Spinach

How to Grow Spinach:

Spinach, growing spinach in the garden, oranically growing spinach, home grown spinachSpinach may be best known by some as the ‘super food’ Popeye the Sailor ate to get super strength and save Olive Oyl from the evil Bluto.  Although the benefits of spinach were greatly exaggerated, it is very nutritious and packed with vitamins, particularly Vitamin A.  Native to Persia, it was introduced to China around 647 A.D. and wasn’t introduced into Europe until around 100 A.D. through Spain, by the Moors.

We love to add our home-grown spinach to our salads, or use it to make a green smoothy. The taste and texture are much better than spinach from the store making it well worth the little space it takes in the garden.

Planting and Growing Spinach:

Spinach, growing spinach in the garden, home grown spinach, oranic spinachSpinach grows best in cool weather at the beginning and end of the season. Sow directly outdoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost or as soon as the soil can be worked.  Fall crops can be planted 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost date.  Sow in small succession plantings, spaced about 10 days apart.

Thin seedlings to one plant every 12 to 18 inches (30 to 42 cm).  They can be grown in full sun or in partial shade.  In the summer, plants will produce longer if shaded by a companion plant, as the warm weather turns the taste bitter and will cause the plant to bolt.

Plant the spinach in fertile, loose soil that has been enriched in the fall with 1 inch (2.5 cm) organic compost.  If Spinach receives too much nitrogen, it will have a sharp, metallic flavor.  Only add nitrogen if the leaves turn a pale green or yellow color.  Spinach also only needs light, even watering.

Harvesting and Preserving Spinach:

Begin harvesting spinach as soon the leaves are big enough to use. It can also harvest by cutting 1-inch (2.5 cm) above the soil to encourage a new plant to re-grow.  Spinach leaves do not store long, so use the plant when it is harvested.  Store unused leaves immediately in the refrigerator in unsealed bags.

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