I need to confess to not being a fan of prepared spinach. I like my spinach raw in salads. Thankfully, it is as easy to grow as lettuce. It always has a location in my spring and fall plantings.
What is Spinach?
Spinach is a yearly plant that is native to Iran and associated to swiss chard and beets. It is grown for its leaves which can be eaten either raw or prepared. It is an outstanding source of numerous vitamins consisting of A, B, C, E and K. It also contains magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium. It is precious by vegans and lactose intolerant individuals for its calcium content.
Spinach is available in 2 varieties: Savoy and Flat-Leaf. Savoy spinach has wrinkled leaves. Its downside is that soil hides in those wrinkles and is challenging to rinse before eating. Flat-Leaf spinach has smooth leaves that are easy to tidy after harvest. Modern hybridizers have developed a 3rd hybrid spinach called Semi-Savoy. The leaves are less wrinkled than Savoy and easier to clean.
How to Grow Spinach from Seed.
Spinach is a cool season plant that is grown in the spring and fall. In warmer areas, it can be wintered over if greatly mulched. The seeds are best direct sown rather than started inside since the seedlings do not endure transplanting. For finest germination, the soil ought to be cooler than 70 ⁰ F.
The plants grow extremely quickly so they are heavy feeders who take advantage of additional nitrogen. You can provide this by changing your soil before sowing your seeds with blood meal, cotton seed meal, composted manure, timed release fertilizer or liquid fertilizer. Fish emulsion and soy meal are likewise great options.
In the spring, plant your seeds 4 to 6 weeks prior to your last frost. In the fall, plant them 6 to 8 weeks prior to your first frost. Plant them 1/2 inch deep in rows 12 to 18 inches apart. If you are not seeding in rows, you can merely transmit your seeds over a location or in a container.
Keep the soil moist till germination. When your seedlings have their real leaves, you can thin the plants to 6 inches apart. Do not compost those thinnings! They make excellent salad mendings.
How to Grow Spinach.
Spinach prefers temperature levels that are in between 35 ⁰ F and 75 ⁰ F. You can attempt to lengthen the spring growing season by growing your plants in a partial shade spot or planted among taller vegetables that will shade it as they grow. Spinach isn’t simply conscious the temperature, however. It’s also sensitive to day-length. In the spring, the plants will begin to bolt when the days are longer than 14 hours. Spinach is a fantastic fall crop because it loves the cool temperature levels and brief days of the fall season. It can tolerate temperature levels as low as the teens and low 20s.
When the weather condition warms and the days get longer, spinach will bolt. Bolting ways that it begins to flower which likewise signifies the end of the plant’s life. You will notice that your plants are getting high and spindly. Eventually they will send up a stalk that flowers. The flowers are small and yellow-green in color. Once the plants bolt, they become too bitter to consume. You must gather the whole plant by pulling it out of the ground prior to the flowers open.
How to Harvest Spinach.
You can start harvesting leaves when they have actually reached your desired size. Do not allow them to get too big though. The leaves become bitter when they develop. The majority of gardeners harvest in a “cut and return” style, cutting the external leaves and leaving the leaves in the middle to continue to grow. You can likewise collect the whole plant. If you sufficed one inch above the soil, it will grow back for a second harvest.
How to Shop Spinach.
Newly gathered spinach starts to lose its nutritional worth after a couple of days. Refrigeration will extend the dietary values for up to 8 days. Spinach is sensitive to the ethylene gas given off by some fruits. Do not store it with tomatoes, melons or apples. Spinach leaves can be frozen for approximately 8 months. Provide your leaves an excellent wash, pat dry and after that freeze them either raw or after blanching them.