I am linking Tuesday’s post with Dayle’s Simple Pleasures series. Go see her wonderful photos and visit the other bloggers… and see whether your day, like mine, gets a relaxing breath of fresh air.A dear friend on staff at UT Arlington gave me the first plants last year. He thinned a few from the clump in his garden and planted them in a used Cool Whip tub for me. “It’s called Malabar Spinach,” he told me. “It’s a summer spinach.”
My eyes lit up as I imagined myself picking fresh spinach for salad in July. No more would I have to wait until Thanksgiving to have any greens from my garden! I planted the young sprouts next to the 2-foot-high chicken-wire (and supposedly dog-proof) fencing around my little veggie patch, watered them in, and waited. Sure enough, they soon took hold and began to climb all over the fence.
I later learned that Malabar is not a true spinach; either way, I think this is the Perfect Plant. The thick leaves are delicious — similar to spinach but without that gritty taste — and smooth, so they’re easy to wash. They’re pretty, too, a nice glossy green with a maroon shadow underneath. (I have a cultivated variety called “Rubra.”) The vine has striking dark purple-red stems, and seems to bloom all the time: little pink spheres that mature to shiny black berries. As the older flowers mature, the stalk keeps growing and putting out new blooms at the end. I recently discovered that the last couple of inches of flower stalk is just as tasty as the leaves, and makes a pretty salad garnish.
I find a Simple Pleasure in being outside, soaking in the quiet sunlight and admiring my “spinach.” Then, I also enjoy the “oomph” it adds to salads. There’s just something wonderful about picking and eating food I have grown for myself. It makes me feel connected to both nature and its Creator.
Thanks for reading!
PS: Save some of the berries to plant the next spring.