Amaranthus sp., popularly known as “Kulitis” or “uray na babae” is used in the country as a substitute for the true spinach, Spinach oleracea Linn. Kulitis
Is commonly known as Philippine spinach.
The local spinach is an annual leafy weed vegetable dispersed or propagated by seeds. It grows erect with several branches when full grown. The leaves are large and ovate. The flowers ar borne at the terminal buds and leaf axils.
Kulitis is rich in vitamins A and C , potash and phosphorous. They are prepared as salads, either green or blanched, or blended with other vegetables.
The varieties of kulitis recommended for cultivation are:
Native – this variety is spiny but soft, especially when still young , the leaves are medium size with green upper surface and stem are reddish.
Tiger leaf- The leaves are variegated. They are large, soft and tender. This variety is spineless.
Baguio spinach or green, broad and almost oval in shape. The young plants and leaves are succulent and tender. The plants are spineless and are claimed to be of superior quality.
The crop can be grown throughout the year in all parts of the country provided there is enough moisture in the soil. It is tolerant to high temperature. It can be grown in any type of soil. But for commercial production , a well-drained sandy loam to clay soil type, fairly rich in organic matter is preferred.
How to plant
Prepare the land thoroughly.
In home gardens, slightly elevated plots are made. The seeds are broadcast, drilled or raised in seed boxes.
In drill planting, the distance between rows is about 15 to 20 cm. Thinning and transplanting of seedlings are done when the plants reach the height of about 5 cm to 8 cm at a distance of about 10 cm in a row. Transplant the seedlings in the afternoon or during cloudy days.
Water the plants after transplanting to encourage early recovery of the plants and prevent mortality.
Cultivate lightly to kill weeds and also to allow green succulent and tender plants to develop.
Apply fertilizer after the plants have recovered from the effects of transplanting. Use 300 to 400 kg of ammonium sulphate, or 150 to 200 kg of urea. Otherwise, the use of compost or organic fertilizer is recommended.
In direct seeding, use one-half of the required amount of fertilizer at seedling stage and add the other half after seven to ten days.
After harvesting the first crop , cultivate and fertilize the field. Allow only one (1) to two (2) shoots of the plant to grow. Ratooning is done repeatedly as long as the plants produce marketable shoots.