Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bloomsdale Savoy Spinach

50 days. Thick, succulent, dark-green, savoyed leaves are very sweet in salads. Bloomsdale is the standard for garden-fresh flavored spinach. When planted in autumn it will overwinter and mature in the early spring. Moderate bolt resistance; best sown in early spring for late spring/early summer harvests.

Spinacia oleracea: Some of the finest spinach varieties available in the world today are developed and produced in Northwest Washington. Determining which of the varieties are superior to others is sometimes a difficult job. Some factors we consider when evaluating a spinach trial are: 1) flavor 2) strong, vigorous growth 3) resistance to forming seed, known as bolting 4) disease resistance.

CULTURE: Spinach requires rich, fertile soil with plenty of organic matter. It is adversely sensitive to uneven moisture and acid soils, and the optimum range is pH 6.5-7.5. Spinach is best grown during the cooler weather of spring and fall. Because nitrogen cycling is slower during cooler temperatures, use fertilizers that release nutrients quickly such as blood meal, fishmeal, bone meal, composted chicken manure, or feather meal. Nitrogen supplied during growth greatly increases the size and quality of your spinach. After the soil has reached 50°F and can be worked, sow seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 1 inch apart, in rows at least 12 inches apart. Optimum soil temperature for germination: 55-65°F. Higher soil temperatures can cause erratic germination. The most favorable air temperatures for spinach are 60-65°F. Days to emergence: 6-21. Keep the bed uniformly moist for best results. Thin to 3 inches between plants. For baby spinach, sow about 35-40 seeds per foot in a 2 inch wide furrow. Thin to 1 inch apart. Pay attention to seasonal difference between varieties. Summer selections are more resistant to bolting, but rising temperatures, longer days, and water or nutrient stress all contribute towards a plant's inclination to bolt. Sow fall varieties in August and September.
HARVEST: For baby greens, harvest when leaves are 3-4 inches. Individual leaves may be harvested any time, or harvest the entire plant when it reaches maturity, just prior to bolting. Rinse in cold water and store at 32°F and 95% relative humidity.
INSECTS/PESTS: If your spinach leaves have a blotchy appearance, chances are you have spinach leaf miners. Destroy any affected leaves and keep the surrounding area weeded.
DISEASE: The key to prevention is planting in fertile soil and using a 3-year crop rotation.
SEED SPECS: Minimum germination standard: 65%. Usual seed life: 1 year. Approximately 80 seeds per gram; 28 grams per ounce.

WHEN TO PLANT: Sow seeds in the ground as early as possible because warm weather and long days all too soon will trigger seed stalk formation. Spinach seeds germinate well in cool soil, and the plants prosper in day temperatures of 60°F dropping to 40°F to 45°F at night.
If your garden is slow to dry for early spring digging, you can prepare your spinach row in the fall, plant the seeds and mulch the row lightly. Gradually rake off the protective covering the following spring. In many areas, fall planted spinach that has grown to a height of an inch or so will winter over under a straw or hay cover. Plant extra hardly varieties like Winter Bloomsdale or Cold Resistant Savory for this purpose.
HOW TO PLANT: Plant the seeds nor more than 1/2" deep and thin the seedlings to stand about 6" apart in rich soil, 8" in leaner soil.
GROWING CONDITIONS: Spinach is a heaver feeder and needs a well aerated, well limed soil. Strongly acid soils often make available substances that are toxic to the plant. In highly alkaline soil, the plants may develop a symptom of manganese deficiency: yellow speckled, curled leaves. Large doses of highly soluble, nitrogen rich fertilizer can increase the oxalate content of spinach - another good reason for applying slow release manure.
DISEASES: If you have trouble with spinach seedlings dying from fungal attack (the fungi like the seed's mucilaginous coating), soak the seeds in a 3:1 chlorine bleach and water solution for ten minutes before planting.
REMARKS: Picking the oldest largest spinach leaves can help to postpone bolting by reducing the amount of the hormone that stimulates production of the seed stalk.
When making later summer plantings for fall eating, you many find that the seeds are reluctant to germinate in warm weather. You can usually induce them to sprout by spreading them between damp paper towels and keeping them in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for five to seven days.

Another nice article on growing spinach

PURCHASED: 5g from Territorial Seed Co. Jan '09. $1.95
STARTED SEED: 2/18/09. Sewn directly in the garden bed. Soil temp 50° air temp about 60°F. I have, three days later, one teeny tiny little sproutling that's come up right where I planted these seeds. I'd love to say it's my spinach but in all honesty, I'm not sure! I'll keep my peepers peeped and confirm when more come up or when it starts to look like spinach and not a weed. 3/7/09 Definitely most of the spinach have sprouted - 17 days! Seems like such a long time. Of course they all come up right before we're getting a change in weather and some snow. It's really late in the season for us to be having snow. I've put little plastic cloches over them to help protect them from the weather we're supposed to get tonight and tomorrow.

Did it sprout today? I can't tell...




No comments: