Submitted by pavan kumar.gk
Amaranth belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. It is the most popular leafy vegetable of Kerala. It can be grown throughout the year. Avoid sowing or planting of red leaved varieties during periods of heavy rain. The leaves and succulent stems are good sources of iron (305 mg/100 g),calcium (397 mg/100 g),vitamin A (8340 microgram /100 g)and vitamin C (99 mg /100 g).
The crop is adapted to a wide range of soil conditions. Sandy soil with slight acidity is best suited.
A temperature range of 20-30' C is required for better vegetative growth. A. tricolor, A.dubius, A. tristis are common leafy vegetables whereas A.hypochondriacus is a grain type.
In leafy amaranthus the grain colour is black while in grain amaranthus the seed colour is sandal yellow. The grain Amaranthus is a rich source of protein and essential aminoacids like lysine, leucine, isoleucine etc.
Selection criteria for planting materials
20-30 day old healthy seedlings are transplanted in the main field.
Red: Kannara Local, Arun
Green: Co-1, Co-2, Co-3 and Mohini
Note: Kannara Local is a season bound variety, which comes to flowering in November-December.
Preparation of land
Prepare the land by ploughing or digging followed by levelling. Then shallow trenches of width 30-35 cm are made 30 cm apart. Well rotten FYM is mixed with soil in the trenches. Transplant 20-30 day old seedlings in the shallow trenches at a distance of 20 cm in two rows. During rainy season planting shall be done on raised beds.Seed rate: 1.5 to 2.0 kg/ha.
The first irrigation is given immediately after sowing. Avoid rapid water flow to prevent washing off of seeds. Subsequent irrigations may be given at frequent intervals except rainy days.
Apply 50 tonnes of FYM per ha as basal dose before planting. After preparing trenches, apply N:P2O5:K2O @ 50:50:50 kg/ha. Another 50 kg of N can be applied at regular intervals as topdressing. Spraying 1% urea immediately after each harvest will increase the yield.
During early stages, complete control of weeds could be obtained by raising cowpea in the interspaces. In gardens where this is not possible, pre-emergence application of diuron 1.5 kg/ha or oxyfluorfen 0.2 kg/ha is effective. Weeds emerging later could be controlled by the application of paraquat 0.4 kg/ha or glyphosate 0.4 kg/ha. If hand weeding is resorted to, give 4-5 surface diggings depending on weed growth. Avoid deep digging. Do not disturb soil after plants start producing bunches. If green manure crop is grown, weeding operations can be reduced to 1-2 diggings.
As far as possible, avoid use of insecticides or fungicides. In severe cases of leaf webber attack, spray malathion 0.1% or dust malathion 10% DP.
Spray Indofil-M 45 @2 g/l of water if the white rust incidence is very severe.
In green types, pull out the plants with the roots on 25th day after sowing. Cutting the top portion is also practiced. 4-6 cuttings are possible.
On an average a total green yield of 10-15 tons can be harvested from one hectare in 4-6 cuttings.