Caucasian Mountain Spinach

Caucasion mountain spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides), is the sole member of the genus Hablitzia, closely related to Amaranth. It is a perennial vine, growing 6-10 feet, hardy to Zone 4, boasting the title of “the” perennial spinach, with harvest beginning in very early spring. Tantalizing, isn’t it? Clearly, this plant does not grow in Israel or any Holy Lands because these lands are Plant Zone 10. Further, no types of spinach were identified in the Bible, but probably Israelites ate a type of spinach to supplement their diets and possibly as a type of bitter herb in the Seder meal.

Trials of Growing Caucasian Mountain Spinach:

I have traded, bought, begged Hablitzia seed from several sources, for several years, and have gotten several strains. Every year I carried out careful compost care, as I attempted to obtain a healthy plant. They have invariably died. Every year I have inched closer, with barely a sprout the first year. In following years, I achieved whole trays of the plants. This was only for a short while as one by one, day by day, each plant to wilt. The next day I’d find it flat on the ground, dead.

This year, I finally made a breakthrough: I have continued using more and more rock powder, with better and better results for the plants. Most botanists describe mountain spinach as a ‘woodland’ plant; but the situations that seem to give the best results simulate dry river beds, or rock crevices. They seem to like tons of available minerals, little nitrogen, and alternating dry and wet, with lots of sun. Providing enough rock seems to be especially important.

Once the seedlings achieved true leaves, I transplanted into simple, un-amended clay I dug up from under a healthy clover plant, mixed with wollastonite until it was white. I put the transplanted seedlings in the shade, and didn’t water for the first day. When I finally watered, I put them in full sun for a couple of hours, to day off the leaves and then put them in the shade.

Yes, one continued to grow beyond the size of any I have grown. Then it vined! It even bloomed! This spring, it’s sprouting!

Obviously I’m just short of delirious. What’s more, I am reverse engineering the heck out of this situation in the hopes I can actually get one to grow in Mortal Tree. I transplanted several of the other plants to the food forest last year. They all died -some due to animals though. Perhaps they would have overcome the wilt otherwise.

Carolyn’s Reflection:  Why would God even create such a plant? How is a  rare and hard to grow plant important in God’s perspective?

Reblogged and adapted (slightly) from Mortal Tree.

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2 responses to “Caucasian Mountain Spinach

  1. Thank you for another example of your wonderful “spiritual motherhood”
    grounded in material reality!

  2. Thanks for sharing this story . I am going to do a little research and see if I can get some started . 

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy Note® 3, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

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