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Video: Malabar Spinach Or Basella (Basella Alba), Growing On A Windowsill
Indian guest Malabar spinach has mastered the windowsill. The next step is a summer cottage
Two years ago, I came across the seeds of a plant unknown to this day - Indian spinach. From the annotation on the bag, it was possible to find out that this plant in our climate is an annual liana, which can be grown for both decorative and practical purposes, i.e. to eat.
I planted this spinach in an ordinary ceramic pot 15 cm in diameter, using the soil, too, quite common, purchased - "Begonia". Why Begonia? It was just that at that time we were actively growing this wonderful plant and, naturally, used the appropriate soil. I had to plant and then grow this vine at work. The pot with the plant was located on the lightest, southeast-facing window. It is clear that the vine from the very beginning was somewhat deprived of my attention, since most of the time it was "left to itself". In addition, the window sill on which the pot with the planted plant stood was actively blown from the street, and during the heating season it was also warmed up by batteries. In general, the growing conditions were Spartan, although maybethis is what made it possible to obtain a strong healthy plant.
The seeds sprouted quite amicably, the seedlings tightened up over the summer, forming a small single-stemmed liana, which, which surprised me very much, bloomed in the fall and bore fruit somewhere by December. I planted some of them in the same pot again, thinking that the fruiting plant would die. But it turned out that the liana, although it didn’t feel very comfortable last winter, nevertheless survived and this summer waved up the window frame, again gifting me with its autumn flowering and fruiting. And the planted seeds also sprouted, and now I have several plants of Indian spinach. Moreover, one grows with the avocado, using its trunk as a support. Interestingly, the avocado also began to feel much better from such a neighborhood.
Since I had quite a lot of Indian spinach, I boldly decided to use some of it in food. I ate the leaves like a salad without using any heat treatment. It turned out that their taste is quite pleasant, not spicy, indeed a little reminiscent of the taste of ordinary spinach. Since the plant has occupied its "niche" in my "garden", it became necessary to learn as much as possible about it.
It turned out that this plant is called Basella (Basella alba), belongs to the Marevykh family, the same as the Lebedovs (Chenopodiaceae). Sometimes they write about belonging to their own family - the Basells. Under natural conditions, it is a perennial. Basella loves a lot of moisture and a lot of light, which is natural and associated with the climatic conditions of growth.
What does it look like? In nature, it is a liana, reaching several meters in height. I have grown by about 1.5 meters. The trunk is juicy, at the base reaching the thickness of the index finger, reddish, to the top - green. The leaves are green, juicy, the flowers are inconspicuous, white, the fruits are small, black, when crushed, they emit black juice, which has coloring properties. In appearance, the fruits of Basella are a bit like the fruits of my other curiosity - phytolacca. I grow Basella in one trunk, although it easily gives numerous side shoots, especially if the main trunk is laid horizontally.
It propagates, as I said above, by seeds, but it can be easily propagated by part of a lateral shoot: having torn it off, put it in water, wait for the roots to appear and plant it in a permanent place. I fertilize the plant about once a month. Last year I used conventional vegetable fertilizer, and this year I used Greenworld flower fertilizer. So far, I have not noticed any difference in growth, flowering and fruiting associated with the use of different fertilizers.
Basella is often called Malabar spinach in the place of its main growth - the Malabar coast of the Indian subcontinent. This coast is characterized by high humidity, swampy lowlands, and humid tropical forests. The climate is subtropical, monsoon, with comfortable temperatures in January - February (20-240C), with abundant rains (up to 2000 - 3000 mm of precipitation per year) in June - September. In May, the temperature can rise to 40C. So the growing conditions of basella in nature cannot be compared with my "window" ones. Although, perhaps, a rather hot spring and a relatively rainy summer of last year were not so bad for my vine.
Many of our favorite plants belong to the Marev family: cochia, marsh hodgepodge, quinoa, beetroot, spinach; some of them are widely used in food, others are used as medicinal plants, and still others are simply pleasing to the eye. In this capacity, basella is no different from them. It is eaten both raw, which I have already tried on myself, and after heat treatment. According to some authors, basella is a medicinal plant. Used topically, it has wound healing properties, and when taken orally, it normalizes the work of the gastrointestinal tract. The fruits are also used in cooking: in jams, jelly. Well, her appearance is also quite unusual, a well-grown liana, especially during flowering and fruiting, looks beautiful on the window.
This year I will try to plant Basella in the garden, if, of course, the weather permits. So the experiment on growing this exotic plant will continue. Perhaps other interesting results will be obtained, which I, of course, will gladly share with the readers of the magazine.
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