New Zealand Spinach

Tetragonia tetragonioides
AIZOACEAE, The Ice Plant family

New Zealand Spinach

Originally uploaded by mulysa_may

A friend gave me a few starts of this old favorite of mine that I had forgotten. In Minnesota, where the weather seems to go from being frigid to boiling in a matter of days, spinach was a tricky thing to grow. All those cool weather crops that like lingering, cool-but-not-freezing days don’t have much of a window. But this plant, not really a spinach but a succulent ice-plant relative, thrives in hot weather. It can grow in poor or salty soil as long as it gets enough water… and it might be hardy in Portland.

It’s kind of a sprawling thing, with 1 – 2 inch leaves that can be harvested all summer. The stems get woody but it keeps sending out new leaves if you keep picking them. When I grew this in Minnesota, I was eating every different kind of sautéed veggies with pasta. My family’s favorite variation was nutty greens such as New Zealand spinach sautéed in olive oil with cherry tomatoes, walnuts and cubes of feta cheese over bow-tie pasta.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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