To grow mulukiyah / molokhia is easy; it really is one of the easiest and quickest crops to grow in the summer. It’s mostly eaten as a thick (dare I say it, ‘slimy’) broth, though I personally prefer it pan-fried with garlic or caramelized onions, with a drizzle of lemon.
Besides being easy to grow, Mulukhiyah is nutritious; the leaves are rich in folate, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, vitamin C and more than 32 vitamins and minerals!
It is also known as jute or Jew’s mallow, and is from the same family as okra (malvaceae).
Are you ready to grow Mulukhiyah this summer at home with little effort?
Grow Mulukhiyah in your home garden in 7 easy steps
1. As always, sow Mulukhiyah in season!
Mulukhiyah is a summer crop.
If you live in the Levant, grow in the months: April-September.
If you live in the Gulf, grow in the months: October to November and again from February-April.
Depending on where you live, the temperature will either be more temperate (like the Levant) or more arid/desert (like the Gulf and the interior of North Africa) and so follow the guidelines above.
2.Soil: Grow Mulukhiyah preferably in the ground, or in a raised bed
If growing in a raised bed use potting soil made for growing vegetables, and which will contain peat moss, compost, wood chips, tree bark and vermiculite/perlite. You can amend with additional compost, about two inches thick.
If growing in the ground, amend your soil with compost, about two inches (30%) and peat moss (10%).
3. Mulukhiyah likes the Sun
Mulukhiyah needs full sun, so make sure you plant it in an area that receives 8 hours of full sun.
4. Mulukhiyah Seeds
The quality of your seed matters – so order from a reputable source. In Kuwait, you can find good quality organic Mulukhiyah seeds from plantnmore. In the UAE, you can check out Green Souq.
5. Sow Mulukhiyah by Broadcast
Final Spacing between one plant and the next: 4cm
The most common way to sow Mulukhiyah seeds is by broadcast, which is basically to drop the seeds as if you were spreading it to feed birds. Next, cover them lightly with 1cm of soil. In 2 weeks, thin them (cut them) with scissors (or by hand) so that each plant is roughly 4-5cm away from the other.
6. Service with care
Mulukhiyah does not need much care. If affected by insects that create holes in the leaf, you can use neem oil or a stronger pyrethrin-based spray.
7. Savour Mulukhiyah as soup, stir-fry or in a sauce!
Mulukhiyah is so great because not only is it easy and nutritious, it also grows very quickly. Mulukhiyah will be ready to harvest in about 42 days! The leaves are either cooked in a stew or fried in a pan. Some also prefer to dry the leaves and crush them for use in a tomato-based sauce. Yum!
You can harvest mulukhiyah in one of three ways:
1. Cut the stem at about 6 inches from the ground. And the plant will give again for at-least two further cuttings. Cut each plant once every three weeks.
- Cut off the side shoots only, leaving the main stem as is, and to continue to harvest the new side shoots.
- Harvest the entire plant by pulling it at its root. And then plant some more Mulukhiyah in its place.
If you would like a continuous supply (of approximately 2 months) of Mulukhiyah, sow your seeds every week for a total of three sowings.
By the way, if you need more advice on how to start a garden, refer to our six secrets to starting a garden!
Mulukhiyah: Good tips to know
- Mulukhiyah grows tall, and takes up space, so careful to plant it on the north-side of your bed/plot so it doesn’t cast a shadow on plants (as it would if it were planted on the south-side)
- The picking of the leaves from the stem is a time-consuming task, so be prepared! Come to think of it, you may not want a continuous supply all through the summer, unless picking leaves for an hour each sitting is something you enjoy very much!
Do you grow mulukhiyah? How do you like to eat it? If you haven’t tried it before, will you be sowing your first mulukhiyah seeds this summer? 💚
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