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Malabar sprouts - finally!

By Penny Stine



Because both like warm soil and hot weather, I planted my pole beans and malabar spinach on the same day, which I'm guessing was May 25.I planted both on this trellis, and as you can see, the pole beans are looking good.


It took so long for the malabar spinach to sprout that I ordered another packet of seeds from Park Seed and re-planted.
A week or two ago, I saw something sprouting under a different trellis where I had also planted malabar spinach and took a photo of it. I posted it and said it might be malabar spinach.


Well... it's not. As far as I can tell, it's pigweed, which is the weedy/wild form of amaranth. As you can see, I've also got lots of grass growing in this particular bed. 

Although I've been experimenting with amaranth and eating it in my breakfast smoothies, I don't think I'll start eating pigweed. Although it does grow everywhere... under any condition. 





I do see these sprouting in most of the areas where I initially planted malabar (and then replanted two weeks later). I have no idea if the initial seeds I planted finally sprouted or if it took that second planting to make them come up. 

In all the online sites I've turned to for information, they've cautioned that malabar germinates easily and can be invasive, often returning year after year. Another site said that seeds germinate better if they've been stratified (which is a fancy term that means simulating the natural process of getting cold, perhaps even freezing and then thawing before sprouting) or soaked overnight in water, which I did before I planted the second time.
Malabar is native to the tropics, however, which means that the seeds that fall to the ground don't freeze. They do, however, get thoroughly soaked by lots of rain, so maybe soaking was the trick. We'll see if it takes off and grows like the photos I've seen. I'm hoping it will, since summer is just beginning and we've still got months of hot weather! 

I'm also hoping it doesn't taste like New Zealand spinach, which I tried 10 years ago and did not like. At all. And I like (almost) everything when it come to food!


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