Why you should be growing longevity spinach in your garden

We grow five different kinds of spinach on our property – a Brazilian spinach, also called Sisoo (it grows almost like a ground cover and has really curly leaves),  two different varieties of Okinawan spinach – one that has purple leaves, and one that has light green leaves that is often referred to as longevity spinach, Malabar spinach (it’s almost succulent like in its appearance) and Tongan Spinach (its leaves are large, the size of your head!).

  Longevity spinach purple Okinawan spinach Sisoo spinachTongan spinachMalibar spinach

Spinach has a lot of benefits no matter which one you decide to grow.  They all have different tastes and textures, so before you decide to plant a whole bunch of one kind, it’s best to try samples and see which one you prefer.  It’s also important to do a little research to see what types of spinach can grow in your area and climate.  We’re fortunate because most of the tropical spinaches can be grown year round with little problem.

Of all the spinach we grow, I personally like the longevity spinach the best.  Its scientific name is gynura procumbens.  It is  also called “cholesterol spinach.” As the name implies, it’s really good for you.  It’s been called a “super food” – a term we’re hearing a lot lately.  But this actually may be just that.  A native to southeast Asia, it is claimed to help treat a number of different ailments – high cholesterol (bet you could’ve figured that one out yourself), high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatism, insect bites or other wounds, menstrual issues, seizures, and cancer.  It’s even been known to remove age spots!!

You can eat this raw or cooked.  It can be put in smoothies, soups, salads, and even steeped for tea.  Be creative.  I put it in my veggie lasagna and with eggs in a frittata.  We use it in stir fry a lot and my husband likes it in his siamin.  I will say I do prefer it cooked as opposed to raw, but that’s just a personal preference.  

You may be one of those people who feel like they have a black thumb when it comes to gardening, but this is one of the hardiest plants we grow.  It also seems to be fairly pest resistant which is always a problem in our Hawaii climate.  Some people even grow it indoors in kitchen window boxes.  It’s known to do better in semi shade, however, ours is in pretty much full sun and it’s growing really well. 

So if you’re looking to expand your dietary repertoire a bit, eat healthy, and add something to your own home garden, this is the plant to do just that.

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Author: Belle Chai

Farm girl wannabe, enjoying life on the Big Island. We have a small five acre farm along the Hamakua coast. While we have a few crops we grow to sell, we are trying to create a self sustaining lifestyle on our little piece of paradise. I set up this blog initially to help me keep track of different things we grow and how well they're doing, but recently decided to go public with it. I enjoy reading other hobby farm sites, and thought sharing our story a little might inspire others as they have inspired me.

2 thoughts on “Why you should be growing longevity spinach in your garden”

  1. Just love your blog! Although I do consider my thumb to be intensely black as I’ve killed a cactus, I have 2 little avocado plants from a seed that’s on my kitchen window right now, 1 with a small sprouting stem, branch ? (see what I mean) and the other with nicely grown leaves. I’m scared to move it into a pot! Don’t know if I’ll kill it since it’s doing so nicely just sitting in water. What do you suggest?

    1. I’d move it into a pot. So here’s the thing with avocados, when you plant by seed you never know what kind of avocado you’re going to get. It all depends on what is growing in your area. When you buy plants from vendors and they have state a specific kind of avocado you’re buying, that’s because they have grafted that avocado plant, so they know for sure. But I’ve know plenty people who have grown from seed and get tasty avocados. I think it’s time to plant yours in a pot, or even in the ground where you want it to grow, just make sure it’s protected from critters (like dogs who like to dig). Waikoloa can be dry, so water it frequently. Good luck!!

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