At the end of last week we received a big dump of rain, 100 mm (4 inches) in around 12 hours, which had us worried that we'd lose some of the crops and beds that we've been tending. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and this morning I went out to harvest our first bag of spinach. Cutting the plants at ground level, and then bringing them in to quickly rinse before loosely bagging them and placing in the fridge. I can't wait to cook them up tonight for dinner - hmmm, yum.
An easy to grow vegetable, spinach, or English spinach, (Spinacia oleracea) is full of vitamins and minerals, namely nitrogenous substances, hydrocarbons, and iron sesqui-oxide. It is considered to be a super food by many leading health experts, as calorie for calorie, leafy green vegies like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food.
Originally from Central and South-Western Asia, spinach was cultivated over 2,000 years ago in Iran, and also grown earlier by the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations. The Arabs named spinach "the prince of vegetables". Our name for spinach is derived from the Persian word "ispanai" which means "green hand" and which later became "spanachia", and in some parts is often confused with silverbeet or Swiss chard.
The trick to full flavoured spinach is to grow it fast, so a well prepared planting bed is essential. The inclusion of some well rotted compost and manure will see the seeds on their way, planting them in a sunny position about 15 cm (6") apart. Regular watering will keep the spinach growing quickly, and feeding weekly with a liquid fertiliser like Seasol, Charlie Carp or similar organic fertiliser will maintain the plants health and growth.
About 8 weeks after planting, your spinach will be ready for harvesting. If you pick the outside leaves while they are young and tender, the plant will keep on growing, allowing you to have successive 'harvests' from each plant.
We're sure Popeye would be impressed!