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summer greens

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summer greens

Post  has55 on 6/6/2014, 12:59 am

trying to find the names of greens that like the summer or can tolerate it here in texas, like purslane plant. can anyone share their ideas?

Austin

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Re: summer greens

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/6/2014, 1:58 am

I'm trying to grow malabar spinach this year, which supposedly loves heat, growing naturally in the tropics and parts of Asia.

I've read that New Zealand spinach has a great flavor, and Territorial Seed's catalog recommends it for summer growing. However, one of Territorial's own people told me that New Zealand's summer weather is on the whole pretty much like mine, and NZ spinach might not do as well in our summers as I might hope.

So, malabar it is, and I hope to find more leafy greens. I'll be interested to see what others might suggest.

Oh also, perilla/red shiso is one I'm growing. It supposedly does well in the heat too. I've read it has a strong, but not bitter like arugula, flavor. The red is supposed to be the milder one. We'll see.

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Re: summer greens

Post  walshevak on 6/6/2014, 6:50 am

Malibar spinach grows wild in the hot Philippines and did ok here in zone 8 NC.  I had trouble getting it started, but my neighbor had no trouble at all.  My neighbors kept their two containers in the garage over the winter and it leafed back out the next spring.  It was a fairly mild winter that year - down to below freezing but not for long. 

Chard can take the heat as can collards as a cut and come again.  I can keep kale going all through the summer and when fall came a light frost makes it taste even better.  All can take a mild winter - upper 20s and leaf back out early in the spring while you are waiting for your new crop to get big enough to eat.

Kay

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summer greens

Post  GloriaG on 6/6/2014, 6:55 pm

Hi Austin,

If you want to run by I can give you some Red Malabar spinach transplants and some New Zealand spinach transplants.  Both are self-seeding, so once they're in they come back every year. 

I also have some mache-verte d'etampes which grows perennially.  I can give you a clump if we can get it up or some seeds if not.

Gloria

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Re: summer greens

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/7/2014, 1:24 am

Kay reminded me -- I got, from Territorial Seeds, something called "perpetual chard" that is supposed to be able to go year-round. I've got less than a dozen in the ground now, but am going to germinate and plant more every month in an attempt to turn it into a reliable summer and over-wintering leaf crop.

I've tasted some really bitter summer chard before, so I hope this kind doesn't just survive, but also tastes good.

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Re: summer greens

Post  has55 on 6/7/2014, 6:44 am

@GloriaG wrote:Hi Austin,

If you want to run by I can give you some Red Malabar spinach transplants and some New Zealand spinach transplants.  Both are self-seeding, so once they're in they come back every year. 

I also have some mache-verte d'etampes which grows perennially.  I can give you a clump if we can get it up or some seeds if not.

Gloria
thank you Gloria. I'll do that next week when I'm back in town. I forgot to mention I'm doing fine with swiss chard. I will try kale and the ones suggested here. Gloria, how are your malabar and New Zealand spinach doing? did you plant any last year?

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Re: summer greens

Post  has55 on 6/7/2014, 11:49 am

thanks everyone for your input.

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summer greens

Post  GloriaG on 6/7/2014, 12:37 pm

Here's the Red Malabar spinach trellises at the end of the season last year when it was starting to go to seed. This year's crop is about 8" tall so it's just grabbing onto the trellises.



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Re: summer greens

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/7/2014, 2:55 pm

Wow, Gloria, that looks wonderful. Do you find it tends to germinate and grow later in the season? Mine being so reluctant and all ... maybe our nights in the 50's are still too early, even though are days are nearing 90? What's your experience on that, and do you have any general growing tips? Red malabar is the same type I have.

More questions:

1. Also, yours are so full ... do the plants stay so lush if you pick them regularly, or do they quickly become a bunch of stringy, empty vines?

2. Do you "top" them by clipping off the lead vine, if there is one? Or just let it grow as much as it likes?

3. How many plants are there in your picture? How far do you think they should be spaced for best productivity, including if you don't really care how it looks?

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Re: summer greens

Post  nurzemjd on 6/7/2014, 4:07 pm

Thank you for posting this!  I did not know you could get spinach to grow up a trellis like that.  We love fresh spinach, but never seem to have enough, getting it to grow up may just be the ticket!!

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summer greens

Post  GloriaG on 6/7/2014, 4:45 pm

Hi Marc and nurzemjd,

Here's a little info about Red Malabar spinach.

First - basella rubra, aka Red Malabar spinach  not a "true" spinach.  It is a vining plant from Asia and Africa.  For those who haven't tried it, both the leaves and young stems are great in salads, or cooked.  It has a mild flavor that's a little different than regular spinach.  We like it in quiche in lieu of regular spinach. 

It LOVES hot weather and only starts coming up in our area in late May when temperatures reach the high 80's.  Night temps of 50 will slow it's growth so perhaps you could cover in the evenings if you want faster production.  In the fall, it "dies back" to the ground, but comes up from dropped seed again the next year.  I planted the original plant on those trellises in 2010.  It survives our 14 degree winters just fine. 

The photo I posted shows 4 plants - two on each of the trellises. My trellises are about 20" wide with one plant on each edge of the trellis, so I guess that's OK spacing. 

I trim it regularly for salads starting as soon as there are 6 leaves.  To trim when it's larger, I cut small tender leaves plus about 2-3 feet off the ends of the vines about once a week. Trimming makes the plants more manageable and does not make the stems appear empty and stringy.  BTW this is a branching vine so it doesn't really have a "lead" vine. 

It seems to like a lot of water - perhaps because the stems are so succulent. But other than than, I don't do anything special for it.  It's really one of the lowest maintenance plants in my garden - I don't have to plant seed and can pick standing up - yeah!!!

Hope this helps,
Gloria

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Re: summer greens

Post  boffer on 6/7/2014, 4:55 pm

Gloria, you've convinced me to try them next year! I think I'll try a pot in my greenhouse and some outside.

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Re: summer greens

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/8/2014, 1:44 am

@GloriaG wrote:
It seems to like a lot of water - perhaps because the stems are so succulent. But other than than, I don't do anything special for it.  It's really one of the lowest maintenance plants in my garden - I don't have to plant seed and can pick standing up - yeah!!!

Hope this helps,
Gloria

Absolutely! Thanks a ton. Plus, the low-maintenance aspect of it makes it sound all the better.

I'll definitely replant some seed once the nights get a little warmer.

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Re: summer greens

Post  walshevak on 6/8/2014, 11:13 am

@Marc Iverson wrote:
@GloriaG wrote:
It seems to like a lot of water - perhaps because the stems are so succulent. But other than than, I don't do anything special for it.  It's really one of the lowest maintenance plants in my garden - I don't have to plant seed and can pick standing up - yeah!!!

Hope this helps,
Gloria

Absolutely!  Thanks a ton.  Plus, the low-maintenance aspect of it makes it sound all the better.  

I'll definitely replant some seed once the nights get a little warmer.
+1 on the water.  In the Philippines they grow this next to a boggy area or a ditch bank.  

Kay

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