This section is from the book "Commercial Gardening Vol4", by John Weathers (the Editor). Also available from Amazon: Commercial Gardening, A Practical & Scientific Treatise For Market Gardeners.
A British perennial of the Spinach family. It grows up to 2 1/2 ft. high, and has long-stalked, arrow-shaped leaves rather thick and fleshy in texture, with a frosted or crystalline appearance on the under surface. It grows in any garden soil, but does best in rich ground. From April to June the succulent shoots, often as thick as the little finger, are eaten in some parts of the kingdom, notably in Lincolnshire, in lieu of Asparagus. They are boiled in plenty of water, and are served up on toast, or with melted butter, gravy, meat, etc. The plants may be raised from seeds or by division in early spring, and are planted in rows about 18 in. apart, and 1 ft. from each other.