Efo Shoko (Lagos Spinach)
Efo Shoko (sometimes called Lagos Spinach or Nigerian Spinach) is a type of Celosia eaten in soups, stews, and side dishes in parts of Nigeria, Benin, Congo, and Cameroon, as well as in Indonesia and India. Shoko leaves can be all green or more colorful, like this particular strain, and are harvested along with the young stems and flower spikes. A member of the Amaranth family, it is believed to be native to Africa and is easy to grow in climates with suitable soil moisture, attracting few pests or diseases and thriving in heat, unlike many other common greens. Our seeds come from a local farmer friend who grows Shoko for a Liberian customer.
Days to maturity: 30-60
Seeds per pack: 275
Germination rate: 91% on 01/29/2021
Planting / harvesting notes
Expect germination between 8-14 days, and fast growth after that. At this point on our farm, celosia reseeds itself. We thin plants to about 2' space in each direction. Harvest cut flowers as they mature, and allow side branches to bloom for continual harvest until frost.
Seed keeping notes
Celosia is wind pollinated. Isolate by a minimum of 500 feet or cover the flowers with corn tassel bags to prevent unwanted cross pollination with other celosia of the same species. Seeds are ready when they start dropping from the seed head, which matures after the flower dies back. You can cut the whole seed head and hang it to dry and mature further in a dry, ventilated place, or you can shake it while still on the plant every day or two, as the seeds ripen at different times starting from the bottom to the tip. Either way, shake the plant in a bucket to release the seeds. Use a strainer to sift out the larger chaff. Use your breath, wind, or fans to winnow off lighter weight chaff.