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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

New Zealand Spinach has a mind of its own





New Zealand Spinach
Tetragonia tetragonioides

While advertised as being able to "take the heat" this plant does not do well for me in the summer with our high heat and humidity. It does "take the heat" when our humidity is low in winter and early spring.

My first New Zealand spinach seed was planted about five years ago in my old garden behind the house and I have never purchased seed again. It never came up during that first summer but later it happily germinated when the weather started to cool off in the fall. 

My New Zealand Spinach now self sows or is helped a little by me. When I harvest, usually about March, I strip off the best leaves to cook then compost the remains (with seeds attached to vine) in an area I want it to germinate and come up in the fall. 

The remains are moved around different places in the gardens year after year. Crop rotation my way. What amazes me is that seed has come up in places I have not "placed" it for several years.

How to use? Rinse, add some water, cover, cook until tender. New Zealand Spinach is one of the few tropical-types that you can cook. I like to eat with butter, salt, and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Our leftovers are diced, mixed with parmesan, mayo, and perhaps a dot of something zingy and used as a dip. Unfortunately, I eat this "dip" with a spoon I love it so much.