Are You Growing Spinach Yet?

I recently bought a big package of nothing but spinach.  Beautiful, brilliant dark green – looks so healthy that I wanted to be a rabbit and start right in!  Then I read the package description.  Listen to this by Dr. Steven Pratt:

Spinach has more demonstrated health benefits than almost any other food.

With most SuperFoods, there are one or two nutrients in particular that push an individual food to best i category; with spinach, the list is so long and impressive that the wide range of individual nutriens coupled with the unmatched synergy of those nutrients make it a top SuperFood.

– SuperFoods Rx by Steven Pratt, M.D., and  Kathy Matthews

Doesn’t that sound great?  It looks like you could live on one vegetable.  So, have you planted any yet?

Go to page 259 and you’ll see that you can plant spinach as late as 7 weeks before your first frost.  Do you remember how to get your first frost?  You call up your county agricultural agent and he will tell you exactly the date in your area.  Count back 7 weeks and that will be your last crop of spinach.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait until then.  Spinach is a cool weather crop and will grow all fall long…even past the frost date with some protection.  Let’s everyone start one square (9 per sq. ft.) right now.  Then in 1-2 weeks, plant another  square foot.  If you’re clearing out an old square of plants remember that they go in the compost pile.  Add a handful of blended compost to the square.  Mix it up with your trowel and mark off 9 spaces.

Planting Spinach Properly

The coldness of your soil can sometimes slow down the germination rate of your spinach.  In the summer, you have the opposite problem: the heat can actually prevent your seeds from sprouting at all.  Here are some tips to make sure that your seeds actually germinate:

  • Start your seeds indoors or in pots that you place in the shade, then transplant to the garden after they sprout
  • Sow your seeds in the shade of taller plants to protect from the sun.
  • Place a piece of cardboard with a rock on top over the area where you sow your spinach seeds.  This will prevent the sun from heating them up too much or drying out the soil.

I’d love pictures of your spinach gardens so you can see plant growth and see how different parts of the country grow spinach. Next week I’ll give you some recipes for spinach, but please get started this week.