Growing Tips: The taste of perpetual spinach closely resembles that of real English spinach but doesn't have the same pungent, bitter flavor. Young leaves are delightful raw on sandwiches and salads. Older leaves can be lightly steamed and served as a tasty leafy green vegetable in any dish that calls for it, or used as an alternate for real spinach in any dish that doesn't. In India, spinach is used both ways: as a flavoring for dishes, and also in curry recipes.
Growing Tips: Perpetual spinach seeds are rather easy to grow in rich soil, and will easily produce new shoots in two or three years. You will need a sunny location with good drainage, rich in nutrients and compost for your plants. Plant seeds about one inch deep and about half to one inch wide. If the seed starts to sprout, it will be covered with new leaves, taking up the slack space in the center.
Water the soil well while you're preparing the bedding for the seeds. When the soil has sufficiently moistened, plant seeds. If you have to sow small seeds, then you can divide them once you've seen some little growth. Sow continuous lines of seeds about a foot apart each, in rows which are about four to six inches apart. If you want to end up with continuous stripes of greens, then divide the rows after some number of months, so that all the leaves are equally spaced.
After planting, your plants will need to go through a period of dormancy. If you sow true spinach on a warm sunny day, then your seeds should germinate within 24 hours. Cultivate your chard plants as soon as the soil is dry and your plants have grown a few leaves. The best time to harvest perpetual spinach is immediately following a rainstorm when the gardener can spot a chard plant growing overhead. Harvest and dig the seeds from the plant.
If you don't have chard growing, or if you don't want to grow spinach beet roots, there are other possibilities. One possibility is to try to grow vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, squash, or lettuce. All of these vegetables need less water and they are also more forgiving of mistakes than true spinach. In fact, many of the methods used to cultivate them are exactly the same as those used for growing spinach. The only difference is that the materials used are different, and since they are grown outside, they don't require as much extra care to keep growing.
Once your perennial spinach beets, carrots or squash are about a foot tall, they are ready to be placed in the potting mix. The mixture should be filled with about one fourth of per cent compost and half a cup of well-rotted black (or red) soil. Perpetual spinach seeds should not be mixed into the mix until the plant has developed strong, well-developed young leaves. When the young leaves are about a foot tall, they can be easily inserted into the mix. Once the young leaves begin to develop, they will be available for eating right away.
A key tip to remember when growing spinach beet seeds is to make sure that the chard is planted in its natural location. Planting it in a pot will assure an even more even growth. It is not as important to keep the chard alive during the months of spring and summer as it is during the cooler months of fall and winter. The chard can go into suspended animation while it waits for the warmer months to arrive; however, the seeds should remain in a warm location where they will receive plenty of light and moisture.
For those who would like to learn how to plant and grow spinach, there are several helpful books available. Most gardeners find that learning from other experienced gardeners is most beneficial. Books on how to plant and grow spinach are available at local garden stores or on the Internet. Some of these books will provide tips that have been tried and tested by other gardeners; others will describe new and innovative methods that have been developed for growing spinach.