After a crazy spring saw exactly Zero carrots come up, I decided to randomly start tossing seeds into one of my raised beds and made it into a hunger games of sorts - survival of the fittest, y'all. The big winners? Swiss Chard and ... Amaranth.
The first time I saw this growing was in a work friend's garden back in the Rose City, and I was very intrigued. I tried growing it for the first time at the farm, but it was much smaller, and I never harvested it as the plant was so interesting to look at I just left it there (yeah, if you look at the one below from our farm days, it grew quite, um, phallic-shaped, to put it mildly...). But it inspired me, and this spring I sowed a bunch of a new variety (which I quickly lost the package and forgot to note it's name, ugh!) in the free-for-all raised bed.
The bonus of amaranth? Even if you let it just flower and feed the birds at the end of the season, it provides a nice bit of shade for your greens as the temps get warmer. And of course, how pretty is amaranth all by itself!