"growing spinach" --- poison free organic gardening Victoria BC
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Growing Spinach

spinach - healthy and delicious Rich in iron and, as a dark green vegetable, high in cancer-inhibiting antioxidants, the distinctive and somewhat nutty flavour of spinach is a perennial culinary delight, both fresh in salads, and cooked as a side dish. Spinach and eggs makes my mouth water just thinking about it. And it is one of the hardiest and easiest vegetables to grow. Our cool summers, and mild wet spring, fall and winter is an ideal climate for spinach, resulting in large and very tasty greens. Most winters it survives here quite well, giving us another and very delectable all year-round garden vegetable

Heat is the only thing spinach doesn't like, which makes it 'bolt' and grow flower stalks, at which time it turns bitter and tough. Fortunately, we do not have too much heat here, and there are even spinach varieties which tolerate heat quite well.

Spinach needs lots of nitrogen for vigorous growth and large delectable leaves. Starting out with a generous addition of composted manure to the soil will assures this, along with a monthly side dressing of blood meal in its active growing period. Any kind of spinach can be sown outdoors starting in early March until mid April, and the slow bolting varieties from May until August. After that, the hardiest and over wintering kinds can be sown from the beginning of September until the middle of October.

Sow the early kinds 1/2" deep, 1" apart, in rows 1 foot apart. Thin to 3" apart, and farther apart if large plants are desired. The later sowings should be 1" deep. Harvest the outer leaves as needed, leaving the plant to grow more leaves.

For the later spring sowings chose Mazurka, Tyee, and for a quick harvest - before it gets too hot - chose Space and Olympia. For the fall plantings, chose Space, Tyee, Skokum, Olympia and Bloomsdale.

In addition there is also New Zealand Spinach, which is really not a spinach but very similar in taste and appearance. New Zealand spinach needs warm soil to germinate and is best sown around this time. Soak the small hard seeds overnight before planting out. It can also be started indoors earlier and planted out around right about now.

Once established, New Zealand spinach is a very vigorous, hardy and trouble free vegetable, growing lustily throughout summer and fall, providing continuous harvests of fresh leaves. It will do best in a bit of a shady spot where there is some protection from the hot summer sun. Behind tomato plants would be an ideal spot as this allows lots of light while it is still cool and the tomato plants are small. Come the heat of summer though, the spinach will be nicely shaded by the then large tomato plants. And keep picking the leaves and young shoots often to make it produce new leaves and shoots late into the gardening season - and enjoy.



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