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EFN EXCLUSIVE. Hablitzia, or Caucasian Mountain Spinach, is a perennial, vining vegetable, hardy to zone 3, grown for its tasty leaves and shoots. It prefers full sun, but can also do well in partial shade, as its native habitat is in the understory of temperate forests. It can grow six to nine feet tall and will appreciate a trellis or bush/tree to climb up. Still relatively new to gardeners in this country, Hablitzia is quickly making a name for itself among agroecologists and permaculturists who desire low-input, high-yield perennial crops.
This breeding mix comes to us from our friend Andy Hahn in Colorado, who has brought together four different accessions, all of which are growing in close proximity to each other, therefore each seed packet will contain a high degree of genetic diversity. We hope many new varieties of this exciting plant will be brought forth from these seeds.
We urge all growers who order these seeds to sign up to Andy's Hablitzia Improvement Project on the EFN website so we can expand the community of amateur plant breeders working with this awesome perennial vegetable!
GROWING TIPS:The best way to germinate seeds (from our experience) is to plant them just below the surface of moist seed starting mix in a small, covered dish and place in the refrigerator. The seeds will sprout within about a month, at which point they should be removed from the fridge and brought outside (but watch they don't get fried in the sun those first few days). Seeds require cool temperatures to germinate. If they don't sprout after a month, take them outside anyway, and they will probably sprout soon after. Young seedlings are tiny and fragile, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out or overheat. Plants will be small their first year, but will grow larger in each subsequent year, eventually forming a big clump. Put in a location where they can climb extensively.