New Zealand Spinach: Growing this leafy green that’s not really spinach

If you want to grow a healthy green in your garden, you should take a look at Spinach. When you take a look at Spinach, you will also notice that there are numerous variations available for you to consider. Out of those variations, New Zealand Spinach holds a prominent place. Continue to read this guide and we will share how you can grow New Zealand Spinach at the comfort of your home.

New Zealand Spinach

What is New Zealand Spinach?

Even though this plant has the name spinach, it doesn’t belong to the original spinach family. The leaves of New Zealand Spinach look pretty much similar to spinach. That’s the main reason why this plant has got such a name. it will be possible for you to use the tender leaves of New Zealand Spinach as a great substitute for spinach. You can expect to receive a mild flavor out of it.

Similar to cooking spinach, you will also need to cook the leaves of New Zealand Spinach. Then you can remove all oxalates. This plant is native to New Zealand and Australia. However, you can still grow it in other parts of the world. All you have to do is to make sure that you provide a warmer environment to facilitate the healthy growth of the plant.

It is also possible to call New Zealand Spinach as an heirloom vegetable. You can often see this plant growing along the shorelines of New Zealand and Australia.

How to sow New Zealand Spinach indoors

You can think about getting New Zealand Spinach to your indoor garden. You will be able to start from the seeds and proceed with it. Before getting the seeds, you should also ensure that you are having access to a proper grow light system. That’s because grow lights can cater to the light and heat requirements of New Zealand Spinach plants as they grow.

After getting the seeds, you can proceed with planting them around a month before the last frost date of the season. These seeds are pretty much similar to the seeds of beet. You will need to soak up the seeds in water for a duration of 24 hours before you plant them. Then you will be able to provide a helping hand to germination.

You can proceed with sowing the seeds within a starting mix. However, it is quite important to keep the soil moist at all times. You need to retain moisture levels until the seeds germinate and you can see seedlings growing out of them. It will take around two months for the plants to mature.

How to direct sow New Zealand Spinach in your garden

It is also possible for you to direct sow New Zealand Spinach in your garden. These plants love to thrive in heat. Therefore, you should make sure that the outdoor environment is warm before you proceed with sowing them. This is why we encourage you to sow the seeds in either May or June. Then the temperature will be above 50 F.

You should be careful with selecting the most appropriate place to grow New Zealand Spinach as well. The place you select should offer at least 10 hours of sunlight per day. On the other hand, you need to make sure that you plant seedlings or seeds in a nutrient rich soil. It should have proper drainage as well.

There’s no need to worry too much if your soil has bit of additional sand. If there’s too much sand, you might have to amend the soil before seedling plants or sowing seeds. After some time, you will be able to side-dress the rows along with the help of compost.

You can sow the New Zealand Spinach seeds while maintaining a distance of around three to four inches. Then you can provide enough space for the plants to grow healthily in your outdoor garden. On top of that, you should be careful not to allow these plants to get into waste. You will be able to stir fry them in your kitchen.

While growing New Zealand Spinach outdoors, you might notice that some of the seeds don’t germinate. If you see such areas in the garden, you may think about planting new seeds in there.

How to take care of New Zealand Spinach plants

Now you know how to grow New Zealand Spinach and the next step would be to learn how to take care of them. As mentioned earlier, these plants would be okay in growing under heat. That’s because the plants have got used to humid and hot environments. You need to be careful to provide enough sunlight for the plants throughout the day. Otherwise, you might have to experience a bit of bitterness while you taste them. Likewise, you should also be careful to water the plants, so that you can retain their rich flavor.

There is no need to worry too much about diseases and pests when you grow New Zealand Spinach. But still, you should fertilize the plants generously and regularly. This is where you need to adhere to the 10-10-10 formulation. Then you can make sure that the plants will grow healthily. A healthily grown New Zealand Spinach plant will be about one foot in height.

These plants are not capable of tolerating heavy frost. Therefore, you should be careful to proceed with harvesting them during fall. In next section of this article, we will share more details with you on how to harvest New Zealand Spinach.

How to harvest New Zealand Spinach?

New Zealand Spinach is a leafy green. Therefore, you can expect to receive a very high nutritious value out of it. You will be able to use it in a variety of dishes. For example, you can use New Zealand Spinach over rice, stir fries, and even as a filling. On the other hand, some people tend to add it to their soup broth as well.

You should be careful at the time of harvesting New Zealand Spinach to retain nutritional value. This is where you need to think about using a pair of sharp scissors. There are herb scissors in the market that you can use to get the job done. You can snip younger leaves and add them into your food.

Throughout the harvesting season, you can continue to trim the plants. Trimming will encourage growth of this plant. Hence, you will be able to end up with getting bushier plants. In case if you see bigger leaves that you can’t eat, you should prune them.

Final words

Growing New Zealand Spinach is quite easy because these plants thrive heat. Start growing them in spring and you will be able to enjoy these nutritious and flavorful leaves until the end of fall. It is something that you should add to your healthy meal plans.

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