Friday, October 24, 2014

Growing Quinoa

One of my garden experiments this year was growing quinoa. It's an ancient grain with recent popularity because it's high-protein and gluten-free. I've eaten it and like the flavour and consistency, so I figured it was worth a try.


I wasn't sure it would grow in my small cliffside garden plot. After some research online, I found locally produced seeds at Salt Spring Seeds.

If it grows on Salt Spring Island, it might grow on Powell Lake.


Quinoa grows in all kinds of soil, but prefers well composted and well drained conditions. The plants grow from four to six feet in height. They prefer full sun.

I planted my quinoa seeds directly in the soil in April.  Spring rains kept them watered through June. After that I watered every week or two.


To space the seeds evenly, I planted them in toilet paper tube rings.

Each ring got three or four seeds. Since I've never grown quinoa before, I figured it would help me distinguish my new plants from weeds.


Quinoa is a slow starting plant. In addition to the seeds being edible, the leaves make good additions to salads and cooked, much like spinach. Thinnings can be used in this manner rather than relegating them to the compost pile. Or you can pick young leaves as the plant grows.

Quinoa is a very low maintenance, drought resistant plant. Keeping weeds away allows them to grow larger. My problem was keeping the hungry land critters away. They enjoyed the tender leaves and stems so much, I ended up with only one plant reaching maturity.

Even with my critter problem, I consider my experiment a success. I didn't get enough seed to make a meal, but I did prove that quinoa can be grown on Powell Lake. Next year I'll try again and see if I can get more to survive. -- Margy

5 comments:

  1. Wow, good to know we can grow it in BC. I eat Quinoa all the time.

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  2. Great experiment - hope next year gets you better results.

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  3. I have thought about growing Quinoa as I eat a lot of eat. How much did your one plant yield? How many plants do you think that one would need for a useful crop? Xxxx

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  4. I think I actually have a packet of seeds that I hope is not too old. I need to think about this for next year.

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  5. Love it when experiments succeed! Thanks for sharing this with the Homestead Blog Hop!

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