Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Growing Quinoa at Powell Lake, BC

Last year I experimented with growing quinoa for the first time at our float cabin up Powell Lake. It's an ancient grain with recent popularity because it's high in protein and gluten-free. I've eaten it, and like the nutty flavour. So, I figured it was worth giving it a try.

After some research online, I found locally produced seeds at Salt Spring Seeds. I figured, if it grows on nearby Salt Spring Island, it might grow up 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 and prefer full sun.

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

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.

Once the seeds were dry, I used my fingers to rub the seeds from the stems. I kept removing bits of stem and seed cover remnants until all that remained were the quinoa seeds themselves. Then I stored them in a glass canning jar with a tight lid.

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

5 comments:

  1. Good luck in growing more this year!

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  2. Isn't it nice when an experiment works and you get something edible from it. Have you planted this years' quinoa yet?

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  3. They look attractive too!

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  4. Don't go on about quinoa! Hubby loathes it!

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  5. I've not tried it. Wary, I suppose.

    ROG, ABCW

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