|Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) photo credit|
I cannot think of spinach without thinking of Popeye. :) I don't know if there was a kid of the Popeye generation who didn't at least try a can of spinach. Who could resist when watching Popeye turn into a man of muscles and might after downing a can of spinach?!? I think I have only had a taste from one can of spinach in my life, but I do enjoy fresh spinach in salads and even properly cooked into a lasagna or some other dish and so does my family. I usually plant spinach in the spring with my salad greens, but this feels like a good year to try my hand at a fall planting.
Spinach prefers cool temperatures and 'short' day length or it will bolt (send up a flower stalk). Plant spinach 4-8 weeks before the first fall frost or after the soil temp stays below 70F & air temp below 80F for a fall harvest. If you are planting for a spring harvest soil temp should be above 32F. If temps are above 80F you may have poor germination so don't be afraid to 'plant them thick and thin them quick'. ;) Just be sure you do thin them because over crowding will also cause them to bolt.
Spinach feasts on nitrogen so they make a good companion to their fellow cool season lover, peas. They prefer full sun to light shade and should be placed 1/2 inch deep and spaced approximately every 6 inches. Spinach can be started inside if you are concerned that you cannot provide good starting conditions, but they don't like being transplanted so direct seeding is the best bet.
When do you typically plant spinach in your garden? In the spring, the fall or both?
Happy (Spring or Fall) Gardening! :)