First Fruit Spinach

April 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Vegetables)

seven plants, supper for two evening, servers four

seven plants, supper for two evening, serves four

 Today I picked my first spinach! The spinach was planted in late Feburary, took two weeks to sprout from seed, then another four weeks before transplanted to backyard soil. I started with 350 spinach plants, but much of the spinach was pot-bound before it got to soil. When spinach depletes or has insufficient nutrients, the leaves begin to yellow. Dark green vegetables eat A LOT of nitrogen. After harvest be sure to replenish your soil with fertilizer. I am using rabbit droppings and lawn clippings which turns into rather muddy compost. I have yet to check the pH. Anyway, after transplant and pot-bound damage, I lost at least a third. Farming/gardening is busy work, and you can’t let yourself get preoccupied if you depend on the harvest for livelihood and sustenance. You must plan ahead. You don’t want to plant everything at once, nor do you want big planting gaps. Best to keep harvests rotating and successive, with variety, not just one kind of crop. Once the spinach bolts, they are ready to pick.

Bolting spinach, see flower in center

Bolting spinach, see flower in center

Note the “bolt” growing in the center of this plant. The ‘bolt’ is the flower stem which indicates end of leaf growth. It is called a “bolt” simply because it grows overnight. Once this happens, all nutrients will be focused on reproduction and green leaves will suffer, turn yellow, and wrinkle up. You may either allow the bolt to flower and cut off indifidual leaves, leaving a couple behind, or you may pull the plant. I intend to leave a handful of plants to flower  in order to harvest their seeds.

The bible says we give our first fruits to the Lord. I am guessing I harvested about twenty bucks worth of spinach so will give in kind to the Lord.  I started late but corn, beets, melons, and some herbs on beginning to sprout in my ‘greenhouses’ and will soon transplant.

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