Drought tolerant vegetables

I’m harvesting. And for once it’s not the daily tomato and basil and ‘oh look, another courgette hiding in the undergrowth’.


Really tasty spinach in the middle of summer.

Well, perhaps not the giant spinach soft floppy leaves you come to expect in Spring. I had a bumper crop of those. But the bolting. The bolting…

So this year I decided to do a trial of something new. Something more drought tolerant that wouldn’t go to seed the moment it was planted.

Tree Spinach. Chenopodium Giganteum. I didn’t particularly go for it because of the screaming pink baby leaves. Rather because it’s a member of the amaranth family, and that is one thing that doesn’t disappoint in a heatwave and a drought.

So naturally I over-sowed them as it was a first. and planted them in two long lines down some beds in the upper part of the vegetable garden.

I had this idea they would grow tall (promised on the packet of seeds) and I could use the shade underneath to grow lettuce.

I didn’t get round to the lettuce planting up here – it was too busy madly bolting in full sun elsewhere. But what an incredible success.

But they are huge! Good tree canopy for plants underneath.

These ones are in a deep shade until around 11am. But I have others that are doing very well in full sun too.

You have to cut off entire branches to harvest them. And you cannot eat the leaves raw alas, they need a few minutes blanching. But they don’t disappear into a slimy mush. And I am freezing batches almost every day.

I will save the Warrigal Greens – my preferred summer spinach – for garnishing dishes. They keep their fantastic green colour. But the yields just cannot compare with the chenopods.

They were slow to get going and yes, they are in pots, so of course the yield is down. But some things just slip by in the huge springtime plant out fest. And these greens didn’t romp away.

Come winter when both the tree spinach and warrigals get slammed by the cold, I will have a reminder that you can eat spinach all year round. Even in a blasted hot climate. Blanch and freeze. Blanch and freeze. Beats bolt and bolt.