May 26, 2010

Grow your own Spinach 2010

Spinach seeds

PLANT: ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’ Spinach

 

A quality Heirloom variety that remains especially notable for its high yield. Dark green vigorous leaves are large, heavy and handsomely crinkled. Because they are held erect, they remain cleaner than those of other varieties that lie flat on the ground. Slow to bolt. A very popular variety for the home garden. 

 

Sow direct: April-July & September-October 10th April
Germination time: 10-14 days 1st seed sprouted 11th April
Ideal temperature: 10°C  
Harvest: January-December  
Time from seed to plate: 45 days  

 

SOW:

  • Spinach germinates best in cool soil.  Begin sowing in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked and frost free.  If you sow in mid-summer in hot dry weather you run the risk of low or erratic germination.   Sow in late July into September for an autumn crop. 
  • Sow seeds 1.5cm deep, 3cm apart, in rows 30cm apart and thin when large enough. 

GROW:

  • Sow more seeds once a month for a continuous supply.

CARE:

  • Water little and often to prevent bolting.
  • Feed with a liquid feed every 2-3 weeks.
  • Spinach grows on a wide range of soils if moist and fertile, but is sensitive to acidity.

HARVEST:

  • Harvest young spinach leaves during growth and full-size, but before bolting.  Cut just below root attachment for "rooted spinach", or cut higher for "clipped spinach."

 

APRIL 10TH:

10-04 Spinach

I sowed my first ever spinach seeds today. I laid a bamboo cane across the soil and pressed it down to create a drill 1.5cm deep and then I planted 1 seed every 3cm. The space I’ve allocated in the raised bed for the spinach is 33cm x 25cm. It’s not exactly a square foot but I’m hoping to follow the principle of square foot gardening and so I’m hoping to plant 3 rows of spinach successionally. I’m not sure how this is going to turn out, so it will be a bit of an experiment! After watering the seeds I covered them with a large propagator lid to protect them from being dug up.

 

APRIL 11TH:

11-04 Spinach

I was really surprised to find one of the spinach seeds had sprouted already!

 

I wasn’t expecting anything to happen for at least 10 days. I guess the conditions were pretty perfect for it to germinate as we’ve had quite a bit of sunshine lately, but it’s still quite cool at night.

 

I think the propagator lid must have helped too by trapping any warmth so it was like a mini greenhouse for the seeds.

 

Hopefully the rest of the seeds will quickly follow suit and I’ll be chomping on fresh spinach in no time!

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL 19TH:

19-04 Spinach 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a little confession to make. That first seed that sprouted on the 11th doesn’t seem to be spinach at all, as 2 new seeds have sprouted and they look nothing like the other one which had small round leaves (a lot like the Rocket and Little Gem seedlings). So I feel a little silly at my over-excitement, as surely nothing can sprout overnight?! It’s probably just a weed, which is a problem as I’m not very good at identifying the weeds and I have a tendency to scatter seeds at random. But I’m 99.9% sure that these 2 seedlings are spinach as they’re both in the correct row! I sowed some more seeds yesterday in another row about 10cm from the first, as I got a bit impatient. I’m mainly growing the spinach to use in salads, so I don’t mind if they don’t grow too big, hence the small space between rows.

APRIL 27TH:

27-04 Spinach

The weather has been glorious lately and the combination of lots of sun (and a little rain) has made a lot of things grow.

 

My first sowing of spinach is doing really well as nearly all the seeds germinated and are growing quite quickly now. A lot of the seeds from the second sowing I made on the 19th have also sprouted so I think I’ll have quite a lot of spinach in a few weeks time! But that’s all good as I’ll use them in salads as I managed to sneak some baby spinach leaves into Steve’s salad the other day and it turns out he quite liked them.

 

I’m still keeping the spinach covered with one of my large propagator lids, mainly to prevent anything digging up the seedlings, but it seems to be doing a great job of acting like a mini greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

MAY 1ST:

01-05 Spinach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t expect to be doing a blog post about the spinach so soon, but I was excited that the new leaves are spinach shaped, which means I should be able to start picking them soon!

 

My Dad has started attending gardening classes and he said they planted potatoes, onions and spinach, so hopefully he can give me some tips and we can compare progress.

may 26th:

26-5 Spinach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well the spinach has come on leaps and bounds since I last posted and is now ready for eating! With the first harvest I’ll probably make a nice salad with my first cutting of my Rocket leaves. I might have to dig up a couple of spinach plants because the beetroot seeds I sowed in the available space next to the spinach have now sprouted and need more space. I will definitely grow spinach again as it’s so easy and grows really quickly.

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