Malabar spinach seeds ...

roselee z8b S.W. TexasMarch 19, 2008

I've grown Malabar spinach and loved it, but it's been a while. I went searching through my old seed stash in the green house and found some seeds my beloved uncle gave me. He died over ten years and gave me the seeds years before that.

The seeds are about the size of a BB and as hard as one too. I've been soaking them in a wet paper towel for over a week and watching for signs of life. I couldn't stand the suspense any longer and yesterday the outer covering was very carefully removed from one of them.

This is what was found:

Do you think it is alive?

I hope so ...

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I'm wordless!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 7:24PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

It is alive, and anxious to grow -- how wonderful !!!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 9:36AM
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trsinc(8 TX)

I hope some do sprout! How neat to see it during the process. It looks like a worm. Keep trying and I'll try too! If any sprout I will bring them to you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 10:11PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Tammy, if some sprout from the ones I sent to you go ahead and plant them! I've got about a dozen still soaking in a wet paper towel.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 11:06PM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Thanks for such an adorable post and wonderful photo. How was it growing these this year? Please post a follow-up. I will be growing these from seed in 2009. I plucked a seed cluster from a public garden, then placed them in a bud vase on my kitchen windowsill to dry out. Later, I moved them onto the windowsill so I could use the vase. One of the berries must have been left behind and turned the water a delightful shade of dark pink to go with the pink Cosmos I picked and put in there. I enjoyed it for a few days, it was lovely. I'd do it on purpose again sometime. Cant wait to grow these. Robin in NC

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 8:00PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Hi Robin!

Even though it looked so alive the seeds never germinated. I kept careful watch over the rest of them in a damp paper towel (which I refreshed everyday) for weeks and there was nothing. I went ahead a planted them outside just in case they decided to take months to pop out being they were so old, but never saw any sign of them.

Some very old seeds will germinate. I had one solitary seed that was 12 or maybe even 15 years old that a friend, Orawan, had given me. It was one that was left over from several that she passed along. She called it a guinea pea. The bush grew in her home country of Indonesia and she brought it over. I was searching for her phone number recently and found the one seed attached to her the paper with her number on it. Just for fun I put it in between paper towels and the pea germinated. I have it growing in a pot, but unfortunately the phone number had been disconnected and so I've lost track of her.

Here is a picture of the flower of one I have been growing for all these years.

Both the seed pods and the foliage are edible. The bloom is VERY fragrant and is worth having for that alone, that and the beautiful ferny foliage.

I can share seeds when the pods ripen if anyone wants some.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2008 at 4:01PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Is it cold hardy, Roselee? Where do you have it planted, in a container or inground?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 7:29AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Carrie, the guinea pea dies to the ground with the first hard freeze, but reliably returns in the spring. My soil, except in a few raised beds, is so poor and shallow that I have it in a big clay pot right now, but Orowan had her plant in the ground where it produced a full bush about four ft. by four ft.

I have so concentrated on roses and other ornamental flowers for the last few years that the pot with the guinea pea ended up in a shady spot where it has not bloomed for years and I sort of forgot about it. Now that I have moved it to a more sunny spot it has bloomed and produced seed pods and I've come to appreciate it again.

Here's is a picture of the translucent seed pods which I think are beautiful in themselves ...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 9:48AM
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denisew(z8 TX)

I grew some Malabar spinach a few years ago and it was very prolific. The next year I had so many babies growing in my garden that I dug them up, put them in pots and sold a couple flats to my local nursery because they had been looking for a source for these plants and couldn't find them. I haven't had them since then, but I do remember ordering them from a seed company - maybe it was Park Seed? If you're wanting more, that might be a good place to start. But, that is a really cool picture of your malabar spinach starting to sprout.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2008 at 4:44PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks Denise! I think fresh little sprouts are so sweet by being so full of promise.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 8:40PM
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