One of my favourite greens in my kitchen garden is spinach beet because it is so easy to grow! It is a fail safe way to begin your journey into growing your own food, especially if you have never tried it before. I love spinach beet as it is produces lots of leaves and does not mind the cooler weather.
All you need is a packet of spinach seeds, a container or a planter and some good compost. If you have a small garden with some good soil in it, even better. I simply follow the instructions on the packet as they will guide you in how deep to plant the seeds; spinach seeds are pretty resilient so they will not mind if they are planted slightly deeper or shallower. If you are using a pot you can keep it outdoors or indoors on a bright windowsill. I tend to start them off indoors in early spring so that as the weather gets a little warmer, I can transplant them outdoors.
Within a week or two depending on the time of the year , you will see a pair of baby leaves appearing. If you have planted them very close together, then thin them out by pulling out some of the seedlings. Sounds harsh but this will allow the remaining plants to establish well and give a healthy growth.
Spinach beet loves the sunshine but position your pots or plant in raised beds where it is not too sunny – part shaded is best especially if they can have the morning sun only. If they get too hot, the plants will go to seed or bolt and this will stop them producing spinach leaves.
Leaves are ready to pick as soon as they are the size seen in the picture above. The more regularly the leaves are picked, the healthier the plants will be. Of course, it goes without saying that do leave a few smaller leaves to develop for the plants to survive.
Spinach is so easy to use and so good for you nutritionally as praised by Jo Lewin, an associate nutritionist for BBC Good Food.
I love adding these freshly harvested leaves to my salad, in place of herbs in my falafel or as lightly wilted greens to accompany my main meal … my daughter favours it in her smoothies!