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Plant of the Month

'Brilliant Rainbow' Quinoa
Chenopodium quinoa 'Brilliant Rainbow'

Location: Grid O32 back of the annual bed

I chose this for the annual bed mostly because I had never seen Quinoa growing, and I know lots of people are interested in it now as a high protein grain. This one is promoted primarily as an ornamental for the colorful seed heads.

'Brilliant Rainbow' Quinoa 8-20-14
'Brilliant Rainbow' Quinoa 8-20-14

I was somewhat surprised to find out after planting it out, that most forms of Quinoa probably won't have a long enough growing season here to fully mature, I was surprised because Quinoa comes from the high elevation areas in the Andes Mountains of South America, so I wrongly assumed that they would be a short season plant. The seed supplier listed the days to maturity as "90-120 days", a pretty broad range, and if it tends toward the larger number they probably won't mature here.

'Brilliant Rainbow' Quinoa 8-20-14
'Brilliant Rainbow' Quinoa 8-20-14

If you look closely at the plant and thing "that sure looks like a weed to me", you would be absolutely correct. It is closely related to the common weed Lambs Quarters, Chenopodium album. So, maybe it is a good thing the seeds won't mature here! 

Monthly Projects

Somewhat appropriately, it seems like most of August has been spent working on irrigation, either fixing the existing system or adding another phase of automatic, underground zones. Then we got a nice rain and cooler temperatures and nearly everything in the Arboretum perked up and looks happier.

Storm damage 8-13-14
Storm damage 8-13-14

Unfortunately, as often happens, strong winds accompanied the change in the weather, and there was some significant damage to several trees. It took the four man crew all of one day with chainsaws and a one ton truck to get most of the pieces cut down and hauled away. All of the woody debris is hauled to the University's wood storage lot, where it is eventually chipped up and then burned in the wood fired boiler which heats most of the campus.

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