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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

New Zealand Spinach: how to grow, eat, and sow

Easy Food


New Zealand Spinach: how to grow, eat, and sow

We planted New Zealand spinach two years ago. Since then it continues to grow throughout my garden. Why? It self sows which means it flowers, creates seeds, drops seeds, and seedlings grow. These seedlings are called "volunteers" because they were never planted and volunteered to grow.

This is one of my favorite plants to allow to grow as a volunteer. Its seeds germinates when it is ready, I don't have to guess when to plant. It withstands solarization and will still germinate. It withstands cutting back and keeps on growing. All round easy plant once established.

Establishing can be a problem though. It wants to grow when it wants to grow. If you plant seeds and it says "no, not ready yet" we think it is our fault. Not so. Plant it with the mindset of "it will come up when it wants to" and you will not be disappointed. See recipe below for how I keep this spinach growing year after year.

How to prep New Zealand Spinach

New Zealand spinach is very, very similar tasting to regular spinach. New Zealand spinach is one of the few tropical-type spinach that can be cooked without falling apart.

Below is "ugly" New Zealand spinach just picked after the rains so it is pretty dirty. There are dead leaves as well as pine and wild grape leaves mixed in from my surrounding vacant lots.



Below is the semi clean New Zealand spinach in my kitchen sink being washed in water.



I take each stem and pinch off the "pretty" leaves leaving the stem and any seeds that have formed on the stem.



I save all these stems with attached seeds and toss into the garden where I would like them to grow when they "feel like it".



My pot of leaves all ready for steaming or gently boiling until tender.



New Zealand spinach is frost sensitive.

For more information:
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv139
http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/sustainag/extn_pub/veggie%20pubs/New%20Zealand%20Spinach.pdf