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Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus) bare root plant

£6.99

Bare root plant with small shoots just emerging – UK SHIPPING ONLY FOR THIS ITEM

Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus) is a wonderful edible herbaceous perennial that produces deep green spinach like leaves. It is native to many areas of central and southern Europe and has naturalised in other temperate regions. A very useful hardy plant that has been used as a green vegetable for centuries. It’s an essential part of any perennial vegetable garden. Young leaves can be harvested from early spring to mid summer. Young unopened flowering shoots can also be picked in summer and cooked like asparagus. Bare root plant, these have been grown on in a nursery bed over winter and have more established roots than our potted ones. Please follow the planting advice in the main description.

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Good King Henry (Blitum bonus-henricus) is a wonderful edible herbaceous perennial that produces deep green spinach like leaves. It is native to many areas of central and southern Europe and has naturalised in other temperate regions. A very useful hardy plant that has been used as a green vegetable for centuries. It's an essential part of any perennial vegetable garden. Young leaves can be harvested from early spring to mid summer. Young unopened flowering shoots can also be picked in summer and cooked like asparagus. Bare root plant, these have been grown on in a nursery bed over winter and have more established roots than our potted ones. Please follow the planting advice in the main description.

About

Good King Henry is also called English mercury or just mercury (sometimes ‘markery’ in Lincolnshire) It is also known as Lincolnshire spinach, all-good, poor-man’s asparagus, perennial goosefoot, and mercury goosefoot. There is some evidence that it has probably been in continuous use in Britain from Medieval times. Although its popularity died out in the last century its use is still within the living memory of communities especially in Lincolnshire. It makes a fantastic addition to any perennial vegetable garden and also supports many insects especially moths.

How to grow

Good King Henry is fairly unfussy about soils but prefers nitrogen-rich, fairly well-drained soil. Ours grow well in a spot that has part sun, part dappled shade during the day. Plants can grow up to 1m tall and need a spacing of about 60cm. Plants die right back in autumn and new shoots emerge very early in the new year. These are some of the most resilient plants we grow, free of pests and diseases and survivors of drought and freezing temperatures. Hardy down to about -20 degrees C.

Harvesting and eating

Harvest the young leaves from early spring to mid-summer and the young unopened flowering shoots from mid-spring to early summer and cook like asparagus. Use as spinach in any dish. Leaves can be steeped in salt water for 30 mins and then rinsed before cooking. They can be steamed, sautéed, stir fried and taste great in spiced dishes. Some people complain that the leaves are too bitter for them, but given the right treatment they can be a very tasty source of abundant greens. You can cut the plants back in the summer to get a flush of new growth. Interesting research is being done into Good King Henry seed as a potential perennial grain crop, harvesting it in a similar way to Quinoa.

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