Richer in protein that other leafy vegetables, possessing a high Vitamin A content; it does not deserve the reputation it has for bad performance, if its cultural requirements are met it will behave itself. The recipe for success is to grow it in rich soil, having plenty of moisture holding material (compost), to sow it at the right time, thin it out early in its career and to prevent the soil from drying out.
Conditions for Growth
Soil to be in “good heart”, well endowed with compost etc, and on the heavy side. This crop is shade tolerant but that does not mean you should look for a shady place for it; rather keep in mind that it needs shading from scorching sunlight if possible.
Except for a dressing of general fertilizer, no further treatment should be required if the preparation has followed the pattern advocated generally for leaf beets.
The bolt resistant varieties are best obtained such as “SIGMALEAF”, “LONGSTANDING” or any of the new F1 hybrids, and the drill are drawn 25mm deep, 30cm apart; sowing 3 seeds at 22cm intervals, (germination of this crop is never satisfactory) thinning to the best seedling as early as possible.
Drawing 75mm deep drills or vee furrows and sowing at the bottom of these so that water may be flooded along the drills is sometimes practiced.
Several sowings may be required to provide continuity; maturity takes about 9 weeks, keep the hoe going, the soil moist and look out for pests.