N.Z. Spinach is a low-growing leafy plant that grows well in the heat of summer when regular spinach is struggling to survive, however it is not frost hardy like true spinach. The two plants are not related in anyway but can be used fresh or cooked in the same manner. The flavor and texture are similar to regular spinach so giving spinach lover a steady year round supply.
It can spread several feet wide and grow to one foot (30 cm) tall. It has succulent, almost triangular shaped leaves, smaller and fuzzier than regular spinach. They are pale to dark green and grow from 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long.
The flowers of New Zealand spinach are yellow, and the fruit is a small, hard conical capsules covered with small horns. Within the capsule there are several seeds.
Prepare planting beds with aged compost and or a good all purpose organic fertilizer. Because New Zealand spinach has a sprawling habit side dressing later on is difficult. This is where nutrient teas and organic liquid fertilizer are at their best. Fertilize ever 2-3 weeks throughout the growing season for high producing plants.
Plant after the last frost in spring, seedlings will emerge in 10-20 days, and it will continue to produce greens throughout the summer. It is drought tolerant but produces best when watered regularly and the soil is not left to dry out. Mulch to retain soil moisture and control weeds.
New Zealand spinach has no serious pest problems.
The first tender young leaves will be ready for harvest 55 to 65 days after sowing. Cut young leaves and tender leaf tips for the best flavor. It is another cut-and-come-again harvest green, which encourages new lush growth and a longer harvest.
|Veggie Garden Dairy|
|Vegetable||New Zealand spinach|
|Also Known As||Botany Bay Spinach, Cook's Cabbage, Kokihi, Sea Spinach, Tetragon, Warrigal Greens|
|Botanical||Family - Aizoaceae, Genus - Tetragonia, Species - T. tetragonioides|
|Plant Type||Warm season - tender perennial - leafy vegetable|
|Planting Position||Sunny position but welcomes shade in the hottest part of the season - requiring a minimum of 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily.|
|Seed Viability||3 years|
|Germination||8-15 days at 60-90 F (16-32 C)|
|Growing Temp||70-95 F (21-35 C)|
|Seed to Transplant||4-5 weeks|
|Planting Method||Direct sow or Seedling transplants|
|When to Plant||Spring|
|Time to Plant||Wait until at least 1-2 weeks after the last average 32 F (0 C) freeze in your area but not before soil temperature are consistently 60 F (16 C) or above.|
|Seed Sowing||Direct sowing new zealand spinach seed - 1/2 inch (12 mm) deep 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) apart in rows or hills 24-36 inches (60-90 cm) apart .|
|Plant Spacing||Transplant or thin new zealand seedlings 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) apart in rows or hills 24-36 inches (60-90 cm) apart|
|Soil Conditions||Well drained - High organic matter - Medium fertility|
|Fertilizer||Medium fertilizer needs, 3-4 quarts per 100 sq feet (3.3-4.4 liters per 9.3 square meters) preplanting of All-Purpose 5-5-5 Organic Fertilizer , same rate for each side dressing.|
|When to Fertilize||2 weeks before sowing or transplanting - when transplanting use liquid starter fertilizer - side-dress every 3-4 weeks after until 3-4 week before 1st expected fall frost|
|Days to Harvest||55-65 days - depending on conditions and variety|