Growing Malabar Spinach from Seeds (Bachali Kura)

Growing Malabar Spinach from Seeds.
Growing Malabar Spinach from Seeds.

Growing malabar spinach from seeds

As you know growing malabar spinach from the seed and cuttings is an easy process, and one can easily learn the process growing this wonder leafy vine in thier home garden backyard or pots, indoors even on the terrace. Malabar spinach is an edible perennial vine in the Basellaceae family. It is mainly found in tropical Asia and Africa where it is widely used as a leaf vegetable. Malabar spinach is high in vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium.

Malabar spinach plant is grown throughout the tropics as a perennial and in warmer temperate regions as an annual. There are two main species of Malabar spinach are Basella Alba, which has green stems and thick fleshy leaves, and Basella ruba which has red stems.

The leaves and young stems of Malabar spinach are a hot weather spinach substitute. The young leaves of Malabar spinach can be eaten raw in salads, the leaves and young stems cooked as a potherb mixed with vegetables, the leaves cooked separately as spinach, or added to soups.

Characteristics of malabar spinach:

  • It grows rapidly under hot-wet conditions and is adaptable to most soils.
  • The optimum temperature for germination and growth is 25 to 35°C. It is tolerant to heat and flooding with very less pest and disease problems, but sensitive to cold.
  • Low temperature and short days can induce flowering.

Select a good location:

First of all, choose a good location in your garden for growing Malabar spinach. These plants normally grow best under full sun and in humid climates. While they will grow well under partial shade.

Choose a variety:

There are generally two different varieties of Malabar spinach available namely ‘green and red’. The stem of the green variety is green, and reddish-purple in the red variety. But the leaves are green color in both varieties. You can select any variety depending on its availability in your area. You can consult with an existing home gardener in your area for having good recommendation.

Malabar spinach is a vining tropical plant that is grown as an annual in cooler and hot climates. Malabar spinach is cultivated for its edible stems and leaves. This fast-growing leafy vegetable is simply started from seed sown directly in the garden.

Requirements for growing malabar spinach:

Malabar spinach is an easy to grow vine and grows like crazy. It does well in full to partial sunlight, can grow in several types of soil, and hardly gets infested by any sort of plant pests, so it’s a great choice for gardeners who are trying to grow their vegetables with success. If the Malabar spinach plant flowers too quickly the leaves tend to get bitter.

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Growing Conditions of Malabar Spinach
Malabar Spinach (Bachali).

Malabar spinach plants can be grown from seeds or cuttings. If the stems are too tough to eat when pruning and simply put them back into the soil where they will re-root. Scarify the seed with a file, sandpaper or even a knife to speed germination, which will take 3 weeks or longer at temperatures between 65-75°F.

Malabar spinach plant is a climbing plant and it grows best in full sun.  It prefers moist soil and a pH level of 6.5 to 6.8.  Malabar spinach growing in pots or a garden with a trellis or up to a wall.  If the soil becomes dry it will flower and the leaves have a much bitter flavor.

Malabar spinach growing from seed process:

  • Choose a garden area with full sun and close access to water. In hot climates, grow Malabar spinach where it gets partial shade, such as in the morning or afternoon time.
  • Spread one to two inches of compost on the soil using a rake, and then dig it into a depth of 8 inches.
  • To start from seed, plant the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in your area. Seeds must germinate in 10 days to 3 weeks.  If you want to speed up seedling’s growth, you can either soak them in water overnight before planting or use a knife to open up the hard exterior seed coating.
  • Plant Malabar spinach seeds after the last frost when temperatures are predictably above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the seeds 1 inch deep, 1 inch apart in rows in rows 2.5 feet apart. Thin the plants to six inches apart when they stand 4 inches high.
  • Thin germinated seedlings to one foot. Malabar spinach can be started as transplants eight weeks before the last frost.
  • Seedlings can be transplanted into the garden once the soil has warmed and must be placed a foot apart. Plants will take off in the heat of the summer season. They do best with some type of vertical support because they can grow to be 10 to 12 feet high.  They can ramble along the ground.
  • Water Malabar spinach frequently to maintain the soil evenly moist. Malabar spinach plant originated in the tropics and thrives in moist, warm conditions.
  • Malabar spinach is a climbing plant that can reach 8 to 10 inches in height. Purchase or construct support on which the plant can climb and put it in the garden site. Attach the trellis or supports to the ground with stakes, sandbags or other heavy objects to keep it from blowing down in a storm.
  • Harvest tender leaves and shoots as they appear and usually within 75 days from planting. Continue harvesting until frost nips the plant, and eliminate any buds. Once the Malabar spinach plant flowers, leaf quality deteriorates.

Note: Growing Malabar Spinach from Cuttings is also possible.

Fertilizing your malabar vines:

You don’t have to give additional fertilizers if you have already prepared the soil by adding lots of organic materials into it.

How and when to water malabar spinach plants:

Regular watering is a must for growing Malabar spinach plant. The Malabar spinach plants develop well in moist soil. So keeping the soil moist constantly is important for preventing the blossoming, which will turn the leaves bitter. As the plants produce in the summer months, so regular watering is a must for them.

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Malabar spinach plant care

  • Malabar spinach will grow well in a variety of soil conditions but prefers moist fertile soil with plenty of organic matter and a soil pH level of between 6.5 and 6.8.
  • Malabar spinach can be grown in part shade, which increases the leaf size, but it much prefers hot, humid and full sun exposures.
  • Malabar spinach needs constant moisture to prevent the blossoming, which will turn the plant leaves bitter and ideally a garden area with a warm, rainy climate for optimal Malabar spinach care and growth.
  • The vine must be trellised and two plants are sufficient for most families through the summer and fall growing season. It can even be developed up to the same trellis as peas, truly utilizing the garden space.
  • Grown as an ornamental edible, the Malabar spinach vines can be trained to climb over doorways. To prune Malabar spinach, basically cut the thick, fleshy leaves while retaining some stem.
  • The Malabar spinach plants are vigorous climbers which need a trellis or other type of support.

Malabar spinach pests and problems:

This is one of the few plants that are both easy to grown and amazingly free of any pests and diseases, which is great news if you typically have to deal with a lot of pests in the garden.

Harvesting procedure of malabar spinach

Because you eat the leaves and the stems, Malabar spinach plant can be harvested as soon as the main stem is growing well. Snip the plant leaves and tender stems with scissors as needed. Harvest Malabar spinach before the vine flowers for the best flavor.

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