ORACH, FIRE RED – Atriplex hortensis
Also known as mountain spinach, this green has been cultivated since Roman times. Harvest young leaves 1 to 2 inches long for fresh use. Larger leaves are often used steamed. A colorful and nutritious addition to salads. Leaves can continue to be harvested until plant goes to seed. Can be grown into summer somewhat longer than true spinach. Maturity from 20 to 60 days.
Special Directions for Short Season Climates
SOWING: : Seed can also be started indoors 3 weeks before last frost in individual pots. Cover seeds with ¼ inch soil firmed down. Make successive sowings every 2-3 weeks through spring for continued harvest.
THINNING AND TRANSPLANTING: 12 inches or more between plants. Enjoy young thinned leaves in a salad or carefully cut plant above soil line when 6 to 8 inches tall for steaming.
GERMINATION: One to two weeks. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.
Ed's Special Advice
More mature plants can be used as ornamental elements in the garden. Plants can reach four feet tall or more but eating quality of the leaves is greatly diminished. Successive sowings and harvest of leaves when young to ensure best texture and flavor.