Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 3

It’s been three weeks since I planted my Amaranth seeds. I’ve watched them germinate and grow. And I have loved every minute of it.

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3

The amaranth is getting quite big. This week saw the leaves doubling in size. Compare this to week 2 (they were under a different grow light in the following photo).

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2

The largest leaves are now about the size of my palm. A bit too small to start harvesting if you want to do a continual harvesting method. Maybe next week.

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3

I love the colors that are developing on the leaves. The red is a lot less red than I expected; from the top the leaves look like a dark purple or burgundy hue. When you view them from underneath however, they are a very vivid blood red.

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 3

Have you grown amaranth before? Did you eat it in salads, or prefer to use it medicinally? Let me know in the comments below.

Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 4

Amaranth is another plant that I have been very excited to try; I don’t think I have eaten it before. (Hang on, aren’t I excited about all my plants? Yes, yes I am.)…

Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 4
Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 4

My Amaranth is now at the stage where I really need to start harvesting it. Since it was my first time growing it I wanted to see just how large Amaranth would grow, and the problem is that it’s now growing too big for my buckets. The leaves are now starting to fight each other for space and crowd out the younger emerging leaves.

Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 4
Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 4

The leaves are no laughing matter – they are absolutely massive! I didn’t expect them to get this large, honestly. In the above picture I was stretching my fingers out as wide as possible, and you could just see my fingertips. No wonder they are starting to get crowded.

Have you grown Amaranth before? Whats your favourite way to eat it? Let me know in the comments below.

Growing Edible Red Leaf Amaranth in Kratky Hydroponics – Update: Week 2

I’ve never eaten Amaranth before, but it has so many health benefits that I thought I would try it out:

  • It is an appetite suppressant; what better way to manage weight than just to not be as hungry and eat smaller portions?
  • The leaves are high in vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. It has twice the calcium as milk!
  • It contains essential Lysine which can help your body absorb calcium, and is great for hair development. Apparently it can help soften and smooth hair, especially grey hairs.

It’s now been 2 weeks since I planted my seeds into their Kratky hydroponics bucket. Sorry I forgot to do a week 1 update…

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2

Here is my Amaranth growing in their kratky bucket. They are under a rather yellow LED grow light, so unfortunately all the photos are rather yellow. I may replace this light eventually, but its also quite good as growing seedlings under as its not all that strong.

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2

Unlike my Kale and Swiss Chard that were started in rock wool, these Amaranth were started in the Aerogarden Bounty with Jiffy 36mm Peat Pellets. Once they were about a week old I transplanted them to the cloning collars. These seedlings are now completely soilless or rockless!

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2

I really love the coloring that is developing on the leaves. On the tops of the leaves the color is closer to a purple or maroon, whilst the underside of the leaf seems to grow a very vidid red. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2
Edible Red Leaf Amaranth Grown In Kratky Hydroponics Container, Week 2

Have you eaten amaranth before? How would you describe the taste?

Seed Germination Temperatures

A bit over a week ago I planted some spinach seeds, and sadly they didn’t germinate. I began a bit of research as to why. Despite my spinach varieties being hardy to warm weather, they still need cooler soil to germinate! The adult growth stage can handle warmer temperatures but the seedlings are too vulnerable still.

I began to wonder what I could grow with my current temperatures. It’ll also be handy to know the minimum temperatures for when the seasons change.

Whilst my plants aren’t being planted in soil, instead hydroponic is usually planted in rock wool or peat moss, the germination temperature should theoretically remain the same.

Optimal °FOptimal °C
Amaranth, Red Leaf68-7520-24
Basil, Purple Petra65–8518-30
Basil, Genovese70 – 9021 – 32
Broccoli45 -85 7-29
Cilantro55-7013-21
Cucumber, Lemon70–9021-32
Kale, Nero Toscana 65–8518-30
Lettuce, Little Gem (Romaine)40-755 – 24
Lettuce, New Red Fire60–7016-21
Lettuce, Red Sails60–7016-21
Lettuce, Red Salad Bowl50-7210-22
Pepper, Cayenne65-9518-35
Pepper, Jalapeño 65-9518-35
Spinach, Matador50–7510-24
Spinach, Lavewa50–7510-24
Spring Onion68-7720-25
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights75–9024-32
Swiss Chard, Lyon50 – 7510 – 24
Taisai, Pak Choy50- 8010 – 27
Tomato, Marmande VR60 – 7015 – 20
Tomato (Cherry), Supersweet 100 FT75 -9021-32
Tomato, Sam Marzano70–9021-32

I measured my Aerogarden water and it’s hitting a maximum of 85°F (30°C)! No wonder my spinach never sprouted, its ideal temperature is 50-75°F (10-24°C). Its just way too hot for them.

I’ll have to wait a while for the weather to get a bit cooler before I can sprout spinach; in the meantime I can try growing some Bright Lights Swiss Chard and Nero Toscana Kale.

Expected Grow Times of Kratky Hydroponic Plants

I’d like to figure out how fast I can expect my plants to grow. Most seed packets and websites tell you how fast seeds grow assuming you are using soil, But hydroponics can grow up to 50% faster!

I doubt very much that my first hydroponic plants will grow 50% faster, however that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t expect to start harvesting from roughly that time onwards. You rarely need to wait until the plant reaches full maturity before you can harvest; just pull off leaves as needed and let the plant keep growing. I added “Potential Maturity” to the table below, but realistically that’s when I suspect I may be able to get my first harvest.

Earlier in the week I announced that we were hoping to grow the following vegetables and fruits in our Kratky hydroponic tubs:

  • Amaranth, Red Leaf
  • Basil, Purple Petra
  • Cucumber, Lemon Cucumber
  • Lettuce, New Red Fire
  • Lettuce, Red Sails
  • Spinach, Matador
  • Spinach, Lavewa
  • Swiss Chard, Bright Lights
  • Tomato, San Marzano

All of our seeds were purchased from Sustainable Organic Q8, and appear to have been imported from Botanical Interests. You can read more about my search from seeds in the post Where to buy organic seeds in Kuwait.

Days To MaturityPotential Maturity
Amaranth, Red Leaf90-11045-60
Basil, Purple Petra45-5523-28
Cucumber, Lemon6532
Lettuce, New Red Fire5527
Lettuce, Red Sails4523
Spinach, Matador28-4814-24
Spinach, Lavewa28-4514-24
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights5226
Tomato, San Marzano80-9040-45

I’d really to have some plants growing, or even harvestable, by late September/early October. Thats approximately 50-60 days from now. We have space for 2 large plants, along with at least 3 smaller plants and maximum of 5 plants.

San Marzano Tomato Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests
San Marzano Tomato Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests

The San Marzano Tomatoes are planned as a permanent setup, so these will take priority in one of the largest plant spaces. This tomato plant will be approximately 5-6 feet (1.5-1.8m) in height!

Lemon Cucumber Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests
Lemon Cucumber Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests

Whilst not quite as large as the tomatoes, the Lemon Cucumbers will stand about 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2m) in height. This will fill my second large grow area.

There are debates online about which spinach is “better”; matador apparently grows better in many conditions, but the Lavewa looks prettier and is slightly tastier. We want to test both of these spinaches side by side. They grow at the same rate, so we will test both the Lavewa Spinach and the Matador Spinach together.

Amaranth Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests
Amaranth Artwork, Courtesy of Botanical Interests

I want to stagger the harvesting of my plants; I don’t want all my fresh leaf plants to mature at the same time, and then go one to two months with little food. So I have decided that I will start the Amaranth as well for this first hydroponic growth cycle. Granted, with its growth speed, I may be able to grow two batches of spinach by the time it reaches full maturity.

If I can fit anymore plants in my grow area I will add the Swiss Chard and the New Red Fire Lettuce.

What about you?

What are you growing this season? Did you calculate how long it takes to grow? Did you have to plan around seasons and temperature outdoors? Let me know what you’re growing!

Where to buy organic seeds in Kuwait

Don’t want to read? Here’s a quick list of links:

After researching a bit, and probably jumping into the water too fast when it comes to buying products like grow lights, I have purchased some seeds to grow in my Krakty hydroponic room setup.

Buying seeds was a specific hassle in Kuwait; the very few and limited stores that sold seeds only sold the very common varieties. Think Beefsteak tomatoes; the probably most common tomato you can find at any supermarket. Since such tomatoes are so easy to buy, I want to grow something more unique.

In fact, we even found a nursery selling seeds with the giant warning label on the back: “Warning. Treated with poison. Do not consume or grow food products from these.” What?!

In the end we found a company called Sustainable Organic Q8 that seems to import from reliable producers.

They delivered within 48 hours. We have been very happy with the brand of seeds that Sustainable Organic Q8 sells; which is Botanical Interest. They contain a lot of seeds in the pack, and they so far have a really high germination rate (for me its 100%).

Update – 24th August 2019: We found another Kuwait website selling seeds called My Organic World, though the website is all in Arabic (use Chrome web browser for auto-translate to browse in English). We bought from them, and they delivered within 24 hours! Unfortunately they sold brands Sperli and Kiepenkerl which consensus online says they can be quite expensive compared to competitors. One of the packs we bought only had 5 seeds in it! Not a reflection of My Organic World, but the seed producers themselves.

Update – 31st August 2019: Another Kuwaiti website selling seeds called PlantNMore. though the website is all in Arabic (use Chrome web browser for auto-translate to browse in English). I haven’t bought from this company yet.

Do you know anywhere else in Kuwait to buy seeds? Please let us know in the comments.