by Ginnee Hancock
4 years ago I was given a small Brazilian spinach plant purchased at the local feria. A nice gesture, but what do you do with just one small spinach plant?
I decided to plant my gift and propagated it. It is easy to grow from cuttings, I lay the stem sideways in good mulched soil, dug in just enough to cover the stem, and I have left the leaves on. Give it some water each day and year after year you will have a rich fast growing crop.
Brazilian Spinach (Alternanthera sissoo) is also knowns as Poor Man's Spinach, Samba Lettuce, and Sissoo Spinach. It is a low growing perennial leaf vegetable, which forms a neat mound. It is used as tropical spinach, suitable for subtropical and tropical areas only. It is a tasty wet-season green leafy vegetable, for us it is for all seasons. I love it cooked in stews, soups, stir-fries, in empanadas, with eggs or raw in salad. Use it as you would any other spinach.
It turns out that it is also a great ground cover. I began to notice that where the spinach grew, there were no weeds, so I started planting the spinach as ground cover. It is a beautiful rich dark green editable ground cover that requires almost no maintenance. Even better, the chickens like it as do the pigs.
That little spinach plant became a huge gift, we now have hundreds planted all over the farm as food and ground cover.