Strawberry Spinach, or Zhminda
As soon as the people don’t call this interesting plant: strawberry or strawberry spinach, raspberry spinach, Zhminda. Of course, it has nothing to do with strawberries or strawberries, and it has a very distant relationship with spinach. Let's figure out what kind of “fruit” it is and, as they say, what it is eaten with.
Two kinds of plants from the genus Mary (most often calledChenopodium) Amaranth families (Amaranthaceae): more often - Multi-sheeted Mary (Chenopodium foliosum), which grows in the southern regions of Europe and North Africa, and less often - Capitol (Chenopodium capitatum) from North America.
Mary (Chenopodium) - a large genus of plants of the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae), includes about 160 species. Different types of mari apply to both weeds and food, essential oil and even ornamental plants. The most famous plant of the genus mary - Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) - a valuable pseudo-grain crop grown by the peoples of South America. Some species of mari are erroneously called quinoa.
Description of Zhminda, or Strawberry Spinach
Multi-leaved Mary (Chenopodium foliosum), or Zhminda, or Strawberry Spinach - an annual or perennial plant up to 70 cm high, with a thick root.
The stems are often numerous straight and ascending. The leaves on long stalks are numerous in the lower part of the plant, with triangular or rhombic leaf blades up to 7 cm long and 4 cm wide, with unevenly serrated edges. At the base, the leaves are wedge-shaped or spear-shaped, the tops of the leaves are pointed.
The flowers are located in the axils of the leaves, form large berry-shaped glomeruli up to 1.5 cm in diameter. The pericarp is fleshy, red in color. Seeds are smooth, black, slightly shiny, with a diameter of 0.9-1.3 mm.
This is a European plant, especially loved by the Germans and the Dutch. It was cultivated by German monks more than 400 years ago.
Zhminda leaves are used in cooking. They can be added to green borsch, used fresh in salads. Strawberry spinach berries are used in canning: for making jam, jam, stewed fruit (they contain a natural dye that gives the stewed fruit a bright red color). Berries are also consumed fresh. The taste of the berries is cloyingly sweet, in some ways it resembles mulberry or blackberry-raspberry hybrids.
Zhminda is often used for decorative purposes.
Growing Strawberry Spinach
Zhminda prefers bright sun and fertile soil (according to many gardeners, in principle, it grows on rather scarce soils). It reaches a size of 50-70 cm and needs support (garter).
If zhminda is grown in the shade, the berries often become tasteless (as if “grassy”), the plant also needs a sufficiently large watering, without swamping, otherwise the berries may become dry. Many gardeners are advised to harvest from Zhminda in an overripe state (the berries are sweeter) when the berry becomes ruby.
What is dangerous - it can propagate by self-sowing, so the berries must be removed very carefully, if you do not want the zminda to sprout randomly next season.
Strawberry spinach quite calmly survives spring cold, but it is necessary to wait for the heat when the berries begin to ripen.
Planting Strawberry Spinach
As soon as the soil thaws, the seeds are sown directly into the soil according to the scheme 40 × 40 cm, several seeds per well to a depth of 0.3 cm. Before sowing, the seeds should be sorted out, removing all damaged ones, then pickled for 30 minutes in a weak solution of potassium permanganate. This technique accelerates germination by 2-3 days.
After watering, the soil in the wells is mulched with a thin layer of humus. After the formation of two true leaves, the seedlings are thinned out, leaving one plant in each well. Extra sit in an empty seat, trying not to damage the roots.
Many gardeners grow strawberry spinach through seedlings.
Zhminda blossoms "invisibly", almost immediately from the flowers appear berries. They ripen very quickly. Usually 2 crops are harvested from the bush per season, the crop is quite plentiful, the leaves, as previously written, also go to food.
Now, knowing the advantages and disadvantages, you decide whether you will grow this plant in your garden.