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Rotating to a Warm Season Green

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by digitS', Jul 9, 2017.

  1. Jul 9, 2017
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    My experiment with amaranth in 2016 was something of an embarrassment. (LINK) The plants were so tiny! I'm trying a different variety in 2017.

    IMG_20170709_115129.jpg
    I could just be happy with all the cabbage I will soon have. Chard is fairly new to me but it seems to be doing okay with the hot weather. I grow a little tired of the kale but, at least, there are several varieties of it this year.

    I don't think that there is too much reason to believe these "White Amaranth" plants won't be tiny things, also. The seed looks the same as what was sprinkled last year. Still, I'm encouraged by their obvious appreciation for high temperatures. You know, I have tried starting beet seed at this time of year and they failed to grow after the majority of the seed failed to sprout. (I wonder if chard seed would be different ...)

    If one of these amaranth varieties work, they can go into a summer rotation scheme. That's what I'm hoping for!

    Steve
     
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  2. Jul 10, 2017
    Zeedman

    Zeedman Deeply Rooted

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    One of the reasons I love chard is that you can plant it early or late, cool weather or warm... its not picky. I also appreciate that it has some substance to it when cooked, doesn't turn to slime like spinach. The stems also make a great cream soup, treated like celery.

    Amaranth, water spinach, Malabar spinach, Egyptian spinach, and New Zealand spinach are all productive hot-weather greens. I like amaranth, but there is enough growing wild here that I've never tried growing cultivated varieties... maybe they need to be started early indoors. I've considered growing amaranth for the grain, which I really like as part of my hot cereal mix.

    Egyptian spinach is very productive, but bland, and becomes mucilaginous when cooked. Ditto Malabar spinach, too much like purslane for my taste. @digitS' you would probably like water spinach, if you have not already tried it. New Zealand spinach might be a good fit for your location; while it is most known for its heat tolerance, it will also take a few frosts. The seeds are slow to germinate, so you would need to start them indoors.
     
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  3. Jul 10, 2017
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    So, you are saying that chard seed could be sown in the heat of summer? The plants lasted very well into summer and since it can take some cold, I am beginning to think that it might make an all-season green!

    There were a couple of seasons as a kid when I thought that I had about all the chard required for a lifetime. Really, it's those thick stems that I didn't like. Now, I'm becoming re-acquainted with chard.

    Spinach is one of the few greens that I prefer raw.

    You didn't paint a very pretty picture of Egyptian spinach, @Zeedman ! I grew Malabar spinach one year, giving it a good start in the hoophouse before pulling the plastic film off and allowing it to climb the hoops.

    New Zealand spinach: About 30 years ago when Dad and I shared his garden, Dad had New Zealand spinach almost take over his garden! I remember being a bit intimidated by it and don't remember being taken with its taste.

    Steve
     
  4. Jul 10, 2017
    Nyboy

    Nyboy Garden Master

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    Spinach in a butter sauce :drool:drool
     
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  5. Jul 10, 2017
    Zeedman

    Zeedman Deeply Rooted

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    I've planted it in July several times, which gets up to 80's-90's here. It comes up quickly, and doesn't seem to mind the heat, as long as you keep it watered. Personally, I like the stalks; I always chop some up (thinly) into the leaves, it gives the cooked greens a little extra body. I found that I like the creamed soup made from the stalks too; I just reverse the mix, adding a little of the leaves for color.

    Guess I didn't give a great impression of Egyptian spinach. The good thing is that it isn't bad eaten raw, which can't be said for most hot-weather greens. Just not much in the way of flavor. You can dry & powder the leaves to use as a soup thickener. Some of our Filipino friends are crazy about the stuff. The cooked green pairs up pretty well with fish.

    I notice that you didn't say what you thought about Malabar spinach... ?

    NZ spinach has a strong flavor & an unusual texture. I guess I would describe it as a cross between real spinach and lamb's quarter, if that makes any sense... OK, but not something I would eat every day.

    Steve, have you grown water spinach (kang kong) before? That is probably my favorite hot weather green, one of the treats I look forward to each year when the heat sets in. So is Moringa, but that is another story. :duc
     
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  6. Jul 11, 2017
    thistlebloom

    thistlebloom Garden Master

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    My chard got planted last week and is up now Steve. Well, it's the kids chard and they planted it, so I'm even more impressed that it's up. ;)
     
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  7. Jul 11, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    How about pak choi or bok choy? So vigorous it comes up like it's on crack, grows quickly in the cool or heat, doesn't bolt, supposed to taste like spinach on the tops and a little like celery on the stems. I've only used it raw in salads and LOVE it...I harvest mine at around 8 in. tall for excellent tenderness and sweetness. Supposed to be GREAT for stir fry.

    Will be growing some for winter crops this year.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.differencebetween.net/science/nature/differences-between-pak-choi-and-bok-choy/
     
  8. Jul 11, 2017
    ninnymary

    ninnymary Garden Master

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    Bee, I saute the bok choy in olive oil, add garlic, salt, and pepper. I've never had it raw.

    Mary
     
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  9. Jul 11, 2017
    thistlebloom

    thistlebloom Garden Master

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    I like bok choy raw also.
     
  10. Jul 11, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    I've never really liked cooked greens much, though some seem good in soups. Mostly I like them raw in a salad. I chose the pak choi because spinach bolts easily here, goes bad quickly after picking and we use celery in our salads but buying a whole bunch of celery for a few stalks in the salad, while the rest of the bunch tends to get a little stale before we can use it, seems a waste.

    The pak choi seemed the perfect solution and I'll likely grow it in every garden I have from now on. It's crisp, has a great flavor and has staying power...but my favorite thing about it is that it germinates like crazy and grows the same way.

    Will be planting it under tunnels again come August, though I'll plant it a little later than my romaines due to how quickly it germinates, grows and matures. This will be my winter harvest crops of greens.
     
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