Growing and Saving the Seed Of Quinoa

Latin name Chenoodium quinoa is an annual member of the Amaranthaceae family. The small and densely nutritious seeds of quinoa have become an extremely popular superfood across the globe. Quinoa is not technically a grain, since it is not a grass, but it is eaten much like other grains and is considered a pseudo-cereal. The young, tender leaves of quinoa are also edible. This plant is versatile edible landscaping plant.



Native to South America, quinoa has been grown in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia for up to 7,000 years. This incredibly useful seed crop was traded north to Venezuela and Colombia, as well as to the south in Chile and Argentina in ancient times and is a staple crop in so many regions of South America. The Spanish conquistadors set out to eradicate this useful food plant, but the resilience both of the plant and the peoples who grew it ensured that it survived, and quinoa has recently enjoyed a resurgence of popularity.


  • Many culinary uses
  • An excellent edible landscaping plant




  • Sprouts in 7-10 days.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65-75 F.
  • Direct sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in very early spring.
  • Requires cool conditions, tolerates light frosts.


  • Space plants 6-12 inches apart.
  • Plants need 6-12 hours of sun.
  • Allow seedheads to form and dry on the plant.
  • Harvest, thresh and rinse before cooking.


  • Can be affected by flea beetles and caterpillars, but will usually outgrow the damage.
  • Does not tolerate frosts or cold weather.
  • Pollination and seed head formation can be affected by less than ideal growing conditions.



  • Wait until the plants have lost all their leaves, and while the weather is dry, cut and collect seed stalks/heads.
  • Strip seeds off with your hands and winnow or otherwise separate from plant debris.
  • Spread seeds to dry in a well-ventilated location for a few days to a week or until the seeds are dry and hard.