Primarily grown for it’s spinach-green, triangular leaves, which can be eaten raw or cooked. Both the leaves and berries can be used in salad. Berrries are low acid/pleasantly sweet, but insipid compared to a real fruit. Tolerates heat well and is often used as a summertime spinach-replacement. Centuries old heirloom.
- Species:Chenopodium capitatum (aka Beetberry, Strawberry Blite, Miniature dwarf bearded iris, Strawberry Sticks)
- Sow Seed: 1/2 in./13 mm deep
- Germination: A few days
- Maturity: 47 Days
- Size: 60 cm. Likely to block light: Unknown
- Available in Seed Kit: No
- Aerogarden Compatibility: Not Compatible
Online research reveals several attempts to grow spinach in the Aerogarden. Due to it's inability to handle heat, it does not appear to be compatible with the Aerogarden.
Cultivation and Care
Spinach is a fast growing, cool weather crop. Seed germinates in cold ground and prefers soil temps. of 38 to 40F (3 - 4C) for maximum results. Good emergence can also be obtained at between 50 and 60F (10 and 16C). At soil temps. of over 65F/18C. you will get faster sprouting - but a sharp decrease in germination. Spinach will bolt to seed during long day length and warm weather conditions.
Spinach likes a fertile, moist, well drained soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.5.
HARVEST: Spinach is quick growing - cut young leaves at 1/2 in./13 mm above ground level about 45 days after seeding.
FREEZING: Use tender young leaves, wash thoroughly, blanch for 1 1/2 min. Cool, pack, drain and freeze.
Edible Parts: Fruit; Leaves; Seed. Edible Uses: Colouring.
Leaves - raw or cooked. Used like spinach, they are a good source of vitamins C and A. The young leaves are best. The raw leaves have been used in salad mixtures, but should only be eaten in small quantities, see the notes above on toxicity. Fruit - raw or cooked. An insipid but sweet flavour, they can be added to salads. The fruit is about 12mm in diameter. A red food colouring can be obtained from the fruit. Seed - cooked. It can be ground into a meal and mixed with cereal flours in making bread etc. The seed is small and fiddly, it should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins.
The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K]. The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plants will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.