If you’re looking for gardening ideas, then growing spinach is a great idea for the colder months. Here are some interesting facts and tips to grow spinach in your garden today. What are you waiting for?
Did you know?
Many of today’s grown-ups may not have fond memories of the bland, cooked spinach that their mothers forced them to eat in their childhood. Parents in the olden days were heavily influenced by the cartoon character Popeye, who used to down canned spinach before he got into a righteous fight to save some innocent from peril.
This myth, which said that the very high iron content of spinach gave you ‘super Popeye power’ has since been busted. But make no mistake, spinach is full of nutritional goodness, containing fibre, important vitamins and minerals that we need, and it’s also low in calories.
5 Tips to grow spinach
1. True spinach (Spinacia oleracea) prefers to grow in the cooler months. The leafy stuff we grow in summer and also call spinach is actually Swiss chard, a different vegetable.
2. True spinach has smaller and smoother leaves with a more subtle taste. However, the advantage of planting both of these easy-to-grow vegetables is a generous harvest of tasty leaves with many culinary uses all year long. It’s a great gardening idea to start off growing new seedlings like baby spinach on sunny windowsills. Use for stir-fries or as salad greens.
3. Spinach is grown from seed and must be sown directly into the garden in well-composted soil that drains well, as the plant does not transplant easily because of its long taproot. It needs space to mature, so proper spacing between seedlings (at least 20cm) is advised. If you have sown too thickly, simply thin the seedlings out and use the excess plants chopped up as fillings for sandwiches and in salads.
4. If you want to grow spinach indoors to blend into daily smoothies, pick a miniature seed variety and sow them thickly into deep trays or a window box filled with good-quality potting soil — remember to keep the soil always just moist — it should never dry out completely. Simply snip off the baby leaves as needed, and do repeat sowings all winter long. Feed garden plants regularly with a nitrogen-rich foliage fertiliser.
5. Spinach is a fast crop and you’ll be able to start harvesting the outer leaves about 28 to 50 days after sowing in the garden. Harvest just before cooking as the leaves wilt fast. If you have an over-production of leaves, they can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a few days.
Try this recipe!
If you’re not too worried about your waistline or feel like zooshing up your leaves with onion and some other delicious edibles from the garden, try this Creamy spinach and onions side dish with a slight bite. It goes well with roasted pork bangers (smothered with crisp sage leaves) and mash, or as a base for poached eggs.