture. They add a unique flavor profile to food.
The vibrant pink to red color makes amaranth a favorite with chefs. A small amount of amaranth adds both color and flavor to salads.
We use amaranth microgreens mostly in salads and in egg dishes. Their soft texture doesn't make them very useful as toppings for sandwiches.
Interested in Growing Amaranth Microgreens?
If you'd like to try growing your own broccoli microgreens at home, use the buttons below to take a look at the kit or if you have the supplies, the broccoli microgreen seeds.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions about the information in this post or microgreens, in general, please leave a comment below or reach out to me using the Ask a Question page.
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