"Strawberry Spinach"


Chard & kale

New Zealand Spinach


Come summer, growing lettuces and tender greens can be a challenge.     We  do grow a “patch or two” in our movable planter boxes that we move to the northwest side of the house to keep the sun’s rays from beating down on the poor things.    Sure, we’ll get a few cuttings before they expire; bu twe  rely more on their hardy counterparts for our summer green crop.

Over the last 25 years of growing food in the city, we learned many things – sometimes the hard way.  The main lesson is to  adapt, growing along with the season and not against it.  Trying to coax things to grow out of their season means you just create more work for yourself.

In summer there’s a higher turnaround  with the greens, like lettuce and arugula, because of bolting .   In summer, our salad mix has more hardy (less likely to bolt) summer greens like dandelion, purslane, tetragonia, orach, amaranth, mustards, etc.

Don’t think your chances have wilted for growing  nutritious greens in the heat of the summer.  Grow out of your comfort zone!  There are  plenty  of different and exciting greens  from which to choose.

What’s your favorite “hot weather” greens?



  1. carolann krimmer says:

    made a terrific salad a couple nights back with small turnip leaves, beet greens, raw chard, purslane, parsley, mustard greens,cutting celery, basil, tarragon, chives along with my first ripe cherry tomatoes and a bit of cheese-so much flavor-fantastic

  2. Bregtje says:

    Hi you all,

    Love reading your blog and have turned my own back yard (which is fairly big for Dutch standards, but tiny compared to your – just 1/35 of an acre) into a vegetable oases. In the evening – sitting in my backyard between the tomatoes, pumpkins, turnips and more – I like to grab a cup of tea and read your blog chronologically. I was already at page 789, but it stopped working recently. Will the chronologic reading feature come back? I sincerely hope it does, simply loved reading it!
    Wish you all the best and lots of great weather (over here July will probably hit the records as the wettest month ever measured in the Netherlands).

    Greetings from a rainy Netherlands,

    P.s. I read somewhere in the beginnings of your blog that you spoke about your Belgian ancestors, calling a mixture of food hotsapot – a big smile came to my face – you must mean ‘hutspot’ which is indeed a dish eaten in Belgium and the Netherlands :-).

  3. Erica says:

    I have discovered Tong ho, edible Chrysanthemum. It is delicious and so easy to grow. It can be cooked but I prefer it raw in a salad or a green smoothie. If you cook it too long it gets chewy. It has been a cool and wet summer here. It has rained almost everyday for weeks. It has been a great summer for greens. I imagine that one of our summers would seem like one of your winters.

  4. Erica says:

    I am curious about purslane. What is it like?

  5. Harvest Bound Consignments says:

    We just ate our first salad of the summer garden last night (we got a late start): mustard greens, romaine, turnip greens, spinach & parsley. We live in upstate NY by the Vermont border. Summers are somewhat mild, but still have the hot scorchers from time to time. We grow our lettuce bed in the partial shade of the trees. They seem to thrive throughout the summer this way. We noticed our sugar snap peas are producing gang-busters this year. It’s been a bit on the wet side so they haven’t dried up yet. We’ve been freezing the surplus and have started filling the freezer with green beans, too. We’ve also put turnips up in the freezer already. My husband and I made comment during our morning walk last week that the air has turned — we can feel winter on it’s way now — though we are having 90 degree weather. I’ve noticed trees beginning a bit of a turning and the sounds and smells of fall have just started. Summer sure isn’t lasting long up here this year, I guess. I’ve never heard of some of the greens you listed. I’ll have to find out more!

  6. Rhonda says:

    I love my Swiss Chard. I like it much better than spinach and it just keeps producing even in this hot Kentucky climate. Plus it’s really pretty to look at!

  7. angie says:

    Some of my greens have bolted, but the kale is still growing, and I harvest the outer leaves of the cabbage plants – I don’t know or care if I’ll ever get heads of cabbage because I love having these outer leaves, which I use like kale or collards. I also have chard in the garden this year, and it is doing well. 🙂

  8. melissa says:

    I’m glad you posted a picture of the New Zealand Spinach- I’m trying that this year and it’s nice to know what it will look like once mature. Mine are still tiny seedlings!

  9. Mindy says:

    I am growing Malabar spinach, both the green and red stemmed varieties (Basella alba and Basella rubra). I am in Louisiana, and this plant loves the heat big-time. It is not truly spinach, and it’s a vining plant. It can be used in all of the same ways spinach can. The best part is it grows like crazy when the temps top 90, which they do for more than a quarter of the year where I live. And it’s pretty. I love having a vining edible

  10. anita says:

    New Zealand Spinach !

  11. Tricia says:

    Vigna unguiculata… aka cow peas. You can eat the delicious bean, vine tips and leaves and the other weird green we are eating is sweet potato leaves. We have a couple of different colors or purslane…so pretty.

  12. Cena says:

    Sweet potato leaves, chard, kale, beet greens, lentil sprouts from the kitchen counter

  13. Karen says:

    For some reason I don’t have much luck with the tender lettuce. I do have a lot of purslane. Many Armenian folk take the purslane, mix it with garlic and mint, finally add some spice (coriander, salt, pepper…), mix it all into strained yogurt. It tastes very similar to the Greek Tzatziki sauce. It’s a good way of “weeding” your garden of the purslane!

Post a comment