Popeye used his spinach to make him strong, just like we tell our kids, but maybe Popeye was getting much more for his efforts.
Here is a quick run down on Spinach;
Spinach is a very hardy annual with a rosette of dark green leaves. Sometimes the leaves can be crinkled, which is called a Savoy Leaf variety, or flat. Spinach is related to beets and chard.
Growing Spinach: Being a very hardy plant spinach can tolerate the cold; in fact, it does extremely well in cool weather. Heat and long days will make spinach bolt (go to seed) very quickly. Spinach is an excellent winter crop in the South and an early spring and fall crop in the North. Direct Sow spinach about 4 weeks before last frost. It can tolerate partial shade and needs well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant is grown from seed clusters that produce many plants from each cluster.
Plant seeds 2″ – 4″ (5 – 10 cm) apart and 1/2″ (1 cm) deep. When they are big enough to handle, thin with scissors to leave strongest seedling in each cluster. Spinach does not like acidy soil. Does best in neutral soil that is kept uniformly moist, but not soaking. Mulch for moisture retention.
A tip during watering: Try to avoid splashing dirt on the leaves which will make cleaning after harvesting much easier, especially with the Savoy Leaf variety.
From planting to harvesting will be from 40 – 50 days. You can harvest by periodically cutting the outside leaves or you can pull the whole plant.
Health Benefits: As everyone knows spinach and other dark green leaf veggies are very high in Iron and can benefit the immune system. It is also off the charts in Vitamins K and A, also manganese, folate, magnesium, and 16 other vitamins and minerals. It also helps in cases of osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases. Some of the flavonoids in spinach have been shown to reduce other cancer risks as well.
The ease of growing spinach coupled with it’s obvious health benefits should encourage you to be like Popeye and eat it on a regular basis.
Always try to raise your vegetables as organically as possible. Keeping in mind you have to eat those leaves in a week or two !!
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Peace and Prosperity,
Rich @ NY Homesteader
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