How to Grow Quinoa

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Days to germination: 4 to 5 days
Days to harvest: 90 to 120 days
Light requirements: Full sun
Water requirements: Water occasionally during dry spells
Soil: Well-drained and fertile
Container: Not suitable for container growing


First of all, the name of this grain plant is pronounced “keen-wa”, and its seeds are high in protein which makes it a nutritious grain to grow. The protein is considered a “complete” protein, a rarity in the plant world. This makes quinoa a popular food among vegans and vegetarians.

It’s not in the same family as the more traditional grasses we grow for grains (like wheat, oats or barley), but it is considered a grain nonetheless.

And unlike the grassy grains, quinoa will bloom with gorgeous flowers before going to seed. The flowers are usually deep red or purple, and look like a large spike of tiny clusters flowers at the top of the stalk.

Quinoa is an annual that prefers cooler weather, and is well-suited for more northern growing. Your summers should not get hotter than 90F or your plants will suffer. Your harvest of seeds can be used like many other grains, typically cooked and used alone as a rice-like side dish or incorporated into any number of recipes.

Starting from Seed

Quinoa isn’t usually started indoors for transplant, but rather just put out into the garden once the soil has warmed to around 60F. This usually makes for an early spring planting, around the time of your last frost.

Dig up your soil beforehand to loosen the earth and to kill any early weeds. Quinoa grows slowly and can have trouble competing with fast growing weeds, so it’s best to get rid of any other growth in the garden before planting.

Plant your seeds in rows, putting them no more than 1/4 inch deep. Your final plants should be 10 to 14 inches apart, so plant a few seeds at each location. If more than one sprouts, just thin down to one in each spot. While you can always sow along the entire row and thin out, it’s a bit of a waste of seed considering how quickly quinoa germinates. If any of your seeds don’t sprout, you can replant them almost within the week.

Growing Instructions

Quinoa is closely related to lamb’s-quarters, a common (but much smaller) garden weed. As a seedling, they look very similar. So take care to watch your rows when you are weeding to make sure you aren’t pulling up quinoa and leaving the weeds to thrive. And you will be doing weeding for the first several weeks. Quinoa is slow growing at first and will suffer if crowded by weeds. Once it reaches a foot high, it will start to grow much faster and should be self-sufficient.

You shouldn’t worry about watering unless your area has a longer dry spell. Quinoa is very adaptable to dry conditions and will do just fine with minimal water.


Quinoa plants are too large for container gardening, and it’s usually impractical to try and grow just a couple of plants because the harvest isn’t worth the effort.

Pests and Disease

The seeds are coated with a bitter substance called saponin, which will usually deter birds or other pests from getting into your developing seeds. The leaves on the other hand, are more vulnerable to damage from insects such as aphids and flea beetles. Regular pyrethrin-based insecticide sprays can help keep them away but a mature plant can usually withstand any damage from such small insects without much difficulty.

Various other leaf-eating caterpillars like cabbage loopers may be attracted to your quinoa, but usually not in great numbers. Pick them off when you find them, and you should be fine without additional measures.

Harvest and Storage

One of the great things about quinoa is that the leaves are edible too. Pick some of the young leaves and either steam them as a cooked green or just add them to a salad.

You’ll know when your quinoa is ready to harvest when the leaves have all dropped off, and your plants are just seed heads on a stalk. They are fine with a few light frosts, so you needn’t be worried about getting your harvest in before that strikes.

You want your seeds to be completely dry, so try to dent one with your fingernail. If you can put a slight dent into it, then they need more drying time. You can harvest them, and then just allow your grain to finish drying inside.

The dry quinoa seeds should come free from the seed heads with little trouble. A hard shaking should free the majority of seeds. There are no hulls to deal with. Use a fan or the wind to “winnow” your harvested grain to clean out the small pieces of leaves or dirt. In other words, Pour the seeds from one container down into another one, and let a breeze blow away the lighter pieces as it falls.

Once you have your seeds, you will have to wash them. This is one of the unique quirks with quinoa.

The saponin may keep the pests away, but it isn’t all that pleasant for humans either. So, prepare to wash.

Any washing technique will work, as long as the water no longer shows any evidence of foaming (saponin is quite soapy). You can mix the grain and water in a blender and spin on the lowest setting, or even put a mesh bag of quinoa in the washing machine and run the rinse cycle. After washing you will have to let the seed completely dry before storage.

You will get more or less a pound of finished grain for every 10 plants, but the yield will depend greatly on your local growing conditions.

Whole quinoa should be stored in a tight container away from any light, in a cool location. It should last for 6 months or more without any additional help.

98 Responses to “How to Grow Quinoa”

  1. Joe  Says:

    Sounds like good news. I live in South Dakota and am interested in knowing if this seed grows well in eastern south dakota or would it do better in a much different area such as western South Dakota. And also where do you get seeds?

  2. Ika  Says:

    I will get my seeds from them!

    They have 2 varieties of quinoa. I’m sure they can help with your questions.

    Can’t wait! Good luck to you.

  3. Chris Good  Says:

    I got my seeds from Sustainable Sead Company

  4. Janeen Salzgeber  Says:

    Do you think that Quinoa will grow in Florida during the winter months? Say October to May?

  5. Stanley Bhebhe  Says:

    Where can I buy quinoa seed?

  6. Zena Montana  Says:

    Dear Chris,

    Could you please let me know where I can purchase large quantities of Quinoa (like 5 gallon drums) not seed, but ready for cooking?

    Also, would you know the shelf life before Quinoa expires and spoils?

    Thank you kindly,

  7. Lil  Says:

    Hi Zena .. just came across your post here…I’m looking for organic quinoa in bulk quantity & a good price as well … found this one on ebay & there are others there:

    Here’s another source site:

    I don’t believe there’s any difference in quinoa seeds for growing, sprouting or cooking. If storage container is air-tight & the area is cool & dry, most info says the shelf life is several years with little loss in nutritional quality or taste. Frozen, though unnecessary (you’ll probably eat it before it goes bad) shelf life would be longer.

    There’s lots of info available, try Google:)


  8. ani  Says:

    having a real hard time telling quinoa from pigweed/lambs quarters in the plot I planted w/ quinoa…!

  9. Linus  Says:

    Quinoa, chia, stevia will grow just about anywhere and in most soils and under most conditions. There is no deep dark secret. I planted two ten foot rows of quinoa and chia in my clay soil in K.C. Ks from seed right out of the package ( this was seed packaged for consumpt, not as seed for planting). This was about May 10th. I just made shallow rows ( @ 1/4 deep)and walked the rows down. After germination I thined to about 1″ and let it go. Today, June 25th, both crops are over 3′ high and the quinoa is flowering. I will warn that the quinoa should be at least 18″ from the chia because the chia will put out a broad umbrella of leaves.

    The stevia I planted from plants purchased and they are doing fine. I would advise staking the stevia because the stems are thin and woody and I lost one in high winds.

    Abundant rain did not seem to harm any of the plants. We have had about 4″-6″ of rain since planting and the plantings just thrived so don’t believe the stories you read about these being ” desert ” plants. That is just not true.

  10. Linus  Says:

    We had a down pour this morning with high winds and my quinoa lodged. It may stand up later in the day or it may not. It is like wheat in this respect because the stems are thin and woody like wheat. The lesson here is that if you just have a few short rows you may want to want to provide some support for the plants. A taught twine line stretched between stakes may work.

    My chia is now over 4′ high. And my staked stevia held up well in the blow.

  11. Linus  Says:

    Well, most of the quinoa finally stood up but they still look kind of week. Next time, if there is a next time, I will build a low trellis about a foot high and tie the quinoa to it by bunches.

  12. Hassan MALINGHA  Says:

    I want to grow quinoa in Uganda in the middle of Africa new the equator. Is it possible? Can we experiment.

  13. Linus  Says:

    It has taken two full days but all my quinoa has finally stood up.

    The next test will be to see if the quinoa and the chia produce seeds.

    Hassan. All you can do is try. Just get a table spoon of seeds and try it. You have nothing to loose.

  14. Linus  Says:

    The chia is now nearly 6ft high. After weeks of no rain and temperatures into the hundreds the chia is green again and looks good. The literature says it will not flower until the nights are shorter. But they grow it in Canada and Australia so I remain hopeful.

  15. Jeff Young  Says:

    is Quinoa something that can grow in the fall, as wheat?

  16. murray  Says:

    go to a store that sells quinoa either in bulk or in packages. look for a color that you like if there is more than one variety. quinoa grows fine in 2 and a half gallon containers and you may want to do this if you are wanting to grow an acclimatized seed for the following year. i have a couple of small patches that have gone wild that keep coming back every year and needs no attention whatsoever. See if you can develope a consistent purple seed producing strain …thats the most pricy variety

  17. jo tree  Says:

    When people think of growing crops in the US, they think of the flat plains states, like Kansas, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. Quinoa opens the door for the United States’ mountain regions to shine as a new source of farming income on land mostly used for grazing, growing minor amounts of fruits, or tree harvesting, if little else.

    The natural growing environment for Quinoa is above 2000 meters, or roughly 7000 feet, in a temperate climate with 10 – 12 inches of rain per year. In other words, it thrives in seasonal mountain climates with light rainfall, which mostly occur in Montane regions. I should know, I live in Colorado where the first Quinoa plants were successfully planted and harvested outside South America. Specifically, the San Luis Valley of Colorado.

    One person mentioned above they wanted to grow quinoa in Florida. Unfortunately, for some reason when quinoa is grown at low-lying elevations, it loses its flavor and becomes more bitter tasting. There is a particular variety of this quinoa which is called for its namesake, Sea Level Quinoa. Something about the high elevation makes quinoa a hardier, better tasting plant.

    So, as far as the US is concerned, if you live in Northeast Utah, the foothills or Mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, the Blue Mountain Range near Oregon, or pretty much anywhere along the Montane regions of the Rocky Mountain range that have temperate weather, you live in a good climate for growing Quinoa.

    Quinoa may not be a dessert plant, as Linus mentioned above, but it doesn’t like excess rain. Quinoa is a drought resistant crop. There are documented instances in the Andes Mountains during droughts that other crops like wheat, corn, and potatoes failed while Quinoa flourished and actually produced bumper crops.

    Keep in mind though, if you’re in a second or third world country wanting to grow this stuff, you might as well forget it if you live in a climate where the daily temperature during the the middle of growing season is above 95°F/35°C. Quinoa doesn’t like high temperatures.

    Outside the US and South America, I suppose Quinoa could be grown in other Montane regions with light rainfall such as Northern India near the Himalayas and the Lower regions of the Tian Shan Mountains in Western China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Northern Pakistan. There are probably others, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head.

  18. Missy  Says:

    You say that quinoa isn’t suitable for container growing, but the past couple of years I’ve been growing potatoes and indeterminate tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets and larger. Would this be enough root space for quinoa? How tall will the plant get? And about how many quinoa plants do you suggest growing to get an adequate amount of seed for a few meals for a small family?

  19. Jo Tree  Says:

    Quinoa isn’t suitable for growing as a potted plant mainly because of yield, lighting and soil requirements. Quinoa needs direct sunlight, and prefers high UV conditions that only occur at high elevation or near the equator. If you do live at high elevation this would work in a small greenhouse, but would be difficult elsewhere.

    The soil needs to be loamy, somewhat sandy, and drains easily. While you can duplicate this in a bucket, soil temperatures also effect quinoa. Quinoa will pretty much grow anywhere but will only flower and produce seeds if the soil temperature remains cool. This is difficult to maintain if your bucket is going to be outdoors in direct sunlight, which will heat the soil in a 5 gallon bucket pretty quickly regardless if its plastic, pottery, or especially metal.

    As far a the yield is concerned, one quinoa plant will produce on average 1 to 2 ounces of seed. To grow enough for say 2 to 3 pounds, which is the average amount you would purchase at a grocery store to feed a family of four for about a two weeks, you would need at least 16 healthy plants, which would require a minimal of 4 to 9 cubic feet of space, or, about the amount a small garden would provide. A five gallon bucket would give you four plants at the most, yielding about 8 ounces of seed, which would hardly be worth the effort. One good thing is very little seed is needed to start a quinoa garden. 2 cups of quinoa will seed a full acre of land, so a tiny, tiny handful will seed a full garden if you have the space.

  20. Deak  Says:

    Can you drill this seed in light soil with a heavy population to keep weeds to a minimum? And then, has anyone been able to harvest with a conventional combine?

  21. Jo Tree  Says:

    I would recommend this site as a good set of general instructions:

    Here’s what the article says about harvesting:

    “Plants have a sorghum-like seed head at maturity. Harvest usually begins when the seed can barely be dented with a fingernail and plants have dried, turned a pale yellow or red color, and leaves have dropped. The seed should thresh easily by hand at this time. Field dry down is usually acceptable and plants are harvested easily with a combine. A sorghum header attachment is recommended for quinoa, although platform headers can usually be used as well, without a large crop loss. Cylinder speed and air flow of combines are usually greatly reduced. Smaller screens are used than with cereal grains due to the small size and lighter weight of quinoa seed. A fanning mill and gravity separator is usually necessary to remove trash from the seed after combining. Grain must be dry before storage. Quinoa stover contains little fiber and subsequently provides little crop residue.
    Rain during harvest will cause problems since mature seed will germinate within 24 hours after exposure to moisture.”

  22. Des  Says:

    This is a most interesting crop/food. I’d like as much information and help to add this to my ‘Poverty Alleviation’ activities in Zimbabwe.

    Currently I’m collecting information and studying the following food crops and looking at introducing Chia (Salvia hispanica), Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana)Flax seed (Linum usitatissimum)and Grain Amaranth to my student farmers and to the Zimbabwean community at large.
    Amaranth is already grown in some areas and it is doing well with a ready market for its seed and a smaller market for its leaves.
    Any help and information will be well used and appreciated

  23. Gardening Jones  Says:

    Grest post and exactly what I was looking for- will be linking it on Valentine’s Day- thanks and have a happy!

  24. Abby and Annette  Says:

    After quinoa has been harvested does it need to be replanted, or will it reblossom?

  25. Judea Lawton  Says:

    Thank you for your blog. It answered my question on Quinoa. I too would like to know if I need to replant after harvesting? Judea

  26. Greenknight  Says:

    It’s an annual, has to be replanted each year.

    I bought mine from Territorial Seed Company, a variety called Brightest Brilliant Rainbow. They list it as 2′ tall, but in rich soil it gets much bigger.

  27. John F  Says:

    @ Abby, Annette
    @ Judea Lawton
    Yes, it’s an annual, so you have to replant (unless it has scattered seed itself – then I guess it will grow next year from that).
    Thanks for this article, Backyard Gardening Blog – it’s the first time I’ve seen the instruction to wait for quinoa to drop its leaves before harvesting. Unfortunately, this is after I harvested a bit too early, so it is a little difficult to rub the seed from the heads. I’m drying my small crop (about 30 plants) indoors, and it’s getting easier to remove. The leaves were turning yellow and wilting, so probably not too early. I’m growing it in the north of England, where the cool suits it. We just have to watch in case of wet weather at harvest time in case it germinates while it’s still on the plant. That’s partly why I harvested when I did – we were due for several days downpour. I just love this plant – very beautiful flowers, a lovely smell, no need to keep birds off thanks to the saponins, smells gorgeous at harvesting, and tastes wonderful too. There’s not much else in the way of staple carbohydrates apart from potatoes to grow on a small plot here.

    You suggest washing the saponins off before storage, but I’m thinking of storing it with it on and just washing before cooking – is there any disadvantage to that? Also, I’ve read that the saponins are only mildly toxic, if at all, and might have certain health benefits, protecting against cancer and heart disease, but it’s usually washed because they’re a bit bitter tasting. Some advice said you don’t need to bother washing it if you put a small amount in with rice or something. It will depend on use, but sometimes it might be good with the bitter saponins left on.

  28. Lisa  Says:

    It gets hot here but I’m going to give it a try anyway. Sounds like a lovely plant to have in the garden.

  29. khurram  Says:

    can i grow in winters at an area where temprature is 25 degrees .

  30. Amber  Says:

    I harvested my quinoa last month when the plants had dried out and I let it dry further in the house. I cannot, however, get it completely clean. Some of the seeds still have the black on them (which I can rub off if I do it one at a time). There’s also still lots of that same black debris with the seeds that is still too large to go through the strainer I’m using when rinsing the quinoa. (Any larger weave on the strainer and the quinoa goes through, too.) I’ve gently used the blender, which has helped, but I still can’t get rid of the rest of the refuse.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :)
    Thanks so much.

  31. sha sha  Says:

    the “weed” lambsquarter is a superfood. the leaves can be added to your blender in smoothies. its nutrients are similar to Kale, another super green.

  32. kit kat  Says:

    I applaud those of you growing on your own – the rise of quinoa’s popularity has meant threatening the food security of bolivia and peru, where people survived on this seed for millenia, but are no longer able to afford it as the north american appetite/lack of import ethics have driven the supply out of their hands. more in this article:

  33. Chet  Says:

    I live in Montana where we have many deer and elk that will eat you out of flowers, tree leaves and veggies if given the opportunity. Any one know if flowers of Quinoa are deer resistant?

  34. jackie  Says:

    I live in Mission BC Canada.I would like to try and grow quinoa here, do you know if it will grow here.

  35. William  Says:

    Where can I buy quinoa seeds for planting.? I live here in Glendale, California.

  36. Joel  Says:

    Any ideas on how to get quinoa to grow at lower latitudes? If I started this stuff indoors and put seedlings out in February or March, could I get it to grow in Oklahoma?

  37. Holly  Says:

    Thank you all so much for the interesting blog.
    I just made quinoa flour by putting the grain in the coffee grinder, then made a scone with it. Delicious. So now I plan to plant some, as soon as the snow in my backyard has melted and the earth warmed a bit.

  38. Ali  Says:

    I live in Iran. We have different climates and i think we can find land and climate simillar to the area in Bolivia.
    Pls. Advise me how can i buy Quinova seeds for planning in Iran or Armenia.

  39. Peter  Says:

    I just planted some of the seeds that I got from the grocery store that were packaged for human consumption. They sprouted fine and now I am sad to see I am supposed to thin them to 16 inches, meaning I have to kill 90% of the ones that sprouted for me.
    Good luck.

  40. RickWayman  Says:

    I want to try and grow in mountain region in SE Austarlia, and having trouble gaining seed; in this country. Getting no answers from the locals, can you tell me a suppier please. thank-you Rick W

  41. RickWayman  Says:

    Trying to agin seed in Australia, please can you suggest suppier that may assist me in a small organic trial.

  42. RickWayman  Says:

    Having trouble getting seed Quinoa for a small trial in Australia. No local grower will respond to emails. Please can you suggest a suppier that can help me.

  43. Rob  Says:

    I have planted Quinoa for my 3rd year here in SW Washington. Does very well in the wet conditions. Birds and eer won’t touch it.Gets about 5 ft tall in clay/loam soil with alot of flowers. Seed can be obtained from several Oregon growers. This plant will work from Montana and BC all the way to California. It starts out slow but grows fast. At harvest, don’t leave the heads too long or wet weather can cause them to sprout on the head. ( my first year mistake). We store it in plastic containers all winter for eating.

  44. Esteban  Says:

    I just planted seeds for the first time here in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. The seeds are from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.
    I will try to post results. Hopefully success stories ! Just went in the ground today. May 25th, 2013

  45. ben  Says:

    We live in Canada can we harvest quinoa whit a small grain john Deere combine? Like a 9650sts

  46. Paulo  Says:

    What are the temperatures to grow quinoa in its 4-5 month growing cycle?

    Last year i grew amaranth and it was easy once seedlings get past their seedling stage.

    Quinoa did not flowered because probably of high temperature indoors. But this year I will move it outdoors once it gets tall and with a size ready to flower.

    I am growing it currently indoors, in Iceland

  47. gayle  Says:

    I just got seeds from Boundful Gardens and am planting in Costa Rica. I am to coastal and probably too wet but will give it a try towards the end of rainy season. Will likely give seeds to friends in the mountains who could have better results.

  48. Esteban  Says:

    So far so good. Plants are 3-4″ tall, healthy looking and have about 7 sets of leaves at week 3.

  49. Ken Purdom  Says:

    Want to try growing for commercial propose. No idaho?
    University of idaho is researching anyone knows results?

  50. Esteban  Says:

    Growing fast and healthy.. 7-8″ tall now @ 1 month.
    Eating the thinnings, Delicious raw and the leaves steamed are better than spinach , very excited.

  51. Esteban  Says:

    actually, 9″ tall… just measured

  52. rosemary gaskell  Says:

    My Quinoa has reached about 24 to 36 inches high and are falling over. What should I do?
    Otherwise they look good, a little bug damage to the lower leaves, and something munching on the stem as it leaves the soil.
    What should I do?

  53. rosemary gaskell  Says:

    I live in MAssachusetts New England USA. It normally dose not get not, except this month this year. I have planted Quinoa which has reached about 24 to 36 inches high and are falling over. What should I do?

    Otherwise they look good, a little bug damage to the lower leaves, and something munching on the stem as it leaves the soil.

    What should I do?

  54. Marciana Miguel  Says:

    I live in Vancouver B.C..where can i buy quinoa seeds, for planting i would like to grow in my backyard

  55. Doug Teakell  Says:

    I have about 1/2 acre at 6500 ft on the Eastern Slope of the Sierra Nevada Mts (South Lake Tahoe, CA)It can frost till about July first. Is there a particular strain of seed I should consider? My soil is old pasture gone to good grasses. It’s a wet bog till about mid June then dries. What kind of yield might I anticipate. I have never gardened before! This finally sounds like a crop that might work here.

  56. Esteban  Says:

    My small plot of plants are doing well. It will be 90 days on the 25th. Plants are about 5′ tall and beautiful multicolored seed heads. Leaves are starting to drop off. I was worried because we had some 90 degree weather early in the summer but they survived well. Looking forward to my first harvest soon. Wish I could share photos. Eugene, Oregon. USA

  57. Brian  Says:

    Anyone know if it’s too late to start in Memphis,TN.? Should I just wait until next year and continue to buy the packaged quinoa? Winters here have not been getting to cold, so I was just wondering.

  58. Diana  Says:

    Planted Quinoa for the first time this year on Bowen Island, BC. I used “Cherry Vanilla” from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. So far it has done great, grew to about 7 feet tall with huge heads of seeds. But we just survived an insane 4 day rainstorm and I when I went out to inspect the damage I noticed a bunch of the seeds had sprouted right on the plant! Major bummer, so now I don’t know what to do. I guess I will let them dry out and see if any survived?

  59. stephanie craig  Says:

    I want to grow some in the low mountain area of Panama. Getting seed seems to be the problem, however, i am going to try what someone said and just plant what I got at the organic food store. Maybe…… in the mean time, I will look for seeds when I visit the US in October. This has been a most interesting site. Thank you for all you are doing. It is so much easier to digest this “grain” and at my age, I need that.

  60. Jedidiah  Says:

    I grow quinoa here in Salmon Arm BC, Canada. This is my third year growing and selecting my best performers for seed. It’s been amazing so far! This year I have half an acre ripening up for harvest (about 500 plants spaced 1m) It was a dry summer, and looks like a bumper crop. I came online today looking for a community discussing growing quiona, as I am passionate about it. I found you guys! Anyone in the pacific northwest who wants to ask me questions about my experience or acquire/trade seed I would be stoked!

  61. rj  Says:

    does anyone know what size hand sieves should be used to scalp and sift Quinoa?

  62. Zieh  Says:

    Thank you for your detailed instructions at first.
    It was really helpful.
    I live in South Korea. but I’m planning to grow Q in the other region.
    (Natural cndition of that region is very good)
    I wonder How long the seed can be preserved.
    Can it germinate after 3 years from harvested?
    I already got a large amount of seeds, but I can not make sure how much I can get land. I think available land size which I can get in this and next year is not enough.

  63. Steven  Says:

    I’ve planted 3 varieties of quinoa on SW facing slope near Smithers, BC May 25, 2013. I’ve a 100×50 ft area, and the quinoa is planted in 2′ rows, 6-8” within the row, so I’ve about 1,000 plants. Thoughts on when it is ready to harvest – if harvested immature, will it still ripen off the plant? Also, I’m looking for any suggestions on practical methods to harvest. Thanks – I’ve enjoyed all the info on this post

  64. Mountainrose  Says:

    Great info here! Thanks everyone.

    Does anyone know if you can feed quinoa to chickens without washing it off first. Since it is so,high in protein, would make good feed, but is it safe and not toxic?

  65. katharine  Says:

    I grew quinoa in Norway this summer- 8 kilometers from the coast, and it did wonderfully. Kitkat, yes, the devastation to traditional economies in South America is terrible if we do not grow our own, and we should do so.

  66. Prem  Says:

    Estben, Thanks for sharing the time-by-time growth of quinoa in your backyard.

    I am considering growing quinoa in India, which is super hot like 105 degree F in summer. However, if i grow it in winter, right now its around 30′s down to 20′s in dec/ Jan and back to 30′s in march trimeframe, while they are ready to harvest.

    Do you think this will work ?

  67. Stanlee  Says:

    What a great informational blog! Thanks Everyone. Ihad no idea that Quinoa was so pretty … I’m planting it along the driveway of my home in Central California I think … p0robably in November. we get little rain and plenty of warmth through Jan. usuall and rarely even close to freezing. Plus it will be along side the house with nearly all day sun as the house sits E to W. I think it will be well protected and warm enough … we’ll see.

    am I understanding the answer to the repeated question of where to get seed, as AT THE GROCERY STORE? Twice I read the answer as “packaged for human consumption” … just checking … I suppose it could mean that the planting seeds will produce consumable seeds. Are you really saying taht I can plant a handful of the seeds I use to cook?
    Thanks for all the great chat …

  68. Bettina  Says:

    I’m from the the Philippines and intend to try planting quinoa. Has anyone tried doing this in a tropical country? Would love to get tips before I start. Thanks.

  69. aberra  Says:

    I found this reading beneficial.I live in Addis Abeba,Ethiopia a country which has been accosted by hunger for quite a long time now.I am searching for crops which thrive best under conditions of drought.
    Quinoa may be an answer.Most of Ethiopia has an altitude over 6000 ft.But I am not sure about the soil.The commonest soil is black cotton soil which does nor drain easily.Can I get result on such kind of soil.

  70. Matt  Says:

    I think I may give this a try for growing here in Montana next year… I love to eat it, and seeing how it grows, it may work here.

  71. Ibrahim  Says:

    Thanks for all the information and responses.

  72. Anne Martin  Says:

    Esteban in Willowemette valley Oregon,how did your crop harvest? Have been to Willowemette valley to look at Rye Grass production which we grow a lot of here in Canterbury New you think that the Quinoa would go OK here.?

  73. Robert  Says:

    I am from Taiwan west coast, it is 2 midles away from Taiwan Channel.
    a. Weather: Winter time: Temp. 50F ~ 665F with strong salty windy. The other seasons are 70F ~ 90F with warm smooth wind, Summer time may influed by Typhones.
    b. Soil: was flowed by sea water 15 years ago, it is salty but is recovering
    a. Please let me know which kind Quinoa seeds is good for this situation.
    b. Marketing information for selling this crops in world wide. (Is is shoartage or over supplying, markingt price…)
    c. Any machine for helping to grow and harvest.
    d. Any suggestions?

  74. Lyle Zanoni  Says:

    Anne Martin, I bought some organic seed seed from our local super market here in Victoria, Australia, [ Coles ] their own brand, to eat and thought I’d see if they grew and yes they are. Unfortunately I’ve planted them in a container because I have just read the above blog and did’nt know anything about growing them, anyway they should grow in N.Z. we’d be about the same climate, I’ll see how they go.I’ll plant more in the ground even though it may be a little late in the season.they do germinate quickly.

  75. Caitlin  Says:

    I live in the south, so my summer highs are way over 90. However it is in the 60s in February will stay that warm until Halloween. I was wondering how long the process from planting to harvesting lasts, since we have a longer growing season I’m hoping to plan it around the hot summer, possibly plant in Feb & harvest in June?

  76. Big Ed  Says:

    What about wind?????????? I am plan a test run in Teton Co. Idaho. Perfect elevation and precipitation, but regular blowing of the wind. It generally is about 8 to 10 mph at ground level. However, gusts can go up to 30 mph. Don’t want a complete loss. Looking for input. wish me luck.

  77. big ed  Says:

    Windy situation: I am in Teton Co., Idaho and have the write climate and soil. However, it is a very windy area averaging 6 to 10 mph with gusts up to 20mph. Does anyone know how this will effect my harvest/yeild?

  78. paul swinton  Says:

    My daughter introduced us to quinoa as a food, which we really enjoyed. Bought some ourselves, did a little bit of research about sprouting it (like broccoli and bean sprouts, etc), since sprouting is supposed to make the seed/grain more nutritious. Bottom line: took about 50 of the seeds from the package, put them in a glass, rinsed them, leaving them moist. About 2 or 3 times a day, rinsed the glass with fresh water (be careful NOT to use water that’s gone through a water softener). Sprouts are now 1/2″ high, planted in a potting mix. Now that I’ve found this site, I figure I’ll transplant them into individual small pots (we run a nursery in central Missouri, so we always have tons of pots around), let them grow a bit, and plant them outside once the weather breaks. We’ll see…
    Someone earlier had asked about using the seeds to feed chickens. I’d guess you could, but other suitable feeds are a lot less expensive. But, if you’re only growing for the chickens, why not?
    I’ll have to come back here again; most threads don’t last this long, and aren’t nearly as interesting. Good luck to all who try to grow it. If it grows in the Andes without much help, and self-seeds the way it’s reported, I’d pretty much bet that it can grow almost anywhere that isn’t too cold or excessively wet.

  79. Toni  Says:

    Has anyone tried saving the wash water from the grain at all? I’d be really interested if you’ve had any experimentation/luck with using the saponin for any cleaning. I’ve used soap nuts before (saponin-containing nut shells that you can easily extract the saponin from and use for everything from your hair to the laundry) and was wondering if anyone has gotten enough saponin from these to do anything with?

  80.  Says:

    Great discussion, I like it!
    Hey Toni,
    Yes we have used the water for washing.. but mostly in camping settings. You can do the same thing with beans too! We havent extracted the saponin in a useful way.. Usually it is dilluted in several washes of water and this includes lots of little sticks, stones and immature seeds.
    MountainRose: About quinoa and chicken feed, Last year whatever was left after winnowing/seed cleaning we threw it in the compost. The chicken geese and ducks go through the compost, scratch and pick through what looks tasty. They ate some… but would prefer just about anything else. The reason I suspect is the same reason we would not eat un-sapponined quinoa. The bitter coating is a deterrent to most creatures including birds. Thats a bonus for growing but less fun for consumption. I imagine the quinoa that was popular in bird food mixes in the 1990′s was commercially prepared and washed. Not sure though.
    For those interested in delving deeper – join the first quinoa forum !

  81.  Says:

    * oups, correction: “The reason I suspect is the same reason we would not eat SAPPONIN coated quinoa – its bitter and prevents digestion”

  82. Jane Mc.  Says:

    I live in coastal SE US, (USDA Zone 9), and have had my first harvest of Quinoa this week. planted golden and black quinoa first of Feb. 2014.bulk seed from natural food store. grew about 4′ tall. leaves had not fully dropped, but we are getting 90* days, so I thought I should go ahead and harvest. now looking to finish drying in covered outside shed, then hand thresh, hopefully.
    any thoughts on hand threshing?

  83. Liliana  Says:

    To grow quinoa it takes around 90-120 days. many posts say to harvest the plant before the rains. We live in Northern California and haven’t actually had much rain in the Bay Area. I suppose we could try and put a crop in now to see if it will harvest before the rains. Also can you grow quinoa between other plants like corn etc? I’m reading about permaculture and it talks about growing in layers.

  84. Jan  Says:

    We planted Quinoa in the garden at our preschool/school age center. I wanted to introduce this “superfood” to our children . True to the information I read it has grown to over 6 feet and is a beautiful deep red/purple. I am wondering now how to harvest it. I want to involve the children in the process.
    I know very little about planting and harvesting. So I need some plain clear direction. Can anyone help?

  85. Rakris  Says:

    I live in Midwest USA. Does anybody have any experience growing quinoa indoors ?
    I would love to get some tips before I do it.

  86. Rain  Says:

    To Missy, Hassan and Janeen, I agree with Linus about Quinoa having the ability to adapt to different environments. My plants have survived hot temperatures to cold and in pots and in the ground at sea level. They have been over-watered to under-watered and even given seawater as an experiment. My plants are healthy and although have not harvested them yet they look to be very fruitful. I give much of the credit for the survival and great health of my plants to their homemade compost. A combination of my very own food-scraps and raw dirt. Doing this is also gives the plants more resistance in a drought since compost contains water and does not dry out easily. This also makes sense since the wet food does not weigh down and stink up your trash or go to landfills which only break down other toxic materials which then migrate through the soil.

  87. James I  Says:

    I grew about 30 plants (after planting 100′s of seeds, and now have a paper bag of brown stuff with some visible quinoa mixed in. The plants grew well with large full flowers. But where’s all the seeds? I am afraid that after winnowing, I may have nothing left. Any suggestions?

  88. DJSouthFlorida  Says:

    Hello Everyone

    This may sound like a stupid question, but recently, someone had told me that growing Quinoa is illegal in all 50 states?

    Any comments?


  89. Luna  Says:

    Quinoa is my middle name. how is everyone’s quinoa growing this evening. any tips ?

  90. R.Subba Raju  Says:

    Required more details about QUINOA growing

  91. Alexander  Says:

    I want to grow some quinoa for myself and my family as the stuff is too darn expensive in the shops here. How does this plant crop in areas with hot, dry summers? Should I attempt to grow it under shade cloth to give it a bit of protection from the fierce sun? So by my calculations I would need to grow 20 plants to harvest 1 kilogram of quinoa seeds.

  92. M S Rana  Says:

    I am from North India. I would like to grow quinoa in India. Please guide.

  93. Shirley  Says:

    DJ, If growing quinoa is illegal to grow in the U.S. packages of seeds would not be readily available in nurseries. I purchased mine from a local nursery.

    These posts have been very informative. Thank you! This is the first time growing quinoa, and I made mistakes. For starters, mine are in a large pot. Will see how it grows. It is a learning process when trying something new. So far I am enjoying watching them grow. Nice to know the leaves are tasty as well.

  94. Sumanth  Says:

    Hi, I want to grow quinoa for forming in India where should i get quinoa seeds in south India plz help me

  95.  Says:

    i want to grow quinoa in our farm… where can i buy seeds for planting?

  96. J  Says:

    How many weeks is the typical growing cycle (planting the seeds to harvesting the crop) for Quinoa? Where I live in Saudi Arabia, it can freeze and we do have a winter of sorts during December and January. We saw light snow one day last January that killed off a few of my trees. Come April, it starts getting hot again. If I start planting seeds in early Feb, I’m wondering if I will have a mature crop by May? I only have areas of land that get direct sun to plant the seeds in. Do the need plants need to be protected?


  97. Manjit Rup Bikram Brahma  Says:

    I live in India’s north east in a submobtane region, Assam. I’ve ordered 3 Kgs of quinoa seeds on line. I hope to plant them by the end of December or early January. I’m using this site as reference as it’s still early days for quinoa growing in India. Will keep you all informed if I’m successful. Good luck to all quinoa fans and aspirant growers.

  98. youssef  Says:


    I live in morocco north africa, it is possible to grow the quinoi her, and when we can plant it? finally, are there somme information about the profit?
    thanks for information.

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