Amaranth species are commonly grown for their spinach-like leaves, or for their grain-like seeds. Wild species, usually called pigweeds, are the second most damaging weed to agriculture, next to nutsedge. Our Callaloo grows well if cared for, but is unlikely to become a problem. Some native varieties excel as a potherb, specifically A. australis, but they are a wetland plant, and may not do well in your garden.
It produces white seeds that can be used in a number of ways, unlike the black seeded native varieties, whose seeds are bitter.
It is an African species grown for its delicious large leaves and soft stems, and is used as a potherb (it is not eaten raw). It is enjoyed throughout the Caribbean, and our seed line came from Jamaica. Seeds may be broadcast and then thinned, or planted in seed trays and transplanted. They grow fast and tall, and will produce seed even if most of the plant has been eaten. Amaranths are full of vitamins and minerals, and even some protein. The nutritious nature of these plants has not escaped the notice of just about every species of caterpillar, so you would be well advised to pick up a bottle of concentrated BT and a spray bottle to mix and spray the plants with if you encounter problems.
pdf Callaloo Information Sheet
(to print out)
The seeds of the black-seeded variety (not A australis) are bitter. The plant tends to go to seed more quickly, but it also reseeds itself more reliably, so it will come back year after year without your having to replant it.
The seeds of the white-seeded variety can be eaten as a grain. The plant goes a little longer before going to seed, which you will need to collect and store over the winter in order to plant more of it.
Seeds for Sale: We have seeds for sale for $5 a packet – please specify whether you’d like white or black seeds (or one packet of each for $10)
Cash or Check only to: Miranda Castro, 4474 NW 1st Ave, Gainesville, FL 32607
A Note about Seeds from Dan: ECHO in FT Myers has Callaloo on-line at http://www.echobooks.org/ (click on “seeds” then “leafy green vegetables”). They call it ‘Jamaican Calalu‘ . It is also available on EBay: http://cgi.ebay.com.sg/Amaranthus-dubius-EdibleTropical-Callaloo-100-seeds-/360187467664. And also at http://evergreenseeds.stores.yahoo.net/ (the site is down until May 5th).