Seeds forum: Amaranthus Seeds

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Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 1:48 AM CST
I grew Amaranthus for the first time this year, and I really love it! I have harvested the seeds from a couple of the varieties, but had to go out of state before a couple more looked ready. While I was gone, we had a week of very cold temps, down into the low 20s and upper teens at night. Is it too late to harvest the seeds now that they have been frozen? Yes, I could harvest them and hope for the best, but it is a labor intensive job, and if there is no chance of them being good, I'd rather purchase seeds again and hope for better luck next year. We are putting in a food plot for the birds, and I planned on including plenty of amaranthus in the plot. It will be about an acre, so I'm really hopeful that the seeds are still good!

Thanks for any help!
Natalie
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 8, 2014 8:34 AM CST
Being that I get THOUSANDS of Amaranthus seedlings every spring that are volunteers I would think that freezing does not hurt them.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 11:00 AM CST
Blinking Thousands? Maybe thousands won't be a good thing in my flower bed, where the plants are now, but it will be great if they do that in the feed plot! Hurray!

Thanks for the help Jennifer! I'm going to harvest them!
Natalie
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 8, 2014 11:17 AM CST
They are easy to thin out
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 11:18 AM CST
That is good to know! I was sitting here, thinking about what a nightmare Spring may be! Hilarious!
Natalie
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 8, 2014 11:51 AM CST
I don't know about all the varieties but Hopi Red Dye seedlings transplant very easy for me.
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Dec 8, 2014 12:01 PM CST
Freezing does not discourage them at all!

Meticulously harvesting them is a pain though and might not be necessary unless you are going to eat them and/or intend to sow them in containers for later transplant. I just throw seed heads around in the fall and prop up giant stalks in the trees for birds to eat.
And in the spring they come up where ever--best germination is in full sun, well-drained soil, without a lot of competing vegetation. When I want to grow them in an area with an 'understory carpet of sorts' I just transplant seedlings that sprouted up wherever I didn't want them once they get tall enough to compete with the understory.

Oh--and the young leaves are pretty good. Have a salad or saute them when you thin all the volunteers out of your flowerbed Hilarious!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 12:30 PM CST
Thanks to both of you!

I harvested the Hopi Red Dye seeds, but I'm sure an equal amount fell on the ground. Same with Dreadlocks, which was my favorite. I'll probably pull the seedlings up, since I'm not wanting an entire flower bed stuffed full of them! It would be too much work to transplant them to where I want them to grow, so I want to start with seeds. Three others that I planted, one of which was Elephant Head, ended up being the wrong plants. I contact the seed company and sent pictures, but they didn't know which ones they were. They had a supply issue - I bought them at a store - and they were going to let me know if they ever found the true name. But, I liked them, so I wanted to save the seeds for later, and preferred to know which ones they really were.

Dirt, my BFF in Utah plants hers the same way you do, by throwing the seed heads where she wants them. She does that in the Spring though. I'll let her know that she can do that in the Fall too, since it is fun to garden when there isn't much going on besides cleanup!

We're putting in a food crop for mainly game birds, and I heard that amaranthus would be a good choice to mix in. So, I decided to do a test planting in my garden, and I fell in love with the plant! The biologist from the local DWR office is going to help with the plot. They have a program here in Idaho where they will even help pay for it! We need to get the field plowed before doing anything though, because it is bunch grass right now. So, I'm saving the seeds to plant in the plot. We're leaving an acre or so in bunch grass for a nesting/hiding area, but we should have about 2 acres planted in crops for the birds by the end of next year. If it goes well, we'll do more. The pheasant population here has been decimated because everyone grows winter wheat, and those fields seem to be where the hens lay their eggs, because there is nowhere else that is appropriate. When the wheat is harvested, the chicks don't survive. The deer should also like the amaranthus, and if it helps to keep some of the deer out of the alfalfa, that will help the neighbors that need the alfalfa for their cattle. The deer were so bad this year that there was almost no alfalfa to harvest when the time came to do that. If the deer like amaranthus better than alfalfa, I'm sure that more people will grow it in their CRP plots, just to help with the alfalfa production. We're being the guinea pigs!
Natalie
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Dec 8, 2014 1:08 PM CST
Oh yeah, the deer in my neighborhood chomped away on my amaranthus plants this summer
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 1:22 PM CST
I'm also thinking that if I grow a large area of amaranthus, it will keep some of the deer out of the other flowers. I'm trying to plant only deer resistant flowers outside the fence. I know that it is no guarantee that they won't be munched on, but it will be less likely that they will do so if there is something growing that they really like. I hope that goes according to plan!
Natalie
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Dec 8, 2014 7:16 PM CST
Sounds like a plan Thumbs up best wishes with all of it.
When I lived in MN, and had a lot of space, I used to grow giant sunflowers, and thistles, and amaranth for the birds--
Anyway, I had this huge one with mammoth golden flower heads--made copious amounts of seed and was really pretty too--can't remember what it was called? something like golden giant. Give it a try if you can find it
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 7:30 PM CST
I grew Mammoth Russian sunflowers this year too, and saved most of the seeds to plant in the food plot. I thought they were stunning, and can't wait to see a field full of them! We've been battling yellow star thistle, so I'm trying to stay away from thistle until we've had this field going for a couple of years. My husband may have a meltdown otherwise. Hilarious! I also have seeds from a smaller sunflower to plant. There is a seed store in the city that mixes seeds according to what you want them for, so we'll purchase the rest from them. They have specific blends, just for game birds, and the prices aren't bad at all. Plus, they are local, so they know what will grow well here.

Natalie
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Dec 8, 2014 8:21 PM CST
ooh yeah--stay away from thistle then--they are really challenging to embrace Hilarious! (mine were ubiquitous pink and purple monsters that were impossible to control)
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 8, 2014 10:36 PM CST
Here is the place we are getting the seed from. http://www.grasslandwest.com/ They came up with a special mix for us, which isn't listed on their site, but I did notice that they have a "Yellowstar Fighter" mix that we may try. Just not sure if it will do okay where we would put it, since it isn't in an area that we can irrigate. I think if we had pink and purple thistle, I could convince my DH that it isn't really as evil as the yellow variety! Whistling But, that may take a few years! The previous owners of this place let it go, and never tried to stop any of the horrible weeds, so we are infested with it. We would really like to just burn the fields, but haven't gotten up the nerve to attempt anything like that yet. To us, it would be better than a chemical attack, but we'll probably have to resort to that in some areas. Some of our neighbors burn their wheat fields after they have been cut, so we may get one of them to help us with that. It's just scary thinking about it, but it is a very common practice here, and it does control the star thistle. However, we're new to farming, so we have a lot to learn!
Natalie
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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dirtdorphins
Dec 9, 2014 6:54 PM CST
Well, I can assure you that the pink and purple thistles were plenty evil Hilarious! too, and they were perennial clumping machines. I let a few stands go out in my wild field and dug out the rest (constantly). I understand that yellowstar is an annual--you probably have about a 20yr seed bank of it ready to go with every soil disturbance.
I don't know "the answer". Burning is scary, but it's fun too. It might work better than plowing if your goal is reclamation Shrug! and it occurs to me that what I think of as bunch grass might just really spread well after plowing? I don't really know--talk to all the experts and your neighbors.

I do know that my current yard was a vacant lot for a long time and that I have a wicked seed bank with an amazing variety of nasty stuff that I don't want to encourage and a few surprise gems once in a while. Any time I disturb the soil I get a flourish of weeds--
You know how some folks aerate their lawns and that's supposed to be a good thing? Hilarious! Well we tried that once after driving a lot of heavy equipment over the lawn, once we had established a lawn (from seed btw and that wasn't easy), and every single one of those little dirt plugs sprouted a weed riot Hilarious! and likewise, every time I plant something in the gardens I always get more than I bargained for where I disturb the soil.
So, for me--here, mulch is a great helper, as are groundcovers, and no tilling, aerating, mixing, etc., after the initial set-up seems to work best--especially amazing results with the veggie garden.
Given my experience with this mess, if it were me, I might be inclined to explore cutting and burning as opposed to plowing-up an acre and liberating all those seeds to compete with the seeds I'm sowing... Shrug!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
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Natalie
Dec 9, 2014 9:16 PM CST
My husband has done a lot of research on this beast, and he read that plowing is one way to actually stop it from growing. Don't know how that works, since it seems to put other weed seeds into grow mode, but lots of information says it works. Supposedly, 3 consecutive years of burning also works really well, and should get rid of the seeds that have been waiting to spring into action. We don't want to wait three years to put the food plot in, so we're going to plow the one field and hope for the best. Mark did spray one very small area of the field with weed be gone, just to see if that would work, but timing is everything. Not sure if his timing was good, but there seemed to be way less this year than last year, in that small test area. It was only about a 3 X 3 foot area, and we really don't want to use any chemicals, but if that is the only way to get rid of the thistle, we'll probably do it. Mostly because it really hurts the dogs feet. Anything that hurts the dogs has to go. Hilarious! We've kept the field cut really short too, which may be helping. But timing is everything on that as well.

So, that leaves the other field, which we may burn if we get up the nerve! You should have seen us freak out over the brush pile that we burned! Rolling on the floor laughing We were sure that we were going to set the county on fire, even though the ground was soaking wet! Hilarious! It was actually pretty fun after we got over the panic, and now we don't hesitate to burn the brush that we cut. However, doing an entire field is really scary! We'll have to invite some real farmers over for help. Hilarious!

Early last year, a neighbor down the road plowed a massive field full of bunch grass, and planted wheat in it. We saw zero bunch grass come up in the wheat, so it isn't something that spreads after tilling. I don't know what the true name of the grass is, but everyone here calls it bunch grass, including the biologist at the DWR. It grows in large clumps. I'll try to get a picture of it so that you can see what I'm talking about. It is really common here, growing in every field that isn't under cultivation.

The latest thing that people have been using to control the thistle is a bug. We have a friend who tried them, and he said they made no difference at all. Maybe he didn't have enough of the bugs? Shrug! That would be something that we would love to try, but the bugs are in very short supply around here. We're on the waiting list to get some, but it could be a couple or more years. So for now, we're planning an attack without them. Rolling on the floor laughing
Natalie
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Dec 9, 2014 9:44 PM CST
okay--well like I said--I don't know what I'm talking about--so yeah, talk to the experts and the neighbors! Let us know how it goes, and I hope for mad-fantastic-success for you. It is a worthy endeavor!!

But I can relate to the burn freakout! Our first big one on the farm was a huge pile of decimated trees. We did it in a gentle snow storm with about 2ft of snow on the ground --and the pile-- and I swear you could see it from space. It burned for about 3 weeks.
In the spring I was inundated with burdock Thumbs down which also sucks with dogs!
But on an entirely humorous note--a friend stayed at the farm while I was out of town to take care of the critters. She made the absolute worst rhubarb cake I have ever tried out of young burdock Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Blech!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
Cottage Gardener Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: United States of America Echinacea Xeriscape
Image
Natalie
Dec 9, 2014 11:45 PM CST
Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Everything you wrote cracked me up!

Burdock pie! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Thanks for the encouragement! It is both needed, and appreciated!
Natalie
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Photography Bee Lover Region: Utah Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Photo Contest Winner: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
dirtdorphins
Dec 10, 2014 7:38 AM CST
Thumbs up nodding

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