You can eat the amaranth greens, like spinach, or wait for the seeds. The bugs, I suspect earwigs, and sparrows were relentless on the early greens, but the plants did amazingly well. These plants seemed slow to take off, but when they did they grew about 7 ft tall with very showy flower heads. The wind and weight of the seeds bent the plants over and staking may be required to keep the plants upright should that be desired. The mix of red flower heads and sunflowers (foreground) made a display that generated accolades from the neighbors.
|Early amaranth seed heads|
As it turns out they just sat in the garage until spring when I needed the plastic tray some of them were in for germinating my current year's seeds. Here is picture of one of the dried seed heads.
|Dried amaranth seed head|
Here is a close up of what you are dealing with. The plastic container also generated some static which didn't help me out much.
I crushed up some of the what I winnowed out to seed how much seed was being lost in the process. Its hard to see in this picture but there are some seeds that you lose in the process. Lets just say that the bird's share. The rubbermade container show the seeds I kept. I did get a little more of the red bits out by pinching out by hand and shaking the container in front of the fan.
|George the french bulldog 7 mos|
This took a couple of hours to get done. I don't see how one could do any serious amount of this by hand to make it worth while. Maybe if you had chickens or hogs you could feed the entire seed head to them without the need to clean the grain off the plants prior to feeding it to them.
I check with Google and found a small scale grain separator: Grain cleaner Maybe that will be a project for the future.