Malabar Spinach

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I just order seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds of Red Malabar Spinach. I have never tried it. I do like spinach raw in salads. I am wondering if this will work raw or needs cooking?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

The small leaves are very good. When the leaves get larger you will need to steam them because they are a little hard.
Malabar Spinach grows really well in the heat of our TX summer. I do have them already in the ground.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

They are a bit "slimey" and taste like beet greens instead of spinach. I don't care for them but know others who do like them.

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Forgot to mention, they will get over 10 feet long in one season and reseed everywhere. There is also a green leaf variety that has bigger, fleshier leaves and less flowers and seeds which grew over 20 feet long in one summer here.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I grow it, eat it and like it. I use it fresh and use only the tender new growth. A friend likes his cooked but I prefer fresh.

As Drthor said, it is a heat loving plant. Mine doesn't really take off until the worst of summer. For us in the south, that is the charm. With the incredible summer temps, there is no way lettuce will do well.

Either way, it is a beautiful vine and I will be interested to see how it does for you in NY. Please keep us posted... Kristi

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from Calalily :
Forgot to mention, they will get over 10 feet long in one season and reseed everywhere. There is also a green leaf variety that has bigger, fleshier leaves and less flowers and seeds which grew over 20 feet long in one summer here.


Spinach?

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Spinach in name only... it is a beautiful ornamental vine.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

If you are curious, I'll add this link http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1318/

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

I got some seedlings that are growing that I need to plant.

They're kind of slimy like Okra.

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Quote from Dean_W :
They're kind of slimy like Okra.


Okay, I'm totally confused. It's spinach, a vine, has flowers and seeds, and is slimy like okra... What exactly is slimy? I need to look at the plant profile, don't I?

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

It's a tropical. Not really spinach just named that. By slimy I mean it has a mucilage like aspect when cooked.

Does that make sense?

Brady, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks Dean, yes it does. I also looked at the profile and comments -- one made it sound like kudzu in growth habits! Is it worth growing? For beauty maybe? Sounds kinda iffy to me....

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

It sounds good to me. I don't care if it tastes exactly like spinach, just that I can eat it all summer long. I will definately report back on how mines grows and after I taste it.

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is a picture of Malabar Spinach right now.
The plant is still small.

Thumbnail by drthor
North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Fabulous. It kinda looks like real spinach to me. I guess that will change.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Quote from TX_gardener :
Thanks Dean, yes it does. I also looked at the profile and comments -- one made it sound like kudzu in growth habits! Is it worth growing? For beauty maybe? Sounds kinda iffy to me....


You will be okay growing it. I had some growing in the garden last year. It'll just freeze and die come winter. No worries and no similarities to kuduzu which I once planted am still fighting.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

If you don't harvest the seed, it can reseed but it will be an annual... unlike kudzu. I also find if seedlings pop up they are easy to transplant to where you want them or to give them away.

Drthor ~ your photo appears to be Ceylon spinach (Basella alba) http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/2561/ which is also sold as Malabar spinach but is all green rather than red stemmed. I have some of the Basella alba seed but have never grown it. Do you like the taste? Is it any different from the red Malabar spinach?

Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

podster
I like the taste of this Malabar very much. I think when it will get older the stems turn red ... that's what I remember from the previous years ...

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I see, I was curious as I hadn't planted any of the Ceylon spinach seed. I wondered if the taste differed.

Do you let yours grow up a trellis?




Irving, TX(Zone 8a)

I normally do let my Malabar grow on a trellis ... but this year I will let you just run in the ground and let my DH pets eat them ... and I will enjoy them also

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

The green one has bigger leaves than the red one, tastes about the same but not nearly as many seeds so you get more usable leaves. I grew mine on cattle panels, the row was 32 feet long and I had one plant at each end. They met in the middle. It is a beautiful plant but heavy so use a heavy duty trellis.
I haven't grown the red one in a while and I'm still finding seedlings that pop up.
We call the slimey plants "mucilaginous" but that word doesn't sound any better than "slimey.". Purslane is another slimey one. Sometimes it helps to cook them with scrambled eggs.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the input on the differences, Calalily. Good to know...

I'm also currently growing purslane for the first time. I don't mind the taste of it at all either.

I guess "slimey" probably depends on our personal tastes. lol Kristi

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

I like Purslane, it tastes a bit like green peas and is high in Omega 3. A word of advice, don't let it go to seed. I spent all day yesterday pulling purslane out of the garden! I had a tiny bit of wild purslane a few years ago, bought the Golden Purslane from either Territorial or High Mowing, it crossed with the wild, now I have various colors all over the place.
Inca doves and other doves love the seed.

Traditional south Texas way to fix purslane: In an iron skillet fry pork (pork chops work well), remove meat from skillet when done, add chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped chile pepper, chopped tomato and chopped tomatillo if you like and about 2 cups chopped purslane. Cook until onion is translucent. Add pork chops back to skillet and add one more cup of purslane. Cover and cook 3 or 4 minutes, to warm meat and barely wilt the purslane. Serve with rice.
Next most popular way, saute in olive oil and add eggs, scramble, serve for breakfast with tacos.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Both sound yummy! So far, I've only eaten it raw but will have to sample those ideas. Thanks.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

That's funny I keep seeing pictures of Golden Purslane in the seed catalogs. I think it's pretty, edible is a plus.

I grew Red Malabar Spinach for the first time last summer. It was the only thing that survived last summer. I ate it raw but I didn't really care for it. I might have liked it better if I wasn't expecting it to taste like Spinach. It has readily reseeded so I guess I'm growing it again. I'm also growing Roselle which my son loves so I'm not sure how much I'll get.

Due to a limited amount of space and time I'm not sure I'll be able to grow as much this year. One garden has a disease that has taken out Nightshades 2 years in a row. I guess I could grow melon and cukes done there, but it's kind of nice having one place that is 50'x20' but it is quickly filling up with tomato plants the last will go in this weekend. Just not sure how much room there will be for anything else?

This message was edited May 17, 2012 8:43 PM

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Lisa, do the plants wilt suddenly and die? Could be bacterial wilt. The leaves just wilt, usually don't even get a chance to turn yellow, but maybe a little "off color" and the stems are brown inside and look like maybe they were trying to grow roots.
If the leaves turn yellow it could be fusarium or verticillium and there are resistant varieties available.

edited to add more information

This message was edited May 18, 2012 5:54 AM

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I used to grow Malabar Spinach in Southampton, LI, Zone 6, where it did very well as an annual. It only got 2-3' tall, as I remember. I ate the small greens fresh and cooked the large ones. It did self sow, but wasn't too annoying. It lasted well through the heat of summer, unlike regular spinach. It's not my favorite, so I don't grow it any more. I stick to lettuce and the various Chinese greens now.

Pam

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Hi Pam! I am in Nassau country here. Anyway, I don't mind if it doesn't really get to be a tall vine, just looking for greens to last thru the entire summer. Thanks!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Well, my seeds finally came today from Baker Creek. I will be planting them tomorrow as it is raining today.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I opened the packet of seed and there seemed to be a lot of seed in there. So I direct sowed about half the packet. This way I have spare seed if for some reason they do not come up.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Did you soak the seeds first? I dont know if you have to but it does speed up germination.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

No, I just planted them. Wanted to get then in the ground and the packet directions didn't say anything about soaking.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, if they take a while dont worry they will get there. I soak all my large seeds that are hard, dont think it will be a problem,just wondering.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

That is why I saved half the pack, just in case something goes wrong this first sowing!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I dont have to reseed they are coming up all by them selves. I doubt that they wont germinate it just might take a little longer. I do know that they like warm/hot soil to germinate. My volunteers JUST came up and its much warmer here then where you are ATM. But I know where you are at gets extremely hot and humid. Yuck!

This message was edited May 26, 2012 12:05 AM

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Lisa ~ same with mine. I soaked and they sat in the dark world of potting soil for what seemed like forever. Finally germinated earlier this week.

Newyorkrita ~ if your soil drys out, I will suggest you keep it moistened in place of soaking. But be ever so patient. Kristi

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

I doubt it would dry out. It has been a very rainey spring.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Ah... lucky you. There are already times here I'm wishing for rain. I've emptied the rainbarrel twice already this spring.

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Since I planted them there has been lots of rain. So they never dried out and guess what? They are comming up! Hurray!

North Shore of L. I., NY(Zone 6b)

Boy they sure do grow slowely. Lots of plants and all still on that first set of leaves.

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