We grow tetragonia in the garden – New Zealand spinach
If you love spinach, but instead of juicy leaves in the beds, arrows with flowers flaunt every year, plant New Zealand spinach. At first glance, this plant has nothing to do with the usual spinach for everyone. It even looks different, but once you taste it, you will immediately feel the familiar taste. And the bushes have an unpretentious character and rapid growth, retaining their taste to the last. These characteristics make New Zealand spinach a welcome guest not only on the table, but also in the garden beds. What does the culture look like, how it differs from traditional spinach and how to grow it?
In fact, New Zealand spinach is not a variety, but a separate annual crop from the crystal family. And it is called – tetragonia, which from Greek means “quadrangular”. This is the shape of its fruits, that is, seeds.
Description of the plant
As already mentioned, New Zealand spinach differs from regular spinach, namely:
- In traditional spinach, the bush is a squat, lush rosette of succulent leaves. And New Zealand grows in the form of a branchy bush, quite tall.
- If the time for collecting spinach is spring, before the onset of flowering, then tetragony increases the maximum deciduous mass by summer.
- Spinach in hot summer goes into the arrow, and tetragonia begins to bloom only in the middle of summer. Moreover, even during flowering, which lasts until October, the petioles and leaves do not lose their juiciness..
- Tetragonia very quickly grows new long shoots instead of cut ones, which exceeds the yield of spinach.
The leaves of tetragonia are in the form of a rhombus, thick and fleshy, with a jagged edge. They grow in a spiral on a branchy shoot that has a red tint. Very interesting and the seeds of the plant, similar to closed bells, inside which there are seeds.
Tetragonia is considered an early crop: no more than 2 months pass from sowing to harvest..
New Zealand spinach – cultivation features
One of the features of the plant is that the seeds are safely hidden under a strong shell. This makes it difficult for them to germinate, so rub the seeds with sandpaper before sowing. In general, spinach reproduces best by self-seeding. It is enough to grow the seedlings once, plant them in the garden, and every year you will have fresh greens.
If the plant sows by itself, do not leave all seedlings. There will be a lot of them, which will lead to thickening. When breaking through a bed, use seedlings for propagation.
Growing New Zealand spinach is as follows:
- The culture can grow both in the sun and in partial shade.
- Dig the soil deep before planting – the roots require air.
- Fertilize poor soil with mineral fertilizers before digging and compost. In clay, add river sand and rotted sawdust.
- Tetragonia does not tolerate frost, therefore, it is better to sow seeds in a seedling way. Plant on the garden no earlier than the end of May..
- When planting between bushes, leave at least 40 cm, and at least 50 cm between rows.Tetragonia actively branches.
- Bushes are demanding on moisture, so water the beds regularly. If the soil is dry, the leaves become coarse..
- Pinch the tops of the bushes when they are 12cm to induce branching.
Remove tetragonia leaves and stems at least once a week. And then fresh juicy greens will always be on your table..