Step 1

Tender Malabar Spinach

Tender Malabar Spinach

DIY Network: Malabar spinach is a vining plant whose tender stems and leaves are used in Asian and tropical cooking, especially stir fries and salads.

Purchase the Seeds

Malabar spinach is a vining tropical plant that is grown as an annual in cooler climates. It is cultivated for its edible stems and leaves. There are two main varieties: red-stemmed and white-stemmed. This fast-growing leafy vegetable is easily started from seed sown directly in the garden.

Step 2

Prepare the Site

Malabar spinach prefers a sunny site with fertile, well-drained soil. Work a generous amount of organic soil conditioner into the soil with a garden fork. Add some slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer to the site as well.

Step 3

Install the Trellis

Install the Trellis

Malabar spinach is a climbing plant that can reach 8' to 10' in height. Purchase or construct a support on which the plant can climb and place it in the garden site.

Install the Trellis

Malabar spinach is a climbing plant that can reach 8' to 10' in height. Purchase or construct a support on which the plant can climb and place it in the garden site. Attach the trellis to the ground with stakes, sandbags or other heavy objects to keep it from blowing down in a storm.

Step 4

Plant the Seeds

Soak the seeds in water the night before planting. In spring, sow seeds 1/4" deep and approximately 18" apart. Cover with soil and water well. Keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate.

Step 5

Add Straw Mulch to Seedlings

Add Straw Mulch to Seedlings

To finish off the bed, add a thin layer of straw mulch around the seedlings.

Cultivate the Plants

When seeds germinate pour liquid fertilizer over the seedlings, making sure to wet all of the leaves. Add a thin layer of straw mulch to hold in the moisture and help prevent weeds. Malabar spinach doesn't have many pests or diseases. If the plant gets too big, simply cut it back.

Step 6

Use Cut Spinach Right Away

Use Cut Spinach Right Away

Harvest the spinach when you're ready to use it. Plants will wilt and lose color and flavor if stored more than a day or two. For best results, snip the leaves and soft stems with a sharp pair of scissors.

Harvest the Malabar Spinach

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