Now Sowing: Spinach (mid-September)

Image of Spinach leaves
Image courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Common Name: Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

Find seeds in the catalog

Seed Saving Level: Advanced; spinach is a wind-pollinated annual. Seed savers should use one variety at a time to avoid cross-pollination.

Planting: Spinach grows best in cool, mild climates but is also tolerant of hot weather. Two leaf types: smooth and savoy (darker and heftier). Spinach likes full sun to partial shade. In cold soil, sow on top and sprinkle soil over; in warm soil, sow ½ inch deep. Germinates in 14-21 days. Space plants 6 inches apart. Matures in approximately 30-50 days. Crowded plants will bolt to seed more quickly.

Harvesting: Harvest entire plants by cutting just below the crown. The outer leaves can also be harvested even if growing as a seed crop. Left too long, oversize leaves taste bitter.

Seed Saving: Seeds will begin to bolt when daylight reaches 12.5-15 hours. Harvest seeds from later bolters. When seeds are dry, harvest the entire plant and thresh on a tarp or over a bowl. Alternatively, you can strip the seeds and leaves from the plants by pulling the stalk through your hands from the base up. Screens are helpful for cleaning.

Sources: Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth, The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, Old Farmer's Almanac

Recipe: Orecchiette with Goat Cheese & Spinach

by Bryce Benolken, M’s Pub, Omaha, NE

½ cup onion, diced

1 tsp. garlic

½ cup white wine

¼ cup goat cheese

1 T. kalamata olives

1 tomato, diced

1 pkg. Orecchiette pasta, cooked

½ cup spinach, chopped

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

Saute onion and garlic until soft; add white wine and goat cheese. Mix until creamy, then add olives, tomato and Orecchiette. Toss until thoroughly coated. Add spinach, salt & pepper.

Source: From Our Kitchen To Yours (2005) by Omaha Restaurant Association