Orache, Magenta SpreenArtiplex hortensis och Chenopodium giganteum
The kinds of orach we grow belong to the same family but different sorts, Atriplex and Chenopodium. Atriplex has flowers of one sex while the other one has flowers of two sexes. Many, today, consider the orach a weed, but throughout history it played a very important role as food for both people and animals.
The orach originally comes from areas of salty steppe and sea shore but through the past millennia it has adapted itself to most areas in the temperate zone where certain species have followed the tracks of mankind. They have been used both as nourishing food and important medicine and were grown quite extensively before the spinach arrived and pushed away most of that cultivation.
The orach contains most of the nutrients we need, iron, calcium, vitamins C and A, are some of the nutrients the orach is full of. The cultivated kinds of orach, chiefly the garden orach thrive in moisture retaining nourishing soil of high pH-value, where they can grow more than 1 m tall and yield an abundance of leaves. Read more about co-planting in the chapter on spinach.
SOWING: Sow in spring when the soil has warmed up a bit and then gradually until July about 1 cm deep. Do not allow the sowing to dry out.
SPACING: Keep 20-50 cm between the plants and at least 50 cm between the rows!
HARVEST: Clip or cut off the leaves continuously! If the top is cut off new branches grow which can be cut off in their turn. If it is not allowed to begin to bloom the orach can be harvested during the whole summer. After the blooming, if there is one, the seeds will be spread with the wind. They easily winter over and early self-sown seedlings are the first delicacies from the garden. These tasty, mild leaves are used raw in salads and sandwiches but also cooked in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, pies and so on.
SEEDS: Artiplex has about 150 seeds/g, Chenopdium about 500 seeds/g. One portion sows 5-10 m.