Waterleaf (Efo Gbure)
Waterleaf is known as Efo Gbure in Yoruba and is a very important leafy vegetable in Nigeria. They were once considered to be in the Purslane family and are sometimes called Surinam Purslane. Like purslane, they are sprawling (yet more upright), producing succulent leaves and stems that are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals. They have beautiful pink star-shaped flowers and brittle seed pods that burst open, sending their seeds far and wide. For many people who themselves have dispersed far into the African Diaspora, this plant offers healing, nutrition, and a connection to home.
Also known as: ̩fó̩ gbúre, Mgbolodi, Ebe–dondon, Alenruwa, Philippine spinach, sweetheart, flame flower, Florida spinach, Ceylon spinach, cariru, Surinam purslane, potherb fameflower, Lagos bologi.
Days to maturity: 28-42
Seeds per pack: 225-250
Germination rate: 45% on 12/29/2020 (below standard)
Planting / harvesting notes
Sow seeds indoors 4 weeks before the last frost and transplant outdoors in warm, fertile, well-drained soil 2-3 weeks after the last frost. Alternatively, sow directly on the soil, barely covering the seeds. You could harvest the early leaves, but it is better to wait until the plant gets 6-12" tall, so that it can more easily regrow more leaves.
Seed keeping notes
After flowering, round green seed pods will gradually form on the stems. As the pods start to bend towards the soil, it signals that they are about to explode and distribute their seeds widely. Harvest these stems before too many pods explode, and lay them out to continue maturing. Place a paper or sheet above the seed pods so that they do not explode their seeds all over your home. After a week or two, whack the stalks against the side of a bucket to release more seeds, and strain them from the plant material.