Warrigal Greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides) are an Australian native spinach that was popular with early settlers. They are fast becoming a popular green with Aussie chefs too and can be used in the home kitchen. We have Warrigal Spinach growing in the veggie patch at Booyong and have propagated some to plant in the Bush tucker food forest.
Growing – Warrigal greens are a perennial groundcover plant (30cm high * 2 metres across) that will grow in both sunny and shady spots. They are a hardy plant, tolerant to hot weather, wind and frost and grow in all soils, preferring well drained. They can be grown successfully in the ground or pots and are a wonderful weed suppressor.
Care – No care required, it just keeps growing and is a low maintenance plant.
Pruning – Warrigal Spinach will naturally die back during Winter and re-emerge each Spring.
Companion Planting – Warrigal spinach has a shallow root system and can be grown under trees that don’t generally like competition, which is beneficial.
Lizards (and snakes I imagine) naturally love to hide in the foliage.
Pests and Diseases – Snails, slugs and caterpillars only during consistent wet weather. We haven’t noticed any of these pests as long as we’ve had Warrigal greens growing at Booyong.
Harvest – Remove leaves as required throughout the year. Small green Flowers emerge in Spring and Summer and are also edible.
Warrigal Greens break down quickly, so if they are growing abundantly add them to your compost or worm farm to recycle them into garden.
Propagation – When warrigal greens self-seed, let the seeds dry on the plant before collecting. Plant seeds in Spring (germinate in 10 – 20 days) and similarly to beetroot and spinach soak seeds overnight before planting.
Health Benefits – Warrigal greens are a highly nutritious tonic food, rich in antioxidants, protein and B12. Warrigal Spinach is rich in oxalates (too many can reduce mineral absorption and affect kidneys), so it is recommended they be blanched in boiling water for 10-15 seconds (refresh in cold water) or cooked prior to eating.
Eating – Warrigal spinach can be used in many recipes where you would use spinach, silver beet, chard and asian greens. It is also a popular vegetable to be added to stir fry, can be used in quiches or blanched and added to a green smoothie. Don’t forget our favourite, Warrigal Spinach pesto is delicious!
Chickens love the warrigal spinach leaves too, it has so many uses.