SELF SUFFICIENCY SKILLS: BEET, SPINACH (PERPETUAL SPINACH)

Like the foregoing (silver or sea kale beet) this type of beet has roots which are not to be admitted to the kitchen. Perpetual or spinach beet gives abundant leaf pickings when the ordinary spinach is not available; which labels it at once as an extremely useful vegetable.

Ready for Use.

During autumn winter and spring.

Soil Preparation.

This is the same as for silver beet. The richer the soil the larger and more frequent the pickings.

When and How to Sow.

The first sowing should be at the end of March, and small sowings may be made at intervals – to prolong the crop – up to the end of July. Space the seed very thinly, in 1 in. deep drills, and transplant the seedlings to the prepared ground, 1 ft. apart each way.

Water as frequently as the ground becomes dry, and keep the surface loose with the hoe. Dry conditions cause this plant to run to seed very speedily, thus ruining the crop.

Gathering the Leaves.

As leaves become large enough they may be removed from the plant, only a few from any one plant at a time; or the strongest plants may have all the leaves taken at once, in which case the stripped ones will be out of commission for six or eight weeks, more leaves then being produced. Gathering should cease temporarily during frost.

Preparing for Table.

Wash the leaves thoroughly, and cook them entire, as spinach. A tasty and easily digested food. The roots are discarded.

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