By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Amaranth, or locally known as kulitis (Amaranthus spp.), is an edible plant that’s easy to grow all-year round. It is a member of the Amaranth family and is an erect annual plant that can grow up to 2.5 meters tall.
Its other names are Chinese spinach and pigweed in English, Uray in Tagalog, and Kudjapa in Bisaya.
The plant is mainly cultivated for its leaves which are used as pig feed and as an ingredient in Filipino recipes such as Laswa which is an Ilonggo vegetable soup because it is rich in vitamins A, B6, C, K, riboflovin, and folate. Kulitis is also possesses minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. The Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Center (DA-ATI) offers some tips on planting this versatile crop:
In East Asia, there are four types of kulitis grown as vegetables. These are Amaranthus cruentus, Amaranthus blitum, Amaranthus dubius, and Amaranthus tricolor. However, the most popular in the Philippines is the Amaranthus spinosus which is characterized by its small, thin spikes.
To grow kulitis, here are several pointers to remember when growing the spiky plant:
- When growing amaranth, the ideal soil to plant it in is loose and loamy. It can be grown from seeds by repotting or direct seeding.
- Plant the seed in the ground with a depth of 0.5 to 10 centimeters before covering it with compost or rice hulls. Meanwhile, when transplanting plants, there has to be two kilograms of seeds per hectare as well as 400 plants per square meter.
- Water the seeds immediately after planting.
In maintaining the plant, it is necessary to regularly water the plants as well as remove weeds during its first growing stage. After 20 to 45 days, the kulitis can be harvested. Need more information? The ATI has a hotline ready to answer any questions on farming.