I was doing a little weeding today and under the cauliflowers found a lot of reddish plants that I realized were young amaranth plants, small because they’re shaded by the cauli leaves. I count on the amaranth to reseed itself every year. It grows to six feet and has strange dangling furry red flowers and looks quite weird and wonderful with the sunflowers (which also seed themselves). But when I saw all those small plants massed in the shade it struck me how much like Swiss chard they look. I checked quickly in my gardening encyclopedia. No relationship to chard, but indeed amaranth greens are edible and nutritious, just like chard or spinach.
This is one example of the kind of plant we need on this crowded planet: producing greens, grain, and flowers that the Victorians called “Love Lies Bleeding.” Here’s an article about amaranth’s value in developing countries.