Warrigal Greens – also known as Warrigal Spinach, New Zealand Spinach or even Botany Bay greens – were one of the first native Australian vegetables to become popular with early settlers. Looking for ways to fight scurvy, Captain Cook encouraged his men to eat them, and many convicts owed their lives to the spinach-like plant.
NZ spinach has green, triangulated leaves and a spreading habit.
This is a coastal plant which natively grows on dune edges. It survives salt-spray in coastal gardens.
It can withstand hot, dry summer weather when real spinach tends to die off. Will self-sow and become widespread.
Soak seeds for one or two hours before sowing as the outer skin is hard.
Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 18°C and 35°C.
Space plants: 45 – 60 cm apart
Harvest in 8-10 weeks. Pick the tips.
Compatible with (can grow beside): Does better if alone.
To remove oxalates it’s a good idea to blanch the leaves for 3 minutes or so, then rinse the leaves in cold water before using them in salads or for cooking. (ABC TV)