Green leaf

Green Leaf

English Name: African Spinach, Callaloo
Local Name: Efo Tete (Yoruba)
Botanically: Amaranthus hybridus, Family Amaranthaceae

 

This vegetable is a perennial herb. As expected, it is in great abundance during the rainy season. Historically, it is said to reach West Africa from Asia.  The stem and leaves are edible. The plant grows in three main colors (Pink, deep red and green); the colored varieties are planted for decorative purposed in North America. The green colored variety is the only consumed assortment in Nigeria.

 

African spinach (Amaranthus cruentus) is an edible-leaved member of the pigweed family grown widely in Africa for a cooked green vegetable. Amaranthus contains 60 to 70 species native to both the Old and New Worlds.

 

Over 400 varieties exist, some grown primarily for their edible seeds, green vegetables or ornamental flowers. Often the same types give both leaves and grain. African spinach leaves have a mild taste and contain high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals. Amaranths have a different photosynthetic pathway that allows them to grow during hot times of years, unlike cool-season greens like spinach. Amaranths are summer annual plants that grow in most areas, but need heat to do best.

Green Farming Procedure

1. Prepare a sunny garden area where the seeds will grow. Turn the soil with a shovel and rake it smooth to provide a firm well-worked bed. Water the area so it is moist but not soggy. Measure the soil temperature with a thermometer, waiting until the soil is between 59 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit before sowing seeds, with 59 degrees giving acceptable but slower germination, 68 degrees allowing germination in three to four days and 77 degrees allowing optimum germination.

2.Make a furrow in the soil 1/2-inch deep with a trowel. Sow the fine black seeds sparsely in the furrow, covering them with about 1/2-inch of soil. Tamp the soil well over the seeds. Space additional rows 6 to 12 inches apart.

3.Keep the soil moist as seeds germinate and grow. Hoe around the seedlings to remove weeds and to keep the soil from crusting.

4.Cut off the stem tips and tender leaves with scissors when plants are about 6 inches tall. Continue harvesting the new growth periodically, keeping the soil moist throughout the growing season.

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Thermometer
  • Trowel
  • Hoe
  • Scissors