Red Malabar Spinach

One of these is not a gnome.

One of these is not a gnome.

And it’s also not really a spinach.
The problem with growing spinach is that it bolts so quickly, making it bitter and unpalatable. It’s a great plant for the early spring, when not many plants will grow because of the cold and frosts here in northeast Pa.
But as soon as the weather warms, and we are in frost free weather, we get our Red Malabar Spinach in.

Red Malabar Spinach is a heat-loving plant that grows vertically and does not bolt. It can be pinched back which encourages it to get bushier, and actually puts on more leaves as you harvest. As you see it can be grown in a container.

It is used in all the same ways you would enjoy spinach.

We also learned something new by reading the seed packet from Seed Savers Exchange that you can cut the stems and root them.
Next summer we’re going to do just that, and grow a virtual wall of spinach.
Can’t wait.

Botanical name: Basella rubra
Seeding: shallow
Spacing: 6″ but we just put a few seeds in a pot.
D.T.M.: About 50 for light harvesting.
Hardiness: Does not like the cold, but loves the heat. Full sun to partial shade.
Height: Trellis needed. Our fence is 5 ft. and it already passed that out. Time to pinch.


Categories: How to Grow, spinach


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How to Grow – Spinach

Spinach is a quick growing veggie that prefers cooler temperatures.
Here in Zone 5/6 we plant it in very early spring and again later in the summer and into fall.

spinach types

A spinach experiment.

This year we decided to try a few different kinds to see what does best with whatever Mother Nature decides to throw at us.
The Tyee, for example, is reputed to be slower to bolt than many other types.

It has been unseasonably warm all winter, but the cooler- more normal- temperatures are returning and we’re hoping all will go well for the early veggies.

spinach seeds

Small, but manageable.

You can plant in neat rows and mulch, or just scatter the seeds and cover with a little soil (about 1/2 inch) and make rows later by picking and eating the baby plants.

After just a few weeks it will be coming along nicely.
Harvest at any stage but before they ‘bolt’ or go to seed, as then the leaves will become bitter.
Mandolin loves baby spinach, so we usually pick a few small leaves at a time from a number of plants.

baby spinach

Ready to begin picking.

Botanical Name: Spinacia oleracea
Yield: One plant per seed, with a continuous harvest period.
Spacing: 1″, thin and enjoy as baby spinach
Days to maturity: 3-6 weeks
Storage: Fresh, Frozen or Pressure Canned

For those in warmer climates, consider growing New Zealand Spinach or Swiss Chard instead as these can take the heat.

Freezing Spinach
More Cold Tolerant Plants
More on New Zealand Spinach
Simply Amazing Spinach Recipe
Spinach-Feta Pizza

Categories: spinach


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