Spinach Alternatives: Warm Weather Salad Greens

| 7/8/2008 12:23:00 PM

Tags: warm weather salad greens, growing greens, warm weather gardening, spinach alternatives,

Is it too hot now to grow spinach where you live? You may know that there are a couple varieties of spinach that can withstand high temperatures, but there are also several other excellent greens that can easily take the place of spinach in your garden and in your diet. Try growing one of these nine tasty and nutritious varieties this summer.


Patience Dock*
Rumex patientia

Perennial to Zone 4; Produces new flushes of edible leaves each time it is cut back; Learn more about patience dock here  Tolerates partial shade. Clip off flower stalks as they form to prevent reseeding.

Golden Purslane*
Portulaca oleracea

Lemon-flavored juicy leaves add crunch to salads; Warm-season annual; Learn more about purslane here  Sow in late spring in beds or containers. Pinch back often to prevent reseeding.

Perpetual spinach,
spinach chard
Beta vulgaris ssp cicla

Actually a compact, green-leafed Swiss chard; quite popular in European gardens Direct-sow from mid to late spring. Plant fall crop in late summer.

Garden sorrel*
Rumex acetosa

Perennial to Zone 4; produces tangy leaves for cooking; 'Profusion' does not produce seeds; Learn more about sorrel here  Tolerates partial shade. Clip off flowers as they fade to prevent reseeding.

Chenopodium giganetum

Young leaves of "Mexican tree spinach" taste like spinach; Plants can grow to 6 feet Leaves of 'Magenta Spreen' are splashed with pink.  Prune as needed to prevent reseeding.

Atriplex hortensis

Needs an early start, like spinach, but easier to grow and tolerates partial shade Red-leafed varieties make great edible ornamentals.

Vegetable amaranth*
Amaranthus species

New leaves make tender and nutritious cooked greens; often added to Caribbean soups; Learn more about amaranth here  Sow after soil is warm. Pinch back often to push out new growth and prevent reseeding.

New Zealand spinach*
Tetragonia tetragonoides

Young growing tips taken from sprawling plants resemble spinach when cooked Direct-sow from mid to late spring. 

Malabar spinach
Basella rubra

Vigorous twining vine from India produces glossy edible leaves with fair flavor Sow in early summer, and train to grow on pillar or post.

*These plants can become weedy, so maintain tight control on reseeding. Grow responsibly!

To learn more about growing spinach, browse our archive here. And if you have any favorite hot weather greens of your own, please use the comments section below to tell us about them.

4/11/2010 2:18:47 PM

Thanks for the spinach alternatives; I will definitely look for them to try here in Phoenix. We grow Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach, which is a slow-bolting variety, over the winter until it gets hot. But greens are a problem in the summer for sure. As JD mentioned, Swiss Chard is a great choice in hot areas. We plant "Bright Lights" in October and it keeps going until about July. I also found broccoli rabe to be a good choice for spring, as the flower stalks are the main attraction.

kirk a
9/25/2009 7:06:18 PM

Getting ready to plant in southwest fl.Looking for Ideas and types of veggies that will do well.

tosha delfeld
9/19/2009 7:12:48 PM

I live in Nevada, where the spinach bolts almost instantly it seems like. I find that most greens have edible flowers. I particularly like the spicy spinach flowers, so when the spinach starts to bolt, I just eat the flowers! I actually get quite a lot of tastiness out of my spinach, even though I really don't get many leaves. The only thing is, if there are aphids in your garden, you have to check the flowers a lot closer than the leaves, especially non-mustard family greens. Thanks for the suggestions - I'm looking forward to trying them next year!

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9/3/2009 9:31:34 AM

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3/1/2009 8:37:51 PM

Don't forget mustard spinach 'Tendergreen'! It is light green, mildly flavored (almost like lettuce), and smooth--some people who dislike spinach like this. Extremely high in Vitamins A and C, and can be used exactly like spinach, although it has no Vitamin K. Good source of calcium, iron and potassium. It will also overwhelm other greens in a planting, is fairly bolt resistant and open pollinated.

edwin smith_1
2/17/2009 4:54:51 PM

if you want a very good small tomato (golf ball size) try jolly . it will out do juliet, goes on into the heat better. it is one of the best tasting tomatoes i have eaten. it is getting harder to find it. it is an all american winner. try it you will like it edwin smith ees-mes8280@sbcglobal.net

pam d._2
7/29/2008 9:04:42 PM

Komatsuna is also a great spinach-like veggie for hot summers. It does great in our Central Florida summer veggie garden. I have pictures posted in my blog --> http://gardeningfool.blogspot.com Thanks for your wonderful site! Pam

pierre brunet_1
7/19/2008 7:35:06 AM

I plant spinash for the first time this year, being one week on vacation away from my garden, I came back and my spinash was growing to 2 feet hight and going on flowers, what shoud I do now ?

7/18/2008 11:46:26 AM

Here in high desert of New Mexico the summers can be brutal on edible greens. I've found that in addition to the use of shade cloth for regular lettuces and spinach, Swiss Chard ("Bright Lights") is extremely hardy in the full sun.

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