Sunday, May 8, 2011

Giant Winter Spinach

It's early May, but it feels like March.  The temperatures have remained cool enough to keep my Giant Winter Spinach first in the running for most successful overwintering leafy green in my planter boxes.  Yes, we have Rhubarb, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Orange Mint, Yerba Buena, Oregon Grape, Sorrel, Romaine, Radicchio, Violets, Pineapple Guava, Apples, Poppies and more mixed in the ornamental beds, but our 2 little planter boxes are reserved for Peas, Spinach, Chard, Basil and Tomatoes.  All could be easily mixed in the remaining landscape, but the planter boxes came first, before we had time to devote to ornamental cultivation and conscious expansion.  (Are you familiar with the saying "The cobbler's son wears no shoes"?)  And we enjoy the quasi-structured feel of keeping the short-season crops in a devoted space (even though the boxes are small, we still practice rotation).

We like tomatoes as much as you, but are exercising patience this year and holding off on planting.  Last year the late-season rains drowned so many of our seedlings (if only we'd had a little cold-frame set-up then - a gardener's umbrella to weather the wet), the size of our plant graveyard nearly doubled.  Boo hoo, right?  You sort of get used to it.  Still, we like to honor our little friends...

Photo Courtesy of Watchful Creatures

Well, in looking back to see where I got this Giant Winter Spinach seed from, I found the excellent website, full of easy explanations for edible gardening.  In their words, "Spinach prefers the cool, sunny weather of late spring and early fall. If you simply must have summer spinach, provide partial shade, plant the seed deeper and water copiously. Spinach adores rich soil: amend the spinach bed well with compost and/or manure, dolomite lime and complete organic fertilizer. Keep the bed evenly moist and weeded. Early thinnings are wonderful for spring salads. For the kitchen gardener, it is practical to harvest by using the outer leaves from each plant or by cutting the whole plant, leaving 1” for possible regrowth. Or, broadcast seed and grow as a ‘cut and come again’ crop of tender leaves."  Here's what ours looks like today!

P.S.  It tastes great too.  Happy Mother's Day!

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is big spinach! I love fresh greens from the garden.