The tetragon in summary :
Latin names : Tetragonia expansa, Tetragonia tetragonoids
Common names : Tetragon, New Zealand spinach
Family : Aizoaceae
Type : Leaf vegetable
Height : about 1 m
Planting distance : 80 cm
Exposure : Sunny
Ground : Limestone to neutral, light, humus
Planting : April May
Harvest : July to October
The tetragon is an annual plant with many benefits : she is simple to cultivate, support the drought and, therefore, can easily replace our classic vegetable garden spinach. Its taste is, in fact, very similar to the leafy vegetable that we are used to eating. This characteristic and its country of origin have given it its other name: "New Zealand spinach".
Planting the tetragon
Even if it is not complicated to cultivate, the tetragon nevertheless requires a worked soil to flourish. Therefore, in the fall before planting, you will need to do a few amendments. You will also need to reserve a place for it hot and sunny.
To prepare the soil in your vegetable garden for New Zealand spinach, you need to:
- Bring the humus (or organic matter) in the form of well-decomposed compost or manure.
- If your soil is too clayey, incorporate sand to lighten the earth. If you have a stove or fireplace, you can also mix your ashes Of wood.
- Loosen the ground by digging it with a fork-spade.
Sowing and planting:
To plant the tetragon, you have two possibilities:
Directly in the ground
In the middle of spring, ie around April-May, prepare your seedlings by soaking your seeds for 24 hours before sowing them. The next day, divide a few seeds into line or in pockets, but still separated by at least 80 cm.
Germination in cup and transplanting
To save a little time, you can also prepare your seedlings from the beginning of spring (March). To do this, wet the seeds for 24 hours and then sow them in buckets or in terrine. The substrate used should consist of potting soil and sand mixed together. After a few weeks, when the seedlings have 2-3 leaves, select the most vigorous and transplant them in the ground. However, the operation should preferably take place when the last frost has passed.
Cultivation and maintenance of the tetragon
Although it tolerates heat and lack of rain well, the Tetragon still needs water to thrive. So you will have to watch watering and particularly in the event of prolonged drought.
Diseases and pests:
The tetragon is resistant to disease. On the other hand, it can be attacked by snails and slugs. It is especially tender young shoots that will be targeted as a priority.
Harvest and conservation
Depending on the sowing period, the harvest can occur as early as July and last until the first frosts (October-November).
Once picked, the leaves can keep a few days in the refrigerator.
The tetragon in the kitchen
Cooked or raw, the leaves of the tetragon work well in many ways:
- floods, they can be enjoyed in salads;
- cooked, you can prepare them in the same way as spinach.