From the White House Gardener Mysteries by Dorothy St. James
Lately everyone around the White House has been acting as if Casey Calhoun is the only gardener with an original idea in her head. Just because she is noisy (and nosy) and gets herself into impossible situations, doesn't mean that she deserves more attention than anyone else around here.
I've been gardening the White House grounds for nine years. Nine years! I'm the senior assistant gardener. And yes, I can come up with good ideas, too. Better ideas than Casey.
Just the other day the chefs were complaining that with the warm weather, the cool-weather crops have been pulled out, which means no more spinach until fall.
Spinach salad made with fresh spinach is the First Lady's favorite dish. She loves to serve it at her lunches. And she asked the chefs to continue to serve the dish throughout the summer months. So the chefs came to the gardeners and asked what we could do.
And guess who came up with the best solution?
Me. That's who!
Next week we're planting malabar spinach in the First Lady's Kitchen Garden.
Malabar spinach (Basella alba), AKA Indian spinach, Ceylon spinach, basella, vine spinach, summer spinach, isn't actually spinach. But your taste buds won't be able to tell the difference.
It's a vine that grows best when the temperatures get hot, really hot. The plant really thrives 90 degree weather.
Are you looking for the flavor of fresh spinach in your garden? Here's some tips on how to grow malabar spinach on your patio or in your back yard.
1. Grow in part-shade to full sun.
2. Since it's a vine, it'll need a trellis to climb.
3. Grow in a moist soil rich in organic matter.
4. Keeping the soil moist will delay flowering. Once the plant starts to flower, the leaves will turn bitter.
5. Harvest and enjoy your spinach salad lunches.
What are you growing (or like to eat fresh) in the garden this summer?
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