Brazilian Spinach thrives in the Brisbane summer

I put my allotment to bed for our long hot summer under a blanket of horse manure and a thick layer of mulch.

However, a small cutting of Brazilian Spinach (Poor Man’s Spinach) really took off.

This plant was a bit of a cutting gifted by another gardener. I had to give it a chance, so I stuck it into the ground at the beginning of summer – and it has spread and flourished despite the heat, weeks of drought, tropical downpours, and neglect. (It could have tapped into some of that horse manure of course!)

Brazilian Spinach is suitable for tropical and sub-tropical climates only, but it is great to have a member of the spinach family that will keep me in greens during the summer when other varieties have turned up their toes. This is how my plant looked this morning and I have been cutting at it for weeks now. The recent heavy rains gave it a burst of life.

IMG_5328 IMG_5331 IMG_5334

I noticed that the plant is already putting down fresh roots so if you are a Brisbane gardener and want a root of it – you are welcome. It would need to be collected from the farm. You can also propagate it by putting a cutting in a jar of water and it will sprout roots.

I add this spinach to soups, stir fries and frittata but I also wanted to try it in a pesto and this is a great recipe I found on the Yandina Community Gardens website.

Brazilian Spinach with Macadamia Nut Pesto

Ingredients:

Bunch of brazilian spinach leaves

1 cup basil leaves

3-4 large cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 cups macadamia nuts (I have also used walnut or cashews)

juice of half a lemon

Method:

Combine all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  If mixture is a bit thick, you can add a small amount of water, bit at a time, until it looks right.

Happy Gardening.

Pouring down and potting up at the allotment

After a dry spell we had a wonderful downpour at the allotment yesterday. It seems to me that one good drenching of rain will do more good in the garden than a couple of weeks of hand watering.

I have been potting up cuttings this week for the Morningside Fair being held on Sunday 29th July. Beelarong Community Farm where I keep my allotment has a stall there to promote the farm and to raise funds too. We sell plants that we raise ourselves and jams made from the fruit grown at the farm. Committee member Di works tirelessly to make this stall a success. I will be writing more about the Fair nearer to the time.

When I was at the allotment on Wednesday I pulled out a large Rosemary bush that was getting very woody making it hard to snip off pieces for my culinary needs, and taking up far too much room. So I am using the bush to start up new plants, one for myself and the rest for the Morningside Fair. This is one of them, looking pretty strong.

Rosemary cutting

Today I’m going to tackle the Brazilian Spinach. I grew this plant from a tiny cutting given to me by Lissa at our local Seed Savers meeting. But that too has rather taken over my tiny plot so I will be taking lots of cuttings from it.

This was the original plant after just a few weeks.

Brazilian Spinach

Now it’s like this – growing vigorously in a corner of my allotment, and I’ve been picking at it constantly.

Brazilian Spinach

I’ll pot up some cuttings for the Fair, but I also want to pot one up for Tatiana who leads our gardening group at New Farm Library. Brazilian Spinach grows vigorously in the sub-tropics where I live, but it seems to be one of those plants that you don’t see in nurseries. So there is a bit of an ‘underground movement’ in Brisbane to ensure it’s survival as we pass around snippets of the stuff.

Talking about survival.  Will you just look at this.  I will never understand Mother Nature. I planted lettuce seeds in the best potting mix weeks ago and after much cosseting up popped these tiny seedlings. (Look hard – they are there!)

Cos lettuce seedlings

Put that alongside this testosterone fuelled plant that is growing valiantly out of a dry brick wall outside my garage.

Happy gardening.

Monday afternoon at the allotment

It has been a beautiful day in Brisbane, 25 degrees, warm and sunny. The perfect day to work in the allotment. I prefer to go in the morning but there was a Labour Day March today which closed some of the roads until midday so I spent the morning at home baking  rye and caraway seed bread.  Very nice thank you with a dollop of my plum jam.  But I digress ….

I’ve been having a bit of trouble on the allotment with caterpillars getting to my lettuces before I do.  I don’t mind sharing – I was brought up properly – but I do want some left for myself.  So before I set off for the allotment I mixed up a special organic molasses and soap brew.  Check out  this link which will take you to Annette McFarlane’s website for the ‘recipe’. She is my guru as she lives in Brisbane so all of her gardening information is relevant to where I live.

Well, I had such a productive afternoon on my scrap of dirt.  Unlike yesterday, which was all sweat and tears.  The climbing frame that I struggled to try to get out of the ground yesterday shot up with a bit of a yank today and left me with a lovely clear bed ready for my new seeds – root vegetables.  I planted parsnips, carrots, beetroot and some organic swede seeds (try saying that when you’ve had a drink) my daughter-in-law had given me.

I sprayed Annette’s special brew over my lettuces, watered the little seedlings I planted yesterday, tied up my rampant cherry tomato plant (it’s taking over Brisbane) and got eaten alive by the midges.  I love Mother Nature. Why does she send me plagues and locusts!!

Before I left the allotment to go home I took a stroll around the farm as I usually do. I love it. It is so peaceful and I am so lucky to have found it. This is the community garden, and it’s surrounded by the allotments. The late afternoon was warm, balmy and just beautiful.

This is one of the gardens Dorothea has started on the edge of the farm, and surrounding my allotment.

I’ll be eating veggies and herbs from my little plot with my dinner tonight. And that’s what it’s all about folks.

Happy gardening.

Brazilian Spinach recipe with potatoes

I found an interesting recipe for Brazilian spinach today from the Vera Street Community Garden in Toowong, Brisbane.

If you have Brazilian spinach growing in your garden or allotment, you might want to try Indian potatoes & spinach.

Brazilian spinach still going strong

For Kim. Here is the Brazilian Spinach still growing strong after a long hot summer in Brisbane with hardly any attention from me. So many green leafed veggies seem to struggle through our summer but this one revels in the heat and humidity. I’ll be propagating from this plant for the Morningside Fair in July. I’ll use it as a fund-raiser for Beelarong. I am told you just break off a stem, stick it into the ground, and ‘voila’ – new plant!

You might also be interested in this link to Clare Richard’s blog of Tropical Cuisine fame.

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Sustainable Gardening in our Continually Surprising Climate

The Power of Thrift

and other ramblings

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could do worse

adventures in London

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Allotment, garden and daytrips

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