Friday, July 31, 2015

Plant Portrait - Strawberry Spinach

I am growing this vegetable for the first time this year.  It is supposed to be an heirloom vegetable that has been grown for centuries . Although it is called spinach, it is, in fact, a chard (Chenopodium capitatum).

Strawberry Spinach

 Like all chards, it is easy to grow.  In my book at least, chards are not particularly nice tasting. However as far as chards go, this one is not bad. It does not have the strong metalic taste they sometimes acquire. The youngest leaves of any chard are always tastier

In the photo above, the fruiting parts look most unusual, but when the plant starts going to seed in the garden, you recognize it as a chard.


I think it looks best as decoration on a salad plate or in an arrangement (see the photo below). The red seed clusters are edible, but they are described as being bland. In fact they have a definite taste, not unpleasant but difficult to describe.
It is supposed to grow 1 to 3 feet. Here it did not reach much more than one foot.

I expect I will grow it again but use it as a decorative plant rather than as a vegetable. Like other amaranths, it is both good-looking and edible. A drift of them in a border woud look attractive. Of course it all depends on how long the seeds stay attractive. They seem to survive for several weeks and then new ones ripen. They have to be eaten fresh as insects appear when the seed clusters get old.

The chard I like best for eating is Italian, and I think is referred to as "erbettta". I get it from Larosa Emanuele Sementi whose seeds are distributed in upscale grocery stores in Canada. The leafs are relatively small and tender.



  1. I am not a fan of chard but can see it's ornamental value in the border.

  2. This is very nice looking. I'm not sure I really like the taste but I'm sure it would look good in any garden.

  3. I was thinking of using rainbow chard in a potager, also just for its ornamental value. This one is striking too and would go very well with the rainbow.

  4. I'm like Angie, I think that chard is pretty but don't like the taste. The strawberry spinach is most unusual.

  5. Hi Alain, I have to say that I'm not a fan of that plant. I looked at the close-up of the first photo and immediately went "eugh!". There's just something very off-putting about the red "growths" on the stem that look as though they shouldn't be there and the plant is disfigured. I guess I have strange hang-ups.

  6. I am a chard fan - we grow and eat plenty of it here. Strawberry spinach looks intriguing - the fact that you have turned to flower arranging with it, says everything we need to know about its taste! ;-)

  7. Looks more ornamental than edible! :D
    But it really looks nice, though!


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