Useful information

Is quinoa a weed or a healthy vegetable?

Garden quinoa

We are used to considering the swan as a malicious weed and are usually frightened when we see that it suddenly appeared in our garden. But some experienced plant breeders are not only not afraid of its penetration, but even advise to cultivate this weed, growing it specially in their beds. Incredible? How to say.

Garden quinoa (Atriplex hortensis) - an annual plant of the family of hazeaceae. In fact, it is a plant related to beets and spinach. The erect, branched stem of the quinoa reaches a height of 2 meters. Her leaves are large (lower with a palm), heart-triangular, whole-edged. Leaves are varied in color: yellow, green, red, variegated (green with a red edge). According to the color of the leaves, the varieties of the cultural quinoa were respectively named: Ogorodnaya Zheltaya, Ogorodnaya Zelenaya, Sadovaya Krasnaya. Red quinoa, in addition to food, also has a decorative value.

Garden quinoa (Garden Red)Garden quinoa (Red Garden)

And now let us recall what quinoa is famous for among folk healers. So, its leaves are rich in ascorbic acid, proteins, minerals; they contain vitamins C, E, P, PP, rutin, essential oil, saponins, alkaloids. But oxalic acid, which is contraindicated in kidney stones and other diseases, is less in quinoa than in widely cultivated spinach. Orchard quinoa is common in many countries of Western Europe, and, imagine, they even call it French salad there. Although the garden quinoa came to Russia from the Mediterranean coast, it feels great in our climate. It grows violently, which is why gardeners began to be afraid of her.

Indeed, quinoa is an early maturing plant. But that is why it is attractive, especially in the spring, when we are so lacking in garden greens. To have fresh quinoa greens on the table not only in the spring, but throughout the summer, they are sown at several times with an interval of 20-30 days.

The first sowing is in early spring. Some vegetable guides say that quinoa is undemanding to soil. This is probably so, but a good harvest can only be obtained on fertile soil. Seeds are sown to a depth of 2 cm with a row spacing of 30 cm.

What's more, quinoa is a cold-resistant plant. Seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of + 2 ... + 4 ° С, shoots appear in 10 days and tolerate frosts down to -6 ° С.

Since quinoa grows quickly, as it grows, the plants are thinned out (used for food) so that they do not interfere with each other. Until the flower stem is formed, the plants are used for food as a whole, pulling them out by the roots. In adult plants, the largest lower leaves are subsequently cut off.

And again, let's return to the comparison of quinoa with the famous spinach. In terms of productivity, garden quinoa surpasses it. Some vegetable growers even say this: since spinach bears the title of the king of vegetables, then quinoa can rightfully be called the queen.

Garden quinoa (Garden Red)

Quinoa leaves are added to salads, and quinoa brings a variety to them not only in taste, but also in color. Quinoa can be boiled and stewed like spinach, added to borsch and okroshka, salted for future use.

As we said, this plant has medicinal properties. Due to the high content of potassium salts, it has a therapeutic and prophylactic effect on heart diseases. As a sedative, quinoa is recommended to be used in salads with dill, cow parsnip, chicory, vegetable salad, sorrel.

With radiculitis, a compress from steamed quinoa leaves helps. In case of inflammatory diseases of the oral cavity, 30 g of dry crushed quinoa grass is poured with a glass of boiling water, infused for 15–20 minutes and rinsed 5–6 times a day.

So use its opportunities for the benefit of yourself, your table and health. And do not be afraid that quinoa will turn into a malicious weed in your garden. Firstly, the plants can be harvested before the seeds are ripe, and the quinoa roots do not propagate.Secondly, its shoots are bright red, they immediately become noticeable, and if they suddenly begin to hatch in those places where you would not like to have them, they are easy to weed out.

Read also the article In the quinoa garden - for gout, for borscht.

"Ural gardener", No. 24, 2019