Red Malabar Spinach and Alyssum

To eat my Red Malabar spinach, I pull the leaves off the vine at staggered intervals and enjoy it in a salad or as a treat in a stir-fry.

Greetings fellow gardeners,  

Last night there was a huge, loud thunderstorm and suddenly I found myself covered in too-many cats. The dog slept through it. The rain was so welcome, and I fell back asleep listening to the tapping of the rain and the distant growls of thunder. This morning the air was fresh and cool, and I now have to admit that fall is coming up fast. It is time for me to start walking through my garden and to decide what is working and what needs to go. 

Brussel Sprouts

My brussels sprouts started out with great promise. I started the seeds early and planted them into pots that were in full sun. If I were to use pots for brussels sprouts again I would use larger ones. I think this is a vegetable that really prefers to be direct sown. My brussels sprout plants were devastated by cabbage worms. The chickens loved the worms, but the brussels sprouts plants never got the chance to grow to their potential. In future, I will cover the plants to prevent the worms from taking over. This is a vegetable that I would really like to grow so I am adding it to my list for next year.


The alyssum I planted was a great success. I tried a couple of the coloured ones, a purple and a pink and although they flagged in the heat of summer they bounced back after a trim. The old standby white alyssum was excellent. It has grown and produced beautiful honey-scented flowers since mid-June. Alyssum, as far as I am concerned, is a perfect plant for attracting beneficial insects and pollinators. It attracts predatory insects that eat aphids, insect eggs and mites and it attracts parasitic wasps who lay eggs on all the nasty pests you do not want. Alyssum also attracts hoverflies which feed on aphids as well as bees, butterflies, and moths. I love the scent of this plant. It smells like sweet honey. You can eat the flowers which have a peppery almost nasturtium flavour.

A purple alyssum in full bloom
  Purple Alyssum
A white alyssum plant in full bloom
  One white alyssum plant in a tomato pot

Red Malabar Spinach

One of my most favourite vegetables in my garden is my Red Malabar spinach. It is delicious and grows as a vine. It looks stunning on a trellis or a fence and the little flowers are beautiful. To eat it I pull the leaves off the vine at staggered intervals and enjoy it in a salad or as a treat in a stir-fry. Eventually the sweet little pink flowers will turn into dark seeds that look almost like berries. Be patient and tug gently to see if they are ready. I like to let them dry before storing them. I place the dark seeds on paper towels to dry but you can clean the gel off them if you like. They are like tomato seeds in that way. If the paper towel sticks just plant the seed with the paper towel attached. The seed for this spinach is not always available so it is a good idea to collect it if you can.

Red Malabar Spinach seeds on their vine with a hand as background
  Red Malabar spinach forming seeds

Start looking around your garden to see what is working for you or ‘sparking joy’ and make plans to include it in next year’s garden. Enjoy your week.  Judith. 

Contact Judith through her Website Find more weekly Veggie Bites experiences on the Veggie Bites page.


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