Saturday, November 29, 2014

In Denver I grew several kinds of chenopods effortlessly for 15 years, and they reseeded freely....my twelve years back in Tampa all my efforts with several kinds, both winter and summer have utterly failed. Thankfully I tried Magenta Spreen once again with seeds I got at ROOTS in St. Pete...one seedling emerged in that back porch Water Wise Container Garden. It sulked and barely grew, even after I gave it fish fertilizer. But once I started peeing on the soil it took off! Today it is approx. 8 feet tall and making vast numbers of buds and blooms on the terminal tips of branches, so today I snipped off a few to dry indoors in a tub to see if there are viable seeds yet (I suspect that they are too green). Two gardeners near Gainesville tell me that up there Magenta Spreen self sows wildly, almost a weed but they love the taste and texture (it is related to spinach so the taste and texture are very similar raw or cooked)...their's froze to death some time ago. A woman I know in Missouri says the same thing, that hers too reach 8-10 each summer....she no longer even bothers to grow spinach. The leaves are biggest and most tender and most magenta when the plants are 3-4 feet tall...later on the new leaves are quite small and green as the plant (an annual) prepares to set seeds. The two guys pulls up surplus seedlings to feed the chickens...she immerses hers in water for several days to make a potent liquid fertilizer. Here in Florida it definitely prefers summer. All three folks tell me to expect about 750 million seedlings to emerge in my kitchen garden next summer, but that they pull up easily. I added some leaves to salads, other times I cooked them in water with salt and coconut oil 10-15 minutes to serve as a side dish...just about identical to fresh spinach. I expect to harvest a LOT of seeds and would love to share some. I plan on doing a bulk sowing in the back yard center food forest plus maybe the big southeast bed. So funny that just when I'd given up growing chenopods in Tampa I'd get raging success! I never grew it in Denver. John