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Spinach, New Zealand

 Spinach, New Zealand

Heirloom. Organic. New Zealand spinach is a leaf green plant that grows well in the heat of summer when regular spinach is struggling to survive. The flavor and texture are similar to regular spinach so giving spinach lover a steady year round supply. New Zealand Spinach is a low-growing leafy plant that can spread several feet wide and grow to one foot  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 long New Zealand Spinach is a warm season Perennial. It's often used as an excellent alternative to regular Spinach, because it does so well in hot, dry conditions. It is vine-like and produces abundant fleshy, brittle green leaves and young stem tips. This New Zealand Spinach resembles regular Spinach in flavor and use. It can be grown until frost, and in subtropical areas, all year long. They can have problems germinating so treating them as extra-long germinating seeds will help. Plant after all danger of frost has passed. Although New Zealand Spinach is drought tolerant, it should be watered consistently for best flavor. Leaves should be harvested regularly to encourage new growth. The leaves and tips can be used raw or cooked... I like to blanch them in water and dump the water a couple times.

Planting New Zealand Spinach

While starting seeds of the New Zealand Spinach is not necessarily difficult, the right conditions will make the process successful. Sow New Zealand Spinach seeds directly in the ground in the spring when the threat of frost has passed or start in containers several weeks before transplanting into soil. Keep the ground moist but not wet for the first couple of weeks. Pick a sunny, well-drained spot for planting for the best performance. Prefers a well-drained fertile soil in a sunny position.  Heirloom / Open Pollinated New Zealand Spinach are cool weather loving plants that prefer well drained loose soil and an even amount of water. Plant heirloom New Zealand Spinach in rows or hills but make sure the soil is well warmed. In cooler climates, you can start New Zealand Spinach seeds indoors 2-4 wks. before last frost to extend the growing season.

  Height: 12 inch Plants—Will spread wide and grow together   Spacing: 2-3" inches, thin to 3” if necessary

Spacing between rows—18-24”

Depth: 1/4  inch Germination: 15-20 days—keep moist for entire time or you may not have success

Starting from Seed Indoors. Generally, the time to start your seeds is about 2-3 weeks before the last expected spring frost date in your area, planting the seedlings outdoors about 2 weeks after that date. Another way to figure is to plan on setting out sturdy seedlings in the garden when night temperatures stay in the mid-50 degree range both day and night. Count back and sow seeds 2 to 3 weeks before that date normally arrives. Place a few seeds (3 to 5) into each pot and push them into the soil with your finger. Cover the seeds to a depth of approximately 1/4 inches of the potting mix. Mist each  pot with water until the soil appears moist. Place the pots in an area which will provide both light (which is required for germination) and heat, preferably about 65 to 70 degrees F and at least 8 hours of light each day. Check on the seeds every day and keep the seeds damp but not drenched by misting with your plant mister. You should see sprouting in about 15 to 20 days. Once your seedlings have reached about 4 to 6 inches in height, choose an area in your garden to transfer them. Water each seedling carefully so as not to soak the leaves or stem.

Direct-seeding into the Garden.Turn over the area you've selected to a depth of approximately 1/2 inches. Rake the area until it's level and smooth. Water the area until the soil is damp but not saturated. Scatter the seeds in a row. Gently rake the area to distribute the seeds further and protect them from birds. Or, press the seeds into the soil and cover with no more than 1/4 inches of soil. You can also place 1 to 2 seeds every  to 2-3 inches in rows approximately 18-24 inches apart, and cover seeds with 1/4 inches of soil. Place planting stakes around the area so you will know where to water. Check on your seeds about once a day. Make sure to mist the soil whenever it appears dry. Germination for the Spinach plants is approximately 15  to 20 days, depending on the warmth of the soil.   

Germination Problems

Growing plants from seeds successfully depends on a lot of factors and this makes it impossible to guarantee success on every batch of seeds planted.  Factors include, soil composition, PH, temperature, moisture levels, seed depth, soil density, seed viability, seed storage and many others.  We tested the germination of all our seeds and this seed variety is around 80%, but your results may vary based on exactly how you plant and all the environmental factors.  Good luck.