Seed Swaps

Brazilian Spinach

09 May 2011
Sunny 26°C / 79°F

This started as a small plant initially planted in the Kitchen Garden back in 2008. It struggled along there for a year or so. I later received a cutting as a gift among some other edibles I had purchased. I planted the cutting in the vege patch and nursed it through the long dry winter.

The plant in the Kitchen Garden grew well for a while, but did not flourish. I suspected that it may thrive in full sun rather than the shade which the Kitchen Garden received. The piece in the vege patch got far more sun, but also did not thrive as I had hoped it would, although for a long time it did produce good growth. However, during one long dry season I noticed it shrivelling and starting to die back. Close inspection proved to be a mealy bug attack. I doused the plant with milk on a regular basis and it slowly pulled through, although left limp and small in stature. As a safeguard to losing this plant altogether I took a small cutting and placed this in a sunny spot close to the duck house at the duck pond. This enabled me to keep an eye on the cutting as I would daily attend to the ducks.

The spindley plant in the Kitchen Garden eventually succumbed to an attack of mealy bug, plus trampling and grazing by ducks. While the vege patch plant thrived for a considerable time, being so far from the house, and consequently out of sight therefore out of mind, it was weakening by the mealy bug attack and never fully recovered. After the long, damp, wet season that we have just had, I went to inspect the vege patch and found no trace of the Brazilian spinach.

The duck pond planting has, however, thrived and flourished beyond all expectation, despite nibbling from the occasional duck. Each day when I change the water dish and top up the pond I give the Brazilian spinach a splash from the hose. It seems to tolerate the bore water and shows no signs of distress. The ducks wander about this area foraging for insects, and thereby leave fertiliser behind for the plants. I also toss some of the “ducky water” from their food dishes (food particles, mud from dabbling in the dirt, and fertiliser from those that stand in their dishes) onto the various plants around the pond that are not in the direct line of the overflow channel. I think the Brazilian Spinach has found its niche.




Would you like to add a comment? Sign up for a free account, or log in if you're already a member.