I continue to be entertained by seed/plant sellers who offer things with spinach in the name that are clearly not spinach – nor have the nutritional characteristics of spinach!
Of course, there is nothing “wrong” with growing chard – it’s a great leafy vegetable for a summer crop. You can use the leaves to make a “pasta-less” lasagna. I also like them in stews and the more tender leaves in salads. And of course many vegans in my vicinity who don’t like to eat vegetables put it in their vegematic.
Hi Drew, I’ve grown it and it is definitely a chard, a nice large, green stemmed, dark green leafed sturdy chard. Don’t know why they’d call it a spinach substitute; it isn’t, at least to me. But it’s a good chard and it does well all summer and well into fall up here, but then most chards do. Certainly worth a trial. Chard isn’t nearly as fussy as spinach. Too bad we like spinach a lot better! So I just succession plant it all season every two weeks and appreciate whatever harvest I get. Sue
Oh yeah I am well versed in the bs of catalogs, exactly why I asked the question! If it grew throughout the summer down here it would still have a value for sure as most greens with the exception of malabar and maybe New Zeeland spinach (haven’t tried it). Thank you for the info.
My hydroponic grown chard is veeeery similar in texture to spinach believe it or not! I am hoping to find a green that will handle the Texas summer. This one may get a trial in my outdoor beds. I’m still on the fence. Thank you!
I think New Zealand spinach is quite similar to regular cool season spinach, at least as a cooked green. It handles North Carolina Piedmont summers (very consistent daytime highs between about 85 and 92 and plenty of humidity) just fine. Malabar spinach is even more productive, and I like it even better as a cooked green. I have several customers that like Malabar raw, and the taste is good raw or cooked, but I don’t care for the texture raw.
I grew malabar two years. Second year I didn’t but it reseeded which was nice to see. They never really took off. I may have planted it too early. But I’d think volunteer plant came up when it was the right time for it. Anyhow it didn’t grow well for me and I didn’t know how to prep it in a way it wouldn’t be slimy.
Best spinach substitute for me here in Houston is Okinawan “Spinach” aka gynura crepiodes or Kang kong ipomoea aquatica…bugs don’t touch it! Neither of those have the mucilaginous leaves of other tropical greens. The bugs ravavage any traditional Greens here after April/May.
It depends. Spinach is a betain bomb, if you track that particular nutrient. if you care about that only chenopodium spp. will qualify, and regrettably chard is low. That means amaranth leaves, and beet greens (lambquarters if you have a rare cultivar. The wild ones are a bit too chewy for me). If you care about texture and color, then rubella and tetragonium as discussed above all qualify. But tetragonium (New Zealand sp.) is hard to sprout, and I had a failed crop last summer. suggestions?