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Vegetable Gardening: Malabar Spinach

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newyorkrita

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

May 14, 2012
3:07 PM

Post #9123780

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?

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 14, 2012
7:52 PM

Post #9124130

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.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 15, 2012
4:56 AM

Post #9124408

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.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 15, 2012
4:59 AM

Post #9124411

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.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
5:16 AM

Post #9124427

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
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
6:01 AM

Post #9124476

Calalily wrote: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?
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
6:10 AM

Post #9124483

Spinach in name only... it is a beautiful ornamental vine.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
6:13 AM

Post #9124485

If you are curious, I'll add this link http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1318/
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 15, 2012
6:41 AM

Post #9124513

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

They're kind of slimy like Okra.

TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
8:30 AM

Post #9124698

Dean_W wrote: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?
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 15, 2012
8:39 AM

Post #9124714

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?
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
8:49 AM

Post #9124723

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...

newyorkrita

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

May 15, 2012
9:04 AM

Post #9124742

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.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
11:27 AM

Post #9124895

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

Thumbnail by drthor
Click the image for an enlarged view.

newyorkrita

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

May 15, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9125083

Fabulous. It kinda looks like real spinach to me. I guess that will change.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 15, 2012
3:11 PM

Post #9125144

TX_gardener wrote: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.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
4:40 PM

Post #9125223

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?

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
8:15 PM

Post #9125439

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 ...
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 15, 2012
9:07 PM

Post #9125508

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?




drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 16, 2012
5:51 AM

Post #9125707

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
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 16, 2012
6:17 AM

Post #9125744

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.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 16, 2012
5:05 PM

Post #9126515

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
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 17, 2012
5:38 AM

Post #9126923

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.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 17, 2012
5:26 PM

Post #9127696

Both sound yummy! So far, I've only eaten it raw but will have to sample those ideas. Thanks.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 17, 2012
7:42 PM

Post #9127839

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
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

May 18, 2012
4:45 AM

Post #9128070

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
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 19, 2012
3:30 AM

Post #9129273

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

newyorkrita

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

May 19, 2012
10:48 AM

Post #9129576

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!

newyorkrita

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

May 24, 2012
3:05 PM

Post #9137020

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

newyorkrita

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

May 25, 2012
11:27 AM

Post #9138210

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.

1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
12:11 PM

Post #9138262

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

newyorkrita

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

May 25, 2012
12:22 PM

Post #9138276

No, I just planted them. Wanted to get then in the ground and the packet directions didn't say anything about soaking.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
12:27 PM

Post #9138284

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.

newyorkrita

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

May 25, 2012
12:32 PM

Post #9138296

That is why I saved half the pack, just in case something goes wrong this first sowing!
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
1:09 PM

Post #9138338

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
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
5:18 PM

Post #9138683

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

newyorkrita

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

May 25, 2012
5:23 PM

Post #9138687

I doubt it would dry out. It has been a very rainey spring.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 25, 2012
5:41 PM

Post #9138711

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

newyorkrita

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

June 4, 2012
9:51 AM

Post #9151631

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

newyorkrita

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

June 15, 2012
3:21 PM

Post #9166685

Boy they sure do grow slowely. Lots of plants and all still on that first set of leaves.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

June 15, 2012
3:49 PM

Post #9166726

Just you wait... And it shouldn't be long. Once they get going, they rock! The odd thing is, the lower leaves are much bigger and fleshier. The leaves get smaller as the vines get longer.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

July 4, 2012
10:33 PM

Post #9193490

Rita,how are they growing now that record heat has set in?

newyorkrita

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

July 5, 2012
8:16 AM

Post #9193815

Growing and looking great. Plants are still small as in they are not vining yet but I figgure they will once they are ready.

newyorkrita

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

August 2, 2012
11:18 AM

Post #9227200

Oh, I just noticed flowers on my Malabar Spinach. I didn't think it was supposed to flower. Should I pinch off the flowers? The plants are finially vining nicely.

NicoleC

NicoleC
Madison, AL
(Zone 7b)

August 2, 2012
1:40 PM

Post #9227322

If you want malabar spinach forever and ever in that spot, leave the flowers be. It's a prolific reseeder.

Personally, I didn't notice any taste difference when flowering versus flowering... but then I didn't like it at all so I may not be the best judge! Pretty vine, though, and very resilient.

newyorkrita

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

August 2, 2012
1:47 PM

Post #9227328

No, I don't think I do want volunteers all over. I will pinch off the flowers. Thanks!
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

August 3, 2012
6:42 AM

Post #9228011

More will come, once it starts flowering it doesn't stop!

newyorkrita

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

August 29, 2012
1:38 PM

Post #9258454

Here it is today. Lots of bloom buds that never seem to open.

Thumbnail by newyorkrita
Click the image for an enlarged view.

drthor

drthor
Irving, TX
(Zone 8a)

August 29, 2012
1:40 PM

Post #9258456

The buds will not open. They are just like berries. They will turn dark color.

newyorkrita

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

August 29, 2012
1:45 PM

Post #9258463

Oh. I did not know that! Thanks!

Larkie

Larkie
Camilla, GA
(Zone 8a)

August 29, 2012
9:31 PM

Post #9258955

I love this plant, for eating and just because it is so pretty.. Boy, but does it ever re-seed all over the place for me..

Larkie

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 30, 2012
7:30 AM

Post #9259155

Fascinating discussion.

I cooked fresh picked okra yesterday evening. It is a "mucilaginous" ("slimey") veggie once it touches water, or other liquids.

We always dropped a 1-2 capsful of vinegar into the sautee pan, tossing around until there was no more "roping", and "VOILA!" no slimey okra...

Might track down some Malabar/Purslane and see if this will work. Don't have the tastebuds for slimey...

Linda

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 30, 2012
8:14 AM

Post #9259192

Hi,
I have a co-worker standing by telling me how they cook this in the Vietnamese style. He says to slice up the leaves into thin strips. Soak dry shrimp overnight and keep the water (or soak fresh shrimp for a couple hours). You're going for the flavored liquid.

Boil the shrimp liquid, and add the strips of Malabar Spinach leaves to the liquid. The shrimp will flavor the leaves. He says the thicker (bottom) leaves are more flavorful.

You can eat this soup hot, but he says it tastes better if you cool it in the refrigerator, as it is refreshing on a hot day. It is a nice summer soup, that cools you off.

He didn't mention adding any additional seasonings, but noted you can spoon the hot soup over cooked rice (to cut the slime?).

That's all folks!

He has three bushy vines growing in his yard.

Linda

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