This variety is typical of the alpine region of Italy in Piemonte. Spinach is not considered to be Italian, like the tomato or basil, but Italians love it and use it with ricotta, to make ravioli and cannelloni alla Piemontesi, and also torta di spinaci, one of the specialities of Emilia Romagna (Parma). This delicious pie is made with spinach, egg, toasted pine nuts and parmesan. Merlo Nero or blackbird has very tender leaves and is also delicious eaten raw, making a nice addition to salads.
Annual: Sow seeds outside 1cm deep directly into well-prepared fertile ground from the end of February to May and again later in the season from the end of August to October. Avoid sowing in the summer as it is likely to bolt (go to seed). It can be cut and will regrow a couple of times.