Improvement status: Cultivated material
Seeds per packet: ~75
Germination tested 1/2018: 91%
Epazote is an herb in the Chenopodium tribe of the Amaranth family. In fact, until recently it had the botanical name "Chenopodium abrosioides," indicating its similarity to plants like quinoa and lamb's quarters. The whole plant is eaten in much of Latin America, where it is used both as a vegetable itself and as a flavoring agent, often cooked with beans (it is considered to reduce the most common "unintended consequence" of beans). The essential oil is toxic in very high doses, so it is recommended to use this plant sparingly unless you are well accustomed to it already. It can be quick to bolt in northern areas, so sow every few weeks for fresh greens, as you might do with cilantro. The flavor is complex and hard to pin down, with notes of tarragon, oregano, fennel, coriander, and savory. Epazote is likely to self-seed, and once established should be there for quite some time. Seeds were grown by Clint Freund and Kass McKinnon of Cultivating the Commons in Madison, Wisconsin, which will receive half of the proceeds of all sales.
***May have a role for edible landscapers with its ability to self-seed and come back each year.
GROWING TIPS: Start indoors 4-8 weeks before last frost date. Sprinkle a few seeds on the surface of each pot, agitate the surface, then water in gently. Once the seedlings have germinated and are 1/2 inch high, thin to 1-2 seedlings per pot. Transplant outdoors when plants are 2-3 inches high. Alternately, direct sow any time after threat of frost has passed.