My quinoa plants (I’m still not completely convinced they are quinoa) are blooming and the first signs of seed development can be seen, too. A few days ago I was checking on the plants and saw tiny anthers poking from the fleshy pink quinoa flower clusters. This is an interesting color change since the immature flower buds were purple. Like all Chenopodium, quinoa’s flowers, leaves and small stems are covered in mealy trichomes (“hairs”) which give the plant the appearance of being crusted with sugar grains. Their leaves were also dusted with mealy trichomes earlier this month but most of these have fallen off. Some leaves are twisted and curled which may be a disease symptom but so far this doesn’t seem to be affecting plant growth.
Now that the (probable) quinoa is blooming the next thing to watch for is the development and maturation of seeds. Our warm weather could end suddenly but most Chenopodium including quinoa are very tolerant of cool weather. The plants are short and compact so if it becomes necessary protecting them from cold weather and frosts will not be difficult. A bag made from spun polyester enclosing each of the plants will be enough to keep them warm while they mature seeds which for quinoa will be white. If these are quinoa then I will have seeds from plants that survived our climate and our long day/short night cycle. That will be a another step towards developing a variety adapted to this region and in particular to my tiny spot in it.