🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Marog (Amaranth)

Here in South Africa we have a weed-type of plant growing wild all over the country-side which has been harvested for centuries by the indigenous people and referred to as "Morogo" (Tswana for vegetables). The finished preparation is almost like eating spinach, but has a less smooth and less bitter taste and is absolutely gorgeous prepared with potatoes and onions. As kids, my mom used to send us out into the veld to go and pick Marog and I used to take a huge basket to fill. And then I couldn't wait for supper-time!

Marog leaves must be cooked on the same day as it is picked and is super-easy to prepare:

- Cook the leaves in boiling water
- Add tomatoes and onions or potatoes and onions
- Flavour the dish with salt and pepper.

Image from 'EarthWeeds'

Amaranth bears edible, protein rich seeds and flour ground from these seeds mixes well with cereal flours and increses the protein content.

These days it seems harder and harder to find Marog in the veld, probably due to much of the land around here being developed for other crops, but luckily one can buy seed packs, so that's next on my list for my vegetable garden! I've read that planting can commence as soon as the minimum temperature stays above 16°C and can continue during the summer months up to 2 months prior to the onset of frost.

Seeds are sown shallowly in rows. These rows should be 1,5 m apart. Cover lightly using a rake. The seeds must be watered twice daily until the seedlings emerge. Seeds can also be planted in seed trays. Transplant them after approximately 4 weeks when the plants should be about 15 cm tall. Transplant into rows 1,5 m apart and with a spacing of 30 cm in the row.

Weeding is essential until the plants are well established. Insects cannot be controlled chemically because the crop is harvested regularly and it could result in people getting poisoned. So I will also be planting Marigolds between my Marog as they control a wide spectrum of insects.

Once you have it in your garden all you need to do is allow it to set seed and you will always have a fresh supply starting in early spring.


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