Strawberry spinach can be considered, of course, not as the main plant of your site, but rather as an additional one - unusual and interesting, and even edible and useful. Strawberry spinach can provide you with vitamin A, minerals and biologically active compounds that are essential for the normal functioning of the human body.
The homeland of strawberry spinach is considered to be North America, where it grows in its natural habitat literally throughout the north of this continent, where it can often be found on open foothill massifs, as well as in the mountains.
Botanical naming of strawberry spinach (Chenopodium capitatum) in a literal translation it means "head marsh", well, and the popular name is "strawberry sticks". Belongs to the Haze family.
This plant is an annual, most popular in New Zealand, Canada, slightly less in Alaska and even less in Europe. In these countries, it is also found in natural plantations, usually sandstones and limestones, but very often strawberry spinach can also be found in mountain valleys, rich in moisture, in rare forests and, of course, on the plains.
Strawberry spinach grows very quickly and is considered a leafy vegetable.
Young leaf blades of strawberry spinach can be consumed both fresh and processed. Strawberry spinach stalks, as well as leaf blades, have a pleasant aroma and rich green color. The shape of the leaf blades is wedge-shaped at the base, triangular at the tips, the rosettes are open. The structure of the leaf blades resembles that of soft spinach, therefore, drawing parallels, we can say that you need to eat strawberry spinach leaves fresh, you can also store it, but no more than a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Taste is described in a standard way - the taste is like spinach, but lighter and sweeter. You should know that you need to use strawberry spinach leaves in moderation, in large quantities they can even cause mild poisoning.
Recipes with strawberry spinach:
- Strawberry spinach jam
- Kvass from strawberry spinach
- Casserole salad with strawberry spinach and olives
Strawberry spinach stalks are also eaten, they are very tasty, whitish marble, crispy, sweetish and have a beetroot flavor. They are also used fresh in food or added to various types of processing.
The flowers are quite attractive, they are spherical, rich scarlet, arranged in oval inflorescences and are usually found in the buds located at the maximum height.
Forms this plant and berry-like fruit, when fully ripe, they become scarlet, contain many seeds, have a sweetish taste and aroma, which includes notes of strawberries and hazelnuts. The pulp of the berries is bright red. In berries, as in leaf blades, there are many vitamins with a predominance of vitamin A and ascorbic acid, thiamine, potassium, folic acid and lutein are present. Berries are very often used by the inhabitants of the American continent as a natural dye, both for coloring food, and for coloring the skin and the like.
The glomeruli, falling off, enrich the soil with strawberry spinach seeds, and then it sprouts very actively, occupying more and more territories. Therefore, if you do not want to get plants from self-seeding, then the berries will need to be picked. Harvested, fully ripe berries can be added to salads, but caution is also needed here - the seeds, like leaf blades, contain saponins, which, when consumed in large quantities, can cause poisoning.In addition, there is a lot of oxalic acid in shoots, leaf blades and berries, and it disrupts the full flow of digestive processes and can cause heartburn, especially in people suffering from high acidity of gastric juice.
Growing strawberry spinach
Strawberry spinach is a fast-growing plant with nutritional, medicinal and decorative qualities. It grows best on soil with plenty of moisture and light. Prefers drained soils, where it can reach a height of almost a meter, but usually rarely exceeds 40 cm.
The plant does not require any complex agrotechnical methods, everything is standard - watering, loosening the soil, feeding at the beginning of the growing season with nitroammophos, in the amount of a tablespoon without a slide, dissolved in a bucket of water, in terms of 1 m2 of the garden.
If you are a resident of the southern region, then spinach can be propagated by sowing seeds in the ground, but if in the center of the country or slightly to the north, then it is advisable to first grow seedlings from seeds.
Sowing seeds for seedlings... Before sowing, it is advisable to place the seeds in a damp cloth soaked in Epin or Heteroauxin overnight. Sowing seeds for the sake of obtaining seedlings can be carried out at the end of February or early March. In containers filled with loose and nutritious soil, seeds are sown, seeding them to a depth of about 1.5 cm. In this case, the soil should be warmed up to a temperature from +10 to + 15 ... + 17оС - this is the optimum temperature for seed germination.
After sowing, you need to pour water at room temperature from a spray bottle, cover the container with a transparent film and put it on the southern windowsill - ideally, the one under which the heating radiator is located, before shoots appear. After the emergence of seedlings, the film must be removed, in the future, the soil must be kept in a slightly damp state, the temperature in the room is at + 22 ° C, and the duration of daylight hours, thanks to the use of additional lighting lamps, is artificially increased to 8 hours.
Usually, seedlings appear 2 weeks after sowing the seeds, and when they reach a height of 18-22 cm and a pair of true leaf blades are formed, the seedlings can be planted in a permanent place in the ground, of course, if the soil has time to warm up to + 10 ... + 12 ° C, and the air - up to + 15 ... + 18оС, which is usually observed in mid-May.
As a rule, 70-75 days pass from sowing seeds to planting seedlings in the ground, sometimes a little more, sometimes less. You should know that strawberry spinach does not tolerate transplanting quite well, especially if the roots are damaged, therefore, it is advisable to sow the seeds immediately into peat-humus pots filled with a nutrient mixture. They are planted with the plants in the ground, the pots decompose in the soil and serve as additional food for the spinach plants.
After a couple of months or a little less from the moment of planting the seedlings, you can collect the first harvest of berries, a month earlier - leaves and shoots.
Sowing before winter... Sowing seeds to speed up the start of harvesting can be done in the fall, that is, before winter. The seeding depth in this case is about 2 cm, a layer of straw 15-20 cm thick should be poured over the soil.
Harvest... When sowing seeds in spring, usually this is the very beginning of May (planting depth 1.5 cm), it will be possible to harvest from the end of June - shoots and leaves, and in August - berries.
You can collect seeds for planting before winter or next year in spring in September, when they are fully ripe.