- Clear the land of all bushes, burn the bushes as ashes favour amaranths production.
- Hence the clods should be pulverized (broken down) to provide a layer of fine soil surface. It requires fine, loose soils which can provide the small seed with good soil contact
- Amaranth is planted either by direct seeding or transplanting. The choice of planting method depends on availability of seed and labor and may also vary with the growing season.
- Average seed requirement is 2 kg / acre.
Planting seeds can be grouped into two:
- Pure seeds
- Seeds mixed with fine soil, fine wood ash or fine manure.
Direct sowing is appropriate when plenty of seed is available, labor is limited, and during the dry season when frequency of flooding is less.
When using direct sowing, plants are grown in rows. Make furrows 0.5-1.0 cm deep. The spacing should be as below:-
- Short varieties – 45cm by 10cm
- Tall varieties – 60cm by 20cm
Planting is done when the soils are soaked or wet. Spread manure along the furrows and mix well with soil to provide full utilization by the plants.
Planting methods include:
- pure seeds dropped or broadcast with two fingers including thumb
- pure seeds dropped or broadcast with three fingers including thumb
- Pure seeds dropped or broadcast using tins with very small holes at the bottom.
- Soil, wood ash or manure seed mixture using three fingers including thumb.
Hold a few seeds between thumb and the fingers and drop to the furrows.
The seeds require very little soil covering because if deep planted, germination is delayed or seeds may rot. Ashes are used to scare away pests that carry the seeds away before the rains.
Germination occurs in 3 – 6 days depending on soil moisture and planting method
Transplanting is preferred when there is limited amount of seed, plenty of labor, and during the wet season when heavy rains and flooding are most likely to wash out seeds.
To shorten the crop duration in the field and to secure a better and more uniform stand especially during the wet season, raising seedlings in a nursery followed by transplanting to the field is preferred to direct seeding.
There are two steps to transplanting:
Seedlings grown in a nursery, pulled and bare-root transplanted. They can also be container-grown in divided trays, lifted with the root ball intact and transplanted. If seedlings are started in a raised nursery bed, the soil should be partially sterilized by burning a 3-5 cm thick layer of rice straw or other dry organic matter on the bed. This also adds minor amounts of P and K to the soil, which helps in the establishment of the seedlings. Broadcast the seeds lightly in a nursery bed and cover 1 cm deep. Cover the seedbeds with an insect-proof net to protect seedlings from pests.
Setting plants into the field
Transplant in the late afternoon or on a cloudy day to minimize transplant shock. Dig holes 10 cm deep on the bed using recommended spacings for the chosen variety. Place each transplant in its hole and cover the roots with soil and lightly firm. Irrigate immediately after transplanting to establish good root-to-soil contact.