I’m a perpetual spinach bore. I could talk about this leafy green until the cow’s come home. Harvesting last night, I realised I’ve blogged about it several times before, but never brought all the interesting perpetual spinach quirks and qualities together.
So, ladies and gentlemen, here are 8 things you might or might not know about perpetual spinach.
1. Perpetual spinach isn’t actually spinach, but a type of chard. It is very similar to spinach but has a slightly earthier taste.
2. Perpetual spinach is incredibly long-lasting and will be on the plot for 9 months before going to seed.
Time sowings well, and you can be harvesting perpetual spinach all year round. The seeds can be sown as early as March and as late as August, which will provide harvests during both summer and winter.
Later sowings undercover will do well too.
3. Keeping picking the leaves! One of the best things about perpetual spinach is that it is a cut and come again vegetable. The more you pick, the more the roots produce.
4. I don’t tend to thin my rows, but if you do, replant the thinnings. With regular watering, they’ll establish quickly and redouble your crop.
5. You could consider putting the seedlings into containers. Perpetual spinach is a great container vegetable and shade tolerant, making it perfect for small spaces, patios, and balconies.
An extra container sowing is also great for salad leaves. Pick them when they’re young and tender to bulk up salads all year round.
6. During the warmer months, perpetual spinach grows at an incredibly speedy rate. I’ve sown in late spring before and harvested 5 weeks later.
7. I love the versatility of perpetual spinach too. A big handful of leaves can be used as part of a pizza topping or folded into curries, pies, pasta, tarts, and quiches. We add leaves to many meals at the last minute, either steamed in the pan or blanched briefly first.
Sometimes though, this wholesome vegetable needs to take the limelight, rather than being a supporting act. This calls for spanakopita, a Greek dish where the spinach is sandwiched in pastry with feta cheese. Quick, easy and delicious, and a favourite in my house.
Don’t waste the stems in dishes either – they can be eaten too and go well in curries.
8. There is something else about perpetual spinach though – its that permanency, like the leaves, are a loyal companion who sticks by you when everything else is lost. Winter into early spring is a dry time on an allotment. The ground is bare, but the goo old chards just keep going, adding colour to a plot when there is very little else.
The healthy, brave leaves are a welcome reminder of the more productive days ahead.
Thanks, perpetual spinach, you’re a star.