Linda Poole

NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist
Sweltering in the August heat and looking out at my drought blasted garden, I wonder if there are better crops I could be growing, ones that thrive despite scant water and way too many hot days. This article in The Guardian looks at five crops that could help feed the world:


Amaranth is a weed here, and intermediate wheatgrass does well, so I'll definitely be looking into this further!

Does anyone have experience with these crops? Are there other crops you think we should be hearing more about?
 

Darron Gaus

Moderator
I have grown amaranth and cowpeas. Cowpeas more the staple for me. I love fresh purple hulled peas. Amaranth I pop like corn with my kid. I have grown taro on the edges of water reclamation areas, but never have had a good harvest.

You have to get creative with recipes but don’t forget the great C4 plant of okra. Wonderful in use to break up plow pans or compaction as well.
 

Linda Poole

NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist
This is great info, Darron! Makes sense that these crops would work in Texas. I wonder what species might work in Montana -- very cold (down to -50F), very hot (up to 113F), windy, dry. Mostly clay loam soils, soil and water both with a pH between 8 and 9. Amaranth and Kernza will make it but what about cowpeas? Maybe our growing season is a bit short or unpredictable? We do great with lentils and chickpeas, but I'm always eager to try a new plant in my garden.

I am going to scout for some amaranth that isn't drought stunted to see if I can get some seeds to try popping -- that sounds like fun! Not sure that our most common amaranth (what we call redroot pigweed) has seed that's poppable, but it will be a fun experiment. Thanks!
 

luz.ballesteros

Moderator
This is great info, Darron! Makes sense that these crops would work in Texas. I wonder what species might work in Montana -- very cold (down to -50F), very hot (up to 113F), windy, dry. Mostly clay loam soils, soil and water both with a pH between 8 and 9. Amaranth and Kernza will make it but what about cowpeas? Maybe our growing season is a bit short or unpredictable? We do great with lentils and chickpeas, but I'm always eager to try a new plant in my garden.

I am going to scout for some amaranth that isn't drought stunted to see if I can get some seeds to try popping -- that sounds like fun! Not sure that our most common amaranth (what we call redroot pigweed) has seed that's poppable, but it will be a fun experiment. Thanks!
Oh wow! here in South Texas we also have pigweed growing everywhere as weeds. Soil is mostly sandy clay loam and the pH is also between 8 to 9. My dog loves to eat the pigweed and I recently tried it as a warm salad with some beat tops, it's pretty good!

@Darron Gaus how do you pop amaranth like corn? I grew up eating alegrias de amaranto, which is basically like granola bars but sub the oats with the amaranth.
 

Linda Poole

NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist
I like munching on lambsquarter leaves but haven't tried pigweed yet. I'll go foraging this weekend!
 

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