Okay, so cooler weather is upon the southwest desert and my herbs are getting their colors back. It’s fascinating to see how strange or rather peculiar these herbs react to weather changes. My Okinawa spinach purple underside went green like the rest of the plant.
It’s October and time to plant cool-season vegetables. These are lettuces, spinach, broccoli, garlic, peas, and broad beans.
Today I will be talking about my Okinawa Spinach. I used this herb in my chicken soup and for the 30 days purification process postpartum. Read it here for your pleasure. Hmong women culture. You can also find my recipe on this page Hmong chicken diet soup- postpartum here.
I planted this herb from a cutting that my mom gave me. She said it wouldn’t service because it gets super hot here. Sometimes the temperature goes up to 120° Fahrenheit. (48.89° Celsius) In another word, hell! XD However, I prove her otherwise. Only took me three years to do so!
How to Propagate Okinawa spinach
Here are some things to keep in mind when planting Okinawa spinach. They are super crispy so you must be very careful at handling them. They are also fast-growing herbs that will climb up a tree or fence. Trim them to prevent overgrowth and climbing. These are the vine kind. The New Zealand spinach is the green kind which is like bushes and crawling plants as well.
Things that you might need:
- Pruner or scissor
- Gloves if you prefer
Prep an area you want to plant this herb. How I propagate my Okinawa spinach is to look for the oldest vine with new growth starting. Bend the crisp vine, it should break right off if it doesn’t use your pruner. Now that you have a cutting take that cutting place it in a laying down position with the new growth sticking up. Because it is a vine it’s better to lay it down as it will grow roots from the vine.
Cover the vine with compost leaving the new growth to surface. Once done I spread some dried grass cutting on top of it to keep the soil moist. If you live in a colder region make sure to cover it up. However, if you use containers it’s easier to bring them inside or cover them and leave them on the patio. Bringing it inside would be best.
This is what my Okinawa herb looked like during the summer and planted under my kaffir lime and moringa oleifera trees. As you can see it was almost all green.
I don’t know really. A year prior I covered them and didn’t look at it except that when I needed some for my soup. So I never paid any attention to them. This year I made the mistake of planting Moringa trees and citrus too close inside my garden and now I have both citrus and Moringa Oleifiera roots all over my little vegetable garden four years prior. Big mistakes guys DO NOT PLANT CITRUS or OTHER TREES INSIDE YOUR VEGETABLE GARDEN. That’s a big no-no.
There is an upside to this though. The trees provide shades for my herbs that don’t have huge roots. So, I did not cover them this year. That’s when I noticed that the purple leaves on top and on the underside were no longer purple but green. I was shocked. I called my mom right away.
That didn’t get me anywhere. She didn’t know either. Dead end. So, I did a little thinking when I was in my science class, way back in the stone age and realized, I haven’t gotten a clue. However, a thought came to me while I was contemplating.
I have no scientific proof only from my educational guess is that the summer heat was too harsh and the pigmentation was being burned by the temperature. Because the desert southwest does not get cool during the evening even in the summer rather it stayed warm for 5 months in the mid 90° F (32.22° C).
Learn to propagate Okinawa spinach.
However, the flavor hasn’t changed. It’s still good to eat, feels plump like it should, hairy like normal, and green all over instead of a purple back leaf. When cooked it still has the okra texture, slimy. Plus it grew some more. This plant is a crawler. I call it one of my crawling plants because where ever the tip falls it grows roots and starts a new plant.
Some of you prefer vines or twiners. My mom had them climbing her tomato fence. It looked like a wall. It was beautiful. Mine was climbing the chicken cage until my chicken found out its food to them too.
Where Can You Use them In
This herb is great in anything. Now if you like them raw and don’t mind the pungent smell. I kind of smell like spinach. Add a few leaves to your salad. I don’t like the smell so I cooked them. The fun part is to use your imagination and go while.