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Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  Tbites on 5/8/2012, 10:34 am

Has anyone tried growing these 2 per square ? Do the roots of 1 plant really need the full square ? I'd like to combine it with some pole beans... maybe the extra nitrogen would boost the spinach thinking

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  elliephant on 5/8/2012, 12:01 pm



Here's my Malabar Spinach one week after the other pic in this thread. If you count the trellis squares you can see that after weeks of sitting there, it doubled in height the past week.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  Tbites on 5/8/2012, 12:11 pm

@elliephant wrote:

Here's my Malabar Spinach one week after the other pic in this thread. If you count the trellis squares you can see that after weeks of sitting there, it doubled in height the past week.

Looks likes you have other stuff growing really close to it... what spacing did you use for the Malabar ?

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  elliephant on 5/8/2012, 12:17 pm

It's in a square with a Marigold. There are tomatoes to either side of it, with cilantro tucked in with the tomato on the right.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  givvmistamps on 5/8/2012, 12:58 pm

@Tbites wrote:Has anyone tried growing these 2 per square ? Do the roots of 1 plant really need the full square ? I'd like to combine it with some pole beans... maybe the extra nitrogen would boost the spinach

From all the photos I've seen of Malabar spinach, the problem isn't so much roots needing the space as the fact that the vine gets really prolific and can take over the trellis in no time flat. I planted my okra next to the square with the Malabar spinach since the okra won't get as tall and that will give the spinach a chance to be trained to the space the okra isn't using.

Keep in mind that the width of a plant can frequently tell you what the root structure width is...though with vines it's more difficult to tell. I think a Malabar Spinach will need a lot more than 6" sq for the root structure, perhaps as much as a full 12" sq, given how huge the plant can get.

Malabar spinach, being a tropical plant, is accustomed to growing in nutrient-poor soil. I'm waiting anxiously to see what planting it in MM will do for it. It's definitely gotten a very slow start, but after everything I've read I know it will take off pretty soon and I'll be having trouble controlling it's growth.

Mine has doubled it's height since our freak hailstorm and rainstorms of the past two days, going from about 2-1/2" to about 5". We have more rain in the forecast, and Malabar spinach loves wet feet, so I suspect it's decided now is the time to start growing fast. Kind of smart, really to grow when you have lots of water! What a Face

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  elliephant on 5/8/2012, 1:04 pm

@givvmistamps wrote:
Mine has doubled it's height since our freak hailstorm and rainstorms of the past two days, going from about 2-1/2" to about 5". We have more rain in the forecast, and Malabar spinach loves wet feet, so I suspect it's decided now is the time to start growing fast. Kind of smart, really to grow when you have lots of water! What a Face

Ooooooooooh! We've got rain in the forecast for the next three days (with the possibility of severe storms again, but let's ignore that part, shall we?) I can't wait to see how it responds!

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  jillintx on 7/31/2012, 10:25 am

I know that several people grew Malabar for the first time this year, and I was wondering how it did for everyone. I grew the green type. Mine is doing great even in our hot, dry summer. I have 3 plants, two are set up with drip irrigation and the third is in a root pot that I hand water. Everything is watered daily. The plants were started late, and probably are not getting their ideal amount of water, but they are still 5 to 7 feet tall, and have enough fullness to them for the small amount that we are eating of it. I have cooked it a couple of times, and definitely prefer the smaller leaves, and I remove the rib because it seems to be stringy. My Dad thought that the larger, more bitter leaves tasted like dandelions. When you trim a leaf off, several grow back in that location, so the plant continues to look good even with harvesting. So far I've just sauted it with a little bacon and either garlic or onion. I wouldn't say we love it...DH may not even say he likes it...but it's nice for a "menu change up" for us. I still want to try it cooked like greens, and possibly as a wrap for a sandwich. I keep telling DH that malabar is great - it can grow in the heat, and the chickens and insects are not bothering it! And he keeps saying "if nothing else eats it, why are you trying to feed it to me?" Laughing How was your experience?

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  walshevak on 7/31/2012, 5:16 pm

Mine (also green) was a real bust. Planted on 4/13, sprouted great but was only 3" high on July 7. Same seed at my son's house did the same and is still not growing much. Next year I'm planting the red variety.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  elliephant on 9/17/2012, 12:59 pm

I grew both the green and red this year. It was fun, but the only way I'll grow it again is as an ornamental. I'm really considering putting up a trellis in the flower bed out front and letting it go crazy. It would block the terrible afternoon sun that heats up our dining room.

I planted one seed of the green variety in March and had big, thick vines stretching 20 feet in either direction. I'd cut them off and they'd be back before I knew it.

I planted 3 seeds of the red variety (in one square) in May and am currently battling to get them off a trellis that is 6 feet tall and 10 feet long. It's filled about 5 feet of the width and has vines stretching out the whole length, as well as out behind the trellis and wrapping around the peppers in front of it.

Going to be quite a chore to get it all unwrapped and out of there. I have pureed lots of it and made ice cubes that I can sneak into various dishes, which is the best way to get greens into my little ones.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  Goosegirl on 9/17/2012, 2:22 pm

I tried growing the red this year but it was a bust - I planted it several months ago and it is just now about 8" tall. Had some bunny issues, some drought issues, some sun issues. I will plant it in a different spot next year and may even bring this one inside for a while since it is looking so cute and healthy now. I will have to build an indoor trellis for it.....

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 9/19/2012, 9:11 pm

Thank you for such a great subject. Now I'm adding red Malabar spinich to my seed order for next spring, but will start and keep it for first part of season in the greenhouse (like I did the okra this year). However, I plan to put it in a couple of 5-gallon pails filled with Mel's Mix so they can be moved out to trail up and over a couple of arched cattle panels. Wish me luck. Nonna

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/17/2014, 3:37 am

*bump*

We just talked about this recently, so it's nice to see some more info from the wayback machine.

After trying to germinate more than 20 seeds, I finally got one to sprout and put out an inch of seed leaves. Woo hoo!

I think some are sprouting in my sprout jar, but they are so slow to crack their seed coverings, and come out so timidly, that they are little to speak of, as well as few.

Only after all this fussing for weeks did I find out that scarification is sometimes recommended, as well as presoaking for a full day before transferring into a medium. Next time, I'm taking some sandpaper to the seed, or trying to pick through the tough cover with a fingernail if possible, or doing the long pre-soak thing, or some combination of the three.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  westie on 6/17/2014, 4:00 am

Have had better results with red than green and it taste far better to me also. I presoak the seeds and start them about 12 weeks before last frost date. It can be a bit temperamental to grow. The red is a tender warm loving crop native to Madagascar. The Green is grown abundantly in India.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

Post  elliephant on 6/17/2014, 1:22 pm

Two years later and I still have the red popping up randomly.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: Malabar Spinach

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