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Grow and Use Red Climbing Spinach (Basella rubra)

Add vertical interest and edibility to containers and in ground gardens with Red Climbing spinach.

Although it is not a true spinach, the leaves have a buttery almost nutty spinach flavor.  Eat the succulent leaves fresh, steamed or sautéed.  Or use it as a wrap for your favorite chicken or seafood salad.

Red Climbing spinach also known as Red Malabar spinach grows best in full sun and hot weather. It thrives in the heat when most other greens begin to fade. Its red stems, pink flowers and deep purple fruit create a colorful display.

Purchase transplants or start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. Scarify the seeds by scraping the hard seed coat with a file or sandpaper before planting. Move transplants outdoors several weeks after the last spring frost.

A bit more information: Malabar spinach is native to tropical Asia. The juice from the purple fruit can be used as a dye for food coloring or fabric.

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