Orach is a species of plant in the amaranth family. Native to Asia and Europe, it was commonly grown in Mediterranean regions since ancient times until spinach became the more favoured leaf vegetable. It has a salty, spinach-like taste. The leaves are used cooked or in salads. The leaves appear in red, white and green varieties. It is commonly grown as a warm-weather alternative to spinach because it is more tolerant of heat and slower to bolt in warm weather.

Growing calendar for orach

Regina Walker

Richard Walker. Photo: Sara Heitlinger


Seed Guardian, Spitalfields City Farm

I’m a community gardener at Spitalfields City Farm. I’m responsible for a little area of land, 0.167 acre, a community garden. And I run workshops on that land as well as growing vegetables on that...

Where the seeds came from
The green orach came from a seed company last year, and I saved them. So they’re from here.

How to grow
Orach will germinate slightly colder than calaloo so you might get away with sowing it in April. Somewhere between March and May really. You could bring it on in modules inside or put it straight in the ground. Doing it first of all inside means that you’ll protect it from the slugs and the snails until they get a bit bigger. And you can start it earlier because you’re moderating the temperature a little bit. Once you get it outside, you’re waiting for it to be about a foot tall. And then you snap the tops off to create a bush.

Regina on Orach