Keeping your fridge stocked fresh leafy greens, like spinach, is often quite an expensive task. One easy thanks to taking a number of the strain off of your pocketbook without sacrificing a healthy diet that’s heavy on nutrient-rich leafy foliage are to grow your own greens reception. Growing spinach yourself is quick and straightforward, and enjoying a salad or entremets that you simply grew in your own yard may be a fantastic thanks to reaping the advantages of gardening that everybody should experience.
Spinach is Popeye’s favorite food, and there’s an honest reason why he ate it before fighting his archenemy Bluto. the rationale spinach gives your favorite cartoon sailor such a lift is that it’s chock-full of vitamins and nutrients that would help even the scrawniest sailor combat a formidable foe. Spinach contains vitamins A and C, iron, vitamin Bc, thiamin, and carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein.
TYPES OF SPINACH: SAVOY, SEMI-SAVOY, FLAT-LEAFED, AND ALTERNATIVES
Savoy spinach varieties have productive yields and grow best in cooler climates. Savoy varieties produce heavily within the early summer but are susceptible to early bolting. within the fall, savoy spinach will have an extended production period and is more immune to cold than other varieties. Savoy spinach leaves are deep green and heavily crinkled. they’re sometimes difficult to wash due to the furrows within the leaves and therefore the incontrovertible fact that the plant grows very low to the bottom. Some popular savoy strains include Bloomingdale and regiment.
Semi-savoy spinach is that the hottest type to grow reception. This spinach tends to possess high yields and is more immune to diseases and early bolting. The leaves of semi-savoy varieties have fewer crinkles and grow higher off the bottom, in order that they are much easier to wash than savoy spinach varieties. Popular strains of semi-savoy spinach include tyee, Teton, Catalina, and Indian summer.
Flat- or smooth-leafed spinach plants have leaves with little to no crinkles. Flat-leafed varieties are the foremost common choices for processed spinach products, and these are what you’re likely to seek out within the produce department at the local grocery. Common strains include space and a red cardinal.
ALTERNATIVE SPINACH VARIETIES
True spinach doesn’t grow alright during the summer months, but luckily, there are two spinach alternatives that taste an equivalent and may be prepared an equivalent way—and these types do thrive during the summer. New Zealand spinach is great raw in salads, while Malabar is best for stir-frying or sauteing.
GROWING CONDITIONS FOR SPINACH
Spinach grows nearly year-round, though some varieties grow better within the winter and a few do better within the spring. you’ll sow the seeds of most spinach plants any time between March and September, allowing two to 3 months before harvest. Winter varieties should be sown around August, while summer varieties should be sown around March. the perfect soil pH for spinach is between 6.0 and 7.0. Here’s the way to take a soil sample.
PLANTING SPINACH IN CONTAINERS
Choose a container that gives a minimum of six to eight inches thorough. Either pick a container with an outsized area for multiple spinach plants or use several smaller containers, placing one plant in each of them. Typically, gardeners space out their spinach plants with about three inches of distance between them, but if you’re getting to harvest them early when the leaves are small, two inches is sufficient—or if you propose to attend for the leaves to grow to full size, allow five inches of space between each plant.
CARE OF SPINACH PLANTS
Water spinach regularly, as soon as soil appears to be dry, but confirm the containers have proper drainage, as soggy soil will cause diseases and pest issues. Spinach prefers a nutrient-rich soil, so either uses a slow-releasing fertilizer or be prepared to feed often. Spinach usually enjoys a healthy amount of sunlight, but when temperatures rise above 80 degrees, tuck your spinach containers between some larger plants to supply partial shade. Overall, spinach doesn’t need any special attention to thrive. Proper fertilization, regular watering, and nutrient-rich soil are all you actually got to ensure a pleasant harvest.
Spinach leaves are ready for harvest 40 to 45 days after sowing. Once the plant has a minimum of five or six leaves, you’ll harvest the outer leaves, then allow the plant to regrow for a second and even third harvest. within the summer or spring, you’ll harvest up to half the plant whenever you would like to select some spinach for a salad or entremets. within the winter, don’t take quite one-third of the leaves in order that the plant is going to be ready to regrow with ease. Pick your spinach from rock bottom of the leaf where it connects to the stem. Another method of harvesting, if you’re not getting to harvest, is to chop down the whole plant when it’s fully matured.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES FOR SPINACH
Spinach leaf miners, slugs, aphids, and caterpillars can all cause problems for spinach gardeners. Blight and false mildew also can affect your plants. Growing spinach in cool weather and taking special care to stay leaves dry can help immensely keep your greens healthy and out of harm’s way. Regularly check the underside of leaves for leaf miners or aphids, and treat with the pesticide spinosad if the infestation gets out of control. In areas where certain pests or diseases are especially prevalent, try switching to varieties that are immune to the actual problem in your region (Ex: Indian summer and tyee varieties are immune to downy mildew).