Cue: Snow (Notes on Spinach)

Right on cue–about an inch of heavy, wet snow.  In case you’re wondering–the peas will be just fine.  So will the spinach.  These cold hardy crops shrug off this sort of weather.

We had a hard freeze after I planted last year (and with bare ground)–but the early-seeded crops were fine.  A little snow is nice, too, because it metes out its moisture more slowly as it melts, making a nice germination cover.

Spinach is so hardy that a few years ago I was harvesting fall spinach by breaking the frozen leaves off the plants.  They thawed out and were none the worse for it.

If you get a good patch of fall spinach going, you can harvest the plants and cover them loosely with mulch before the serious cold and snow sets in.  In the early spring, remove the mulch, give them a little fish emulsion shower, and watch them take off again.

The only thing spinach just cannot take is heat.  That is why it’s so important to seed as early as possible–with the incredibly fast heat up in these parts (what you call spring, we call the time in which our weather vacillates hourly between winter and summer), spinach bolts to seed very quickly.

Fall is the same deal, which is why I’ve found it difficult in the past couple of years to get a good patch of fall spinach going.  By the time it gets cool enough to sow it, the hours of daylight are reduced enough that it’s hard to get it mature before mulching it down for winter.

Spinach does not germinate well in high temperatures–and we tend to have only small sporadic windows up until about November when sowing fall spinach would be feasible.  By the time October or November rolls around–it’s too late to bother.   Which means I end up kicking myself when there’s a massive California spinach recall in the fall and I don’t have any to sell.

So, spring sowing it is–and we’ll see if this year there’ll be a late August/early September cool and rainy window for a fall and overwinter crop.

I just have to remind myself this late summer about how good fresh spinach would taste in March, and have my seed ready.


One response to this post.

  1. Rebecca, the gardening advice you give here is priceless!

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