Today I was in the garden trying to tame a plant that had overstepped it’s bounds. I remember the day I spied this plant at one of the nursery centers I go to. It boasted an ability to grow even in the heat and humidity of summer. In answer to my questions, the nursery worker commented that it did indeed grow abundantly and would even reseed itself in the garden year after happy year. However she should have put a small, but polite disclaimer on this certain plant. It would have been good had she added to the end of her glowing description. “A’hem, however it is a bit of an acquired taste.” That way I would have at least been warned about the consequences of inviting this bold aggressor into my garden. I am talking about a plant I have mentioned in several posts as a durable summer grower: Malabar Spinach.
I think it is the spinach in the name that is so appealing. It leads one to think they don’t have to say good bye to the cool season spinach but can enjoy it’s close cousin on into the heat of summer. Don’t be fooled! Looking forward to it’s debut and growth in my garden, I harvested and proudly added my “new” spinach to a toss salad. My family informed me that they would henceforth never be eating any salad that included this new addition. I am not one that gives up easily, as you might have noticed so I decided to add it cooked in a vegetable soup. After all my family likes collard greens. How different could this be? Well, first of all who likes soup in the middle of summer? Second of all, the slimy noxious overwhelmingly sour taste of the Malabar spinach infused every part of that soup. Yuck! After a failed attempt at adding it to a smoothie I decided it would be better off as rabbit feed. Except the rabbits did not agree. Neither did the chickens. Now, when chickens turn down something, anything green, you know it is bad. By the time I came to the realization that I should never have invited this plant into my garden, it’s roots were taking up needed moisture and it’s tendrils were rapping around everything it could reach. I chopped, I pulled, I tugged, then I went to get some muscle. We had two choices; put it in the dumpster by the community garden or haul it to the chicken yard where surely the chickens would dispose of it. We ended up with the chicken yard option because we didn’t think we could lift the massive plant from the ground to the dumpster. There it sits in the chicken yard tonight in a massive heap untouched by the chickens. So if you see something with spinach tacked on the end of it, that boasts an ability to grow right through the heat of the summer and seems just too good to be true; it is.