Spinach finale

Last spinach harvest of the year

So this is it for the season’s spinach, a last 18lbs (8kg) of Spargo, unfazed by many subzero nights and all sorts of up-and-down weather antics. Spinach is one of the great ones for cold-climate tiny farming, easy-going once it gets started, tough under freezing conditions, and always in demand… The deer that’ve been lurking and circling the field all year have started to come in for an exploratory nibble here and there, working their way in from the edges. At this point, it’s slim pickings! They discovered one edge of this final, late-planted, slowly-growing spinach patch a couple of days ago, so we (Lynn, Steve, and I) grabbed the rest this morning.  Between us and them (mostly us!), the spinach is done!

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14 Responses to “Spinach finale”

  1. Kevin says:

    We just planted spinach yesterday (you can only grow it in the winter in LA).  Could you give advice on when to pick it?  Last year, I think we waited too long, and it had a VERY strong flavor  (by which I mean, it tasted horrible).

  2. 2acrefarm says:

    Thats some good looking spinach! I still have another two or three weeks before mine is finished up. Unless this global warming weather continues in which case I will be planting another row. Although I am trying an experimental batch in my newly built mini greenhouses or should I call them tiny greenhouses?

    to Kevin: I personally harvest spinach until it bolts and unlike lettuce have never had bad tasting spinach. I do harvest mine constantly though. As soon as any leaves start getting to “baby” spinach size I start cutting.

    -Nathan

  3. vrtlaricaana says:

    What do you do with 8kilos of spinach harvested at once? Do you freeze it? It looks very nice!

  4. Emily says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of spinach!  I’m planning to grow quite a bit next summer now that I live in a cooler climate.

  5. RobG says:

    @vrtlaricaana They either break it into CSA shares or sell it at a local farmer’s market. I would guess the latter since the season finished up.

  6. Just to let you know that another site has reposted this entry.  It is happening to you, me and other garden bloggers.  You can check it out here
    I would suggest you put your name or site name on your photos to prove they are yours.

  7. Paul R says:

    That link is odd!

  8. Dave says:

    Your harvest looks too good to resist. I’ve avoided planting spinach because, although I like the taste, it is relatively high in calcium oxalate (and I’ve had kidney stones). My experiment in an Edmonton, AB, garden with with Rainbow Swiss chard as an alternative, however, failed miserably. Leaf miners blasted it all summer, the stalks never got very big, and the first nasty cold in early October froze all except a few tiny central leaves into mush. Although it has been milder since then, the ground hasn’t really thawed and the chard didn’t recover. Then again, it turns out chard is also high in oxalates, so maybe that is for the best. I suppose I could plant spinach and just eat it moderately – although with the abundant  harvest you are showing that would be difficult!

  9. cathy says:

    we have found that leaf miners can be a real problem………..what do other spinach/chard and beet growers do about them in their gardens?

  10. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the info, 2acre.  It was especially useful since I’ve had some pretty bad-tasting lettuce as well, but thought I was alone in having that happen.  I’m going to harvest it all as ‘baby’, and if it kills the plant… oh well.  It’s not like land is scarce in the winter.

  11. EtienneG says:

    Mike, which variety of spinach are you growing in teh spring?  Personally, I never had that much success with spring spinach, as it bolts very fast.  I am going to try Monstrueux de Viroflay next season (the name sounds cool!).  It is apparently pretty fast growing and somewhat resistant to heat, so maybe I can coax a decent harvest out of it next spring.

  12. Mike (tfb) says:

    Kevin: We pick spinach at any size, but tend to wait until it’s as mature as possible: bigger leaves means more for your harvest effort! I’m not sure what you mean by horrible-tasting. I usually grow Bloomsdale which tends to have an earthy, mineraly taste, which I love, but some people find…too strong?!? Is that what you mean? One man’s strong and flavorful, is another’s horrible? In warm weather, sometimes it starts to go to seed, but more slowly than bolting overnight, and the leaves get pointy and thinner, less succulent. There, the raw leaf taste seems to change a bit, but it just seems milder, and maybe that’s ’cause the leaves aren’t as dense. We harvest like that as well… (Long, detailed answers leading to no real conclusion are good, too! :)

    vrtlaricaana: Even for a tiny market garden, 18 lbs of spinach is not a lot. It’s usually sold in about 1 lb units (400-450g). As RobG mentioned, we have CSA shares and the market. This particular batch actually went to an experimental sustainable-food restaurant at the local university. It isn’t much for them, either!

    Crafty Gardener: Thanks for the heads-up. I suppose I have a possessive streak, but it doesn’t apply to this blog’s photos! I run into this sort of thing sometimes and tend not to do anything about it, life’s too short! I do remove SPAM here on the blog, that’s annoying.

    EtienneG: This year, it’s been almost all Spargo, a newer, 40-day hybrid. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere on the blog. For the last 2-3 years, I haven’t experimented with spinach, it’s just been Spargo for speed, pretty good reliability, and a mild, acceptable-to-all taste, and Bloomsdale, open-pollinated and a little slower, for reliability and usually stronger, substantial taste that some people love, me included.

    I did go through a bunch of mini trials a while back, with various hybrids: Melody, Space, Tyee, maybe a couple of others. I was mainly looking for slow bolting, for summer production. They weren’t very controlled tests, just planting rows of each beside each other a few times. Really, I saw no clear and obvious difference as far as bolting, only in how fast they grew. So I settled on Bloomsdale (which is supposed to be quick to bolt, but hasn’t been for me) for specialty taste, and I think it was Space for speed, and later switched to Spargo when it came out.

    The bigger plan is to get to open-pollinated and seed-save, eventually, and I’d want something in addition to Bloomsdale. So I’ll have to get back to checking out spinach.

    This year, I got a variety called Giant Winter, apparently an Italian heirloom that’s extra hardy and good for overwintering, but I didn’t get a chance to try it this time around. Next year!

  13. James says:

    Beautiful! My spinach is just starting to germinate…
    Have you ever tried Bordeaux? That’s what I’m growing this year. Last year we grew it on the farm I was apprenticing on. People really seemed to dig the red veins. I’m growing it on my farm for the first time now.

  14. Deer farming says:

    I grow the veggies that the deer usually eat: peas, beans, spinach, right next to the house .Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled

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