Good King Henry

Good King Henry

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A tasty permaculture staple.

Perennial in Zone 3-9, also known as
Lincolnshire Spinach and Fat Hen. Used as a potherb, one of the first greens of spring and one of the last of fall. Ancient plant used in festive meals, in meat dishes and as a side dish, very popular in Europe before it was supplanted by spinach.

Not named for any specific king, instead Henry comes from the germanic haganrich (literally ‘king of the hedge,’ supposedly a name for a gremlin with goose’s feet that helps around the house and puts things where they belong. We all could use one of those!).

Considered a great delicacy. Gather shoots while they are still tender at about 5" high, peel and boil, then use like asparagus. Or harvest the dark green arrow-shaped leaves like and use spinach. Beloved by chickens, both for the greens and the oil-rich seeds.

Prefers rich soil in semi-shady areas, though will grow in full sun. Requires a year of growth before leaves can be harvested. If left uncut, center stalks grow to 2½'