Red spinach (Amaranthus dubius) is an erect annual herb that grows up to 32 – 59 inches tall. It has both red and green assortments. The stems are slender to stout, branched, glabrous, or upwards, especially in the inflorescence, with short to rather long hairs. The leaves arranged spirally, simple, without stipules. It blossoms from summer to fall in the tropics, however, can bloom throughout the year in subtropical conditions. It is a ruderal species, generally found in waste places or disturbed habitats. Amaranth dubius leaves are recommended as good food with medicinal properties for young children, lactating mothers, and patients with fever, hemorrhage, anemia, constipation, or kidney complaints.
Species: A. dubius
Scientific Name: Amaranthus dubius Mart. ex Thell.
Common Names: Red spinach, Pigweed amaranth, Chinese spinach, Spleen amaranth, Hon-toi-moi, Yin choy, Hsien tsai, or Arai keerai (Tamil).
How to grow and maintain Red spinach (Amaranthus dubius):
It requires full sunlight. They need 6-8 hours of sunlight to grow.
Red spinach grows well in rich, organic, well-drained soil. To prepare a good growing medium. Take a mix of two parts potting soil, one part Coco Peat and one part Vermi Compost.
It thrives best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18°C – 32°C but can tolerate 7°C – 36°C.
Water the plant just when the top of the soil is dry. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. To prevent the plant from rotting, always allow the top of the soil to dry between watering.
Fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer once or twice a season.
Red spinach can be easily propagated seeds. Sow the tiny seeds directly in the soil in late spring. Germination is usually rapid and good if the soil is warm. A drop in temperature overnight aids germination. seeds can be started indoors for transplanting. Transplants can be started approximately 6 to 8 weeks before the spring arrives, but seeds should not be sown outdoors until all danger of frost has passed. Seeds should be sown to a depth of 1–2 cm in rows spaced 10 to 12 inches apart.
To harvest Red spinach just pick the individual leaves as needed for greens. Younger greens are great for salad, older greens are better cooked as a substitute for spinach. The time from planting to harvest is 20 to 30 days from seed. You can also cut your amaranthus when it is between one and two feet tall. You must cut the whole stem, maybe six to ten inches above the ground. The stem will re-shoot and can be harvested again.
Seeds ripen about three months after planting, usually in the mid-to-late summer, depending on your climate and when you planted. They are ready to harvest when they begin to fall from the flower head. Give the tassel a gentle shake. If you see seeds falling from the tassel, it’s amaranth harvest time.
Pests and Diseases:
It has no serious pest and disease problems. Watch for mealybugs, thrips, mites, and aphids.
Benefits of Red spinach (Amaranthus dubius):
- The leaves of Amaranthus dubius are cooked and used as vegetables. The leaves quickly become soft within 5 – 10 minutes of cooking.
- The tiny seeds are very nutritious, it can be ground and used as a powder. The seed can be cooked whole and becomes very gelatinous like this, but it is rather difficult to crush all of the small seeds in the mouth and thus some of the seed will pass right through the digestive system without being assimilated.
- This ancient grain is rich in fiber and protein, as well as many important micronutrients.
- It Contains Antioxidants that are naturally occurring compounds that help protect against harmful free radicals in the body. Free
radicals can cause damage to cells and contribute to the development of chronic disease.
- Eating Amaranth dubius Could Reduce Inflammation Inflammation is a normal immune response designed to protect the body against injury
- It is a nutritious, gluten-free grain that provides plenty of fiber, protein, and micronutrients.
- Yellow and green dyes can be obtained from the whole plant and the plants are burnt as a source of potash.