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Technical Questions for Lambsquarters

 
William James
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Posts: 1008
Location: Northern Italy
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Hi,
I have 2-3 questions for lambsquarters.

(cough) Dearest Lambsquarters,

1) How can you tell when the "seed-looking pods" are viable. I wanted to spread the "seeds" around but I'd also like to clear out the area that has the lambsquarters for future projects. Didn't want to wait until december to do things.

2) Are those things seeds? They don't look like seeds.

3) How can I create a situation in which the leaves grow larger. I just let mine grow wild under heavy sun and dry earth and it became enormous, which is good, but the leaves were half the size that I'd like them to be. Do I need to create a shaded area and grow them like that? Or could it be something with having access to water/nutrients. Or would stressing the plant through pruning produce larger leaves?

Thanks,
W

***Update***
I just learned that the seeds are black. I don't have black seeds yet so I guess I should wait.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I treat lambsquarters like any of our other greens, which means it gets some water occasionally and good garden dirt. Soon ours will have ripe seed...I just let it go among the last standing plants in the area...but you could try picking some of the seed heads and rubbing off the outer part to check for mature seeds or just shake a seed head into your hand to see if they fall out. I remember shades of brown seed I think. When ours are ready I cut the whole plant and shake it over areas I want it for next year. When it comes up I am constantly thinning and we eat those too. When the plants are a foot or so I start pinching growing tips to eat and continue all summer...I don't pick individual leaves just tips and the plant gets bushy and four or five feet tall. Eventually the plant insists on going to seed and I let it. One of our favorite and most reliable summer greens.
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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As for the seeds:

I saw some black seeds on a plant not on my area.
I think I'll harvest that just in case.

Plus I saw white seeds on my plot, which I assume will turn black (or brown) in a few weeks.

Had to make some room for new plants, so I lost a few big lambsquarters with a bunch of seeds waiting to happen. Ho hum. Good thing I have backup.

W
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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I think lambs quarters is like arugula...once you encourage it you won't ever be without it. I am still waiting on my seeds but I think they are probably dropping some early ones when we are not looking.
 
Calvin Mars
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Lambs quarters doesn't play well with some plants. It poisons them.

I love it though, the way I plant I don't really care if something gets the upper hand in a spot. I think of this plant as something better suited for areas beyond zone 1. The variety that I have that grows readily in disturbed clay soils has black seeds. When they are ready, they fall out. I just cut off a five foot tall plant and shake it around areas I might want it to appear later.

Best leaf production I got was in an area with full sun. Although it's drought tolerant, I'm sure it would respond well to water.

You might be thinking of giant lambs quarters? There's another species out there that has humungo leaves.

I think lambs quarters is better than spinach. I'll never forget when I was first turned on by this. I realized at that moment that we're surrounded by food, we just don't often know. This is a fine eat, but don't over do it. It contains a decent amount of oxalic acid which gets in the way of nutrient absorption. Most folks agree that cooking denatures this chemical, but I'm in ongoing discussions with a particular nutritionist that claims otherwise. Don't eat it every day. In fact, don't eat any one particular thing every day. Mix it up.

If you want more plants, I'll betcha if you took a shovel to some compacted clay soil and disturbed it that you would get some volunteers. These are tough little seeds and this weed grows everywhere. They stay viable in the ground for a long time, they seem to need some sunlight to kick start germination.
 
Arrow Durfee
Posts: 35
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I've found that lambs quarters that comes up into my frequently watered beds do not get nearly as large as those that come up in the wild in unfertilized soil with no added water. Goosefoot, a close relative to lambsquarters has larger leaves but is not recommended for eating frequently. The leaf size is irrelevant to me anyway for I pick the tips that are tender and abundant and come right back after a week or so. The seed fronds when young are very good to eat also and I pick them right along with the rest
 
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