A different spin on spinach

When the weather gets warm, most spinach is spent. But there's a crop of interesting imitators that thrive in heat. And like spinach, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients.

  • New Zealand spinach tastes like spinach and can be cooked or used fresh in salads. It has thick, bright-green 4-inch leaves.
  • Red Malabar spinach also has a spinach-like flavor. It is a climber, with vines 8 feet or longer, so it is best grown on a trellis. It is highly ornamental, with striking red vines and stems, and the thick, tasty leaves are also veined in red.
  • Strawberry spinach, also called beetberry, has light-green, thin, triangular leaves. The plants, which grow about 12–18 inches tall, also bear tiny, edible fruits that resemble strawberries.

If you can't locate these seed selections on the shelves, search for mail-order sources online.

 

Hort shorts

  • Plant a Row for the Hungry is a campaign to encourage gardeners to share their bounty with local food banks, soup kitchens and service organizations. Since 1995, American gardeners have donated more than 14 million pounds of herbs and vegetables to feed the hungry in local neighborhoods and communities. For information on participating, call 1-877-492-2727, or visit www.gardenwriters.org
  • We're accustomed to seeing hummingbirds sipping nectar from sun-loving flowers. But these birds will also dine in the shade on annual flowers like impatiens. They especially like the orange-flowered native impatiens known as jewelweed or spotted touch-me-not.

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