Sunday, 29 May 2016

Amazing Edible Greens: Okinawa Spinach

I added another great green to my garden today - Okinawa Spinach (Gynura crepioides).

I was given a cutting from the lovely community gardeners at Mitchelton Library. I was doing a presentation there about permaculture gardening as part of the Brisbane City Council Sustainable Living series and delighted in finding this beautiful little food forest at the entrance.

Some of the Mitchelton Community Gardeners holding the cutting of Okinawa Spinach I now have in my garden. They meet at the gardens in front of the Mitchelton Library every Saturday morning and they welcome new gardeners.


Okinawa Spinach will join the wonderful array of hardy perennial greens I have growing in my garden. I love these edible leafy greens. I eat a wide range of them every day.


The attractive leaves of the Okinawa Spinach (image source: edibleplantproject.org)

Okinawa Spinach is a really attractive perennial leafy green. It has shiny dark green leaves that are purple underneath. It's a dense little bush that responds well to regular pruning (harvesting) but can grow up to 70cms. It's hardy and relatively pest-free and propagates easily from cuttings.

The nutritious leaves can be used raw in salads or cooked in soup, stirfry, quiche and many other dishes that spinach would be used. It can be steamed, used in tempura too. It's recommended to not overcook the leaves as they can become slimy. The youngest leaves have the nicest flavour.

It is super easy to grow in the tropics and subtropics. It can be grown in full sun or partial shade. Great as a ground cover around fruit trees. Likes being in a fertile mulched bed that received adequate water.

It grows well in containers, hanging pots and window boxes.

The edible leafy green Okinawa Spinach makes is also an attractive landscape plant.

Other hardy perennial greens

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to feature a number of other edible perennials I have in my garden. Here's some of my favourites including:

Brazilian Spinach
Surinam Spinach
Cranberry Hibiscus (well this is not green, but...)
Hibiscus Spinach
Cassava
Sweet Potato leaves and growing tips
Pumpkin vine leaves and growing tips
Sorrell
Perennial Welsh Onions
Society Garlic
Kang Kong

And self-seeding annuals such as:
Red Mustard Spinach
Green Mustard Spinach
Coriander





2 comments:

  1. This is one of our local libraries and I love going there for the books ... and the garden! I wrote about it here: http://ahopefulnature.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/a-library-and-garden.html

    I got some Egyptian spinach from the little Northey Street nursery earlier this season and it's growing well. We can now pick little handfuls of it's serrated leaves for omelettes in the morning. Yum! I think I will source some of the perennials you've listed too! Thanks for the list! Meg:)

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  2. You can buy Okinawa Spinach as well as Brazilian Spinach, Surinam Spinach, Cranberry Hibiscus, Cassava, Sorrel, and Kang Kong at Yandina Community Gardens for $2 a pot!

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