Growing Spinach

One Of Nature's Superfoods

Growing spinach is one of the best things you can do if you want maximum food value out of your vegetable gardening. The nutritional value of spinach plants is quite exceptional. It's particularly rich in iron and antioxidants. Spinach is one of those dark green vegetables we hear so many positive things about.

There are a few spinach varieties to choose from, and some new sorts can handle heat better. Bloomsdale spinach is an heirloom savoy variety which is slow to bolt.

Warrigal Greens, or New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides), is not related to the regular popeye spinach. It's a good alternative for drought affected or hot areas, where planting spinach is more difficult.

Chinese Spinach is another plant which isn't related to true spinach. The term usually refers to leafy asian greens such as Malabar Spinach or Ong Choy.

How To Grow Spinach, Spinacea oleracia

Starting: The spinach seeds germinate within three weeks. Thin seedlings to give them a space of 10 - 15 cm.

Soil: Well draining, rich compost or loam.

Climate: In warmer climates sow seeds between late summer and early winter. Spinach goes to seed too quickly in hot weather, although more heat resistant varieties are now available. In cooler areas spinach can be sown in early spring.

Watering: Regular and thorough watering is important. Mulch the plants to preserve soil moisture.

Fertilizing: Feed well to promote fast growth.

Harvesting spinach: Pick the outside spinach leaves and save the central shoots to develop and grow. Chop off the whole plant when the flowers buds start to appear. The stalk left will sprout again.

Containers: Pots at least 20 cm deep are suitable for planting spinach.

Shady areas: The spinach plant actually enjoys some partial shade, particularly in warmer climates.

Pests and diseases: Slugs and snails, caterpillars occasionally. Spinach plants don't usually attract many pests.

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