A few days ago I posted this video where we’re using wild amaranth as a chop-and-drop:
You run a risk using amaranth as a green manure/mulch since it’s one of the seediest weeds you’ll ever encounter. It makes a lot of biomass, though, and it was already in the bed, so we chopped and dropped it. So long as we keep mulching it should be fine. If we ever turn the ground again, though – God help us! The amaranth will return with a vengeance!
The funny thing about this bed is how much food it yielded from a “crop” we didn’t plant. Originally we planted the bed with bell peppers and a few onions, then the amaranth started and I let it fill in the gaps. I cut it again and again, harvesting pounds of greens. I’d cut some tops almost every morning for breakfast and they still way outgrew the peppers.
While this was happening, I planted another bed with an improved, cultivated variety of amaranth a neighbor shared with me. It grew large and yields higher quality greens, so I decided I was done with the other bed of weedy amaranth.
So chop and drop it was. Now I need to pop in some transplants.
You can learn more about chop and drop in my book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting. I am a huge fan of growing plants to use as compost. If a weed grows fast and fills in a space, don’t just pull and toss it – feed it to your garden instead!