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Forgotten vegetable: the tree spinach

  1. Tree spinach (or Chenopodium Giganteum in Latin) is a large annual leafy vegetable. In good conditions, the plant can reach a height of two to three meters. This plant used to be cultivated a lot, also in Western Europe and the Low Countries. The plant requires little care and attention, but is still very nutritious.


  1. March and April are the ideal months to germinate the first seeds (indoors or under glass). A month later, your plants should be normally large and strong enough to be planted in your garden or transplanted into a larger pot. You can then harvest the first young leaves for salads by the end of April or the beginning of May. You can sow this strong, fast grower several times in one season, so that you can always harvest the soft, fresh young leaves. So you can still sow the tree spinach in June, July or early August to be able to harvest the young, fresh leaves (but your plant will of course no longer be a mastodon of two meters or more).

In the (vegetable) garden

  1. Originally, the tree spinach is said to have come from mountain ranges in India. But the plant grows very easily in Western Europe and also propagates easily here. The adult tree spinach self-sows, so sowing it once allows you to enjoy deliciously fresh tree spinach for many years in a row. If you do not want the tree spinach to self-seed (and perhaps take up a larger part of your garden than you want) it is best to grow the plant in a (large) pot. When the plant shoots through and flowers / seed lists develop, you must remove them in time so that no ripe seeds end up in the soil around the pot to prevent easy reproduction. Normally the tree spinach develops flowers between July and September, and the seeds ripen between August and October. The plant sows itself easily because the flowers are ambiguous, and they fertilize themselves under the influence of the wind.


  1. Harvesting is very easy: you can harvest the plant as a whole when it is about thirty centimeters high, or wait patiently until it grows even bigger and when you need it, you can harvest some older leaves. The young leaves are fresh and soft and are easy to use in salads. They taste a bit like regular spinach with a hint of asparagus flavor. The larger, older leaves are tougher. It is therefore best to process it by mixing it through the soup, for example.

Eat tree spinach

  1. The tree spinach is very rich in various vitamins (including A and C) and minerals such as iron and calcium. So every now and then some sapling leaves in your salad or a tree spinach soup are certainly an enrichment for a healthy and varied diet, and it takes almost no effort to pick it fresh from your own garden.

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