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Vegetables
Spinach

Featured Recipes: Gardening Tips:
Cool Weather Spinach
Summer gardeners miss out on the three seasons in which this tasty, nutritious green truly thrives. For fall spinach, wait until cool weather is just starting to settle in, but there are still enough frost-free days to bring the crop to maturity. For winter spinach, just protect it with a cold frame or--if your climate is mild--a layer of straw. The outer leaves may look beat-up in the dead of winter, but fresh new growth will continually appear at the center. For spring spinach, you can keep on harvesting these wintered-over plants, or start new ones from seed as soon as the soil can be worked. Another trick is to sow a late fall crop that will germinate just before the ground freezes up, then overwinter the young seedlings. (In cold climates, protect them with a cold frame.) They’ll start to grow as soon as spring arrives!
Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as spinach, arugula, claytonia and mache, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, collards and Brussels sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as spinach, arugula, claytonia and mache, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, collards and Brussels sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.



Spinach prefers the cool, sunny weather of late spring and early fall. Direct-sow Spinach in the spring once the threat of frost has passed, and in late summer for fall harvest. Spinach loves cool, sunny weather. Spinach adores rich soil: amend the spinach bed well with compost and/or manure, dolomite lime and complete organic fertilizer. Keep the bed evenly moist and weeded. Early thinnings are wonderful for spring salads. For the kitchen gardener, it is practical to harvest by using the outer leaves from each plant or by cutting the whole plant, leaving 1″ for possible regrowth. Or, broadcast seed and grow as a ‘cut and come again’ crop of tender leaves. If you simply must have Spinach during summer's dog days, plant the seed deeper, provide partial shade and water copiously. Convert everyone you know into Spinach-lovers with Carole Peck’s Baked Penne Pasta with Lobster and Spinach, and The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone’ Spinach and Caramelized Onion Soufflé.

Average seed life: 2 years

     
#3915 Regiment Spinach: 37 days
Dutch-bred Regiment is fast-growing, long-lasting, vigorous, bolt-resistant and disease-resistant to downy mildew (races 1 through 7). In other words, it is perfect in the garden from early spring through the fall. It is also beautiful, with thick, semi-savoyed, slightly triangular, glistening dark green leaves that grow upright and uniformly (needs less washing than more floppy-leafed varieties). Now to the taste, the final measure of Spinach greatness. It is simply delicious prepared in every possible way. It has a crisp texture and a delicate flavor served fresh and raw in salads. And, its substantive leaf holds up well when sautéed or braised for succulent creamed sauces, soups, pastas, savory pies or in a classic creamed spinach along side your grandmother’s best meat loaf or your favorite grilled steak sprinkled with lightly fried crispy shallot rings. (F1.)

Packet of 300 Seeds / $3.15

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#3920 Bordeaux Red-Stemmed Spinach: 20-40 days
A stunning breakthrough from a Danish breeder, Bordeaux is quite simply a new type of spinach. It has arrow-shaped, dark green leaves with rare, deep wine-red veins and stems. Bred specifically for the baby leaf market for inclusion in Mesclun Baby Leaf Mixtures, Bordeaux has a sweet, delicate flavor perfect for use fresh in salads or for barely wilted beds beneath delicately sautéed shellfish or crisp pieces of duck confit. Quick growing, it will bolt, so make sure to harvest it when young, tender and small. The red stems do turn green when cooked. (F1)

Packet of 300 Seeds / $3.45

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#3925 Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach: 45 days
New! Even if Spinach wasn’t a nutritional powerhouse, we would eat it all the time. What a delicious versatile veggie. Heat-tolerant, this must-grow 19th century heirloom continues to outperform most other varieties. Its thick, deep green, crinkly leaves make an incredible Spinach salad tossed with a bit of warm bacon, chopped shallots and quartered hard boiled eggs with an apple cider vinaigrette. But it also holds up to hefty dressings and mates, like those in Karen’s Spinach Strawberry Salad or Tim's Spinach Salad from back in the day. Direct-sow Bloomsdale in the spring, late summer and fall so you always have plenty on hand. (OP.)

Packet of 400 Seeds / $3.05

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#3930 New Zealand Spinach: 50-70 days
Also known as Tetragonia, this heat-loving New Zealand native was discovered by Captain Cook in the 1770s he developed its culinary uses to help ward off scurvy. Not really a spinach at all, it tastes like spinach and can be cooked in much the same way as spinach. This is key since it can be used as a substitute for spinach during the high heat of summer when the real spinach tends to overheat and bolt. A bit finicky to get started but easy to grow once it germinates, its thick, bright green 4″ triangular leaves thrive in hot weather without becoming bitter. Presoak its irregularly shaped seeds in room temperature water overnight before direct-sowing it in the garden once the threat of frost has passed. Once it sprouts, New Zealand Spinach is easy to grow right up until the first fall frost. (OP.)
Average seed life: 1 year.

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.25

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#3940 Gigante Inverno Spinach: 50-55 days
“Giant Winter Spinach”, a beautiful Italian heirloom, is a fabulous frost-hardy variety with really large, wavy or semi-savoyed, glossy green, sword-shaped leaves. Growing as a short broad plant, Gigante Inverno is invaluable for prolonging the cherished days of freshly harvested spinach. One can never have too much spinach. (OP.)

Packet of 500 Seeds / $3.05

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#3950 Joker Asian Spinach 40-50 days
An outstanding Asian-type spinach from our Japanese colleague, Joker’s dark emerald-green plants are held upright off the ground on long stalks with smooth, thick, arrow-shaped leaves. Fast growing and productive, it is resistant to downey mildew and fusarium wilt. Joker is perfect fresh in salads; braised and served with Japanese sesame dressing; cooked in stir-fries with Chinese noodles or pureed with butter and complex spices from India. (F1.)

Packet of 500 Seeds / $3.55

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#3960 Malabar Spinach: 55 days
A fabulous heat-loving vine from the tropics, Malabar Spinach stands up to 90°F-plus heat without wilting and perishing like most other greens. Its leaves may be used as a fresh baby leaf in salads or cooked like regular spinach in stir-fries, creamed concoctions and soups. AKA Creeping Spinach, Malabar Spinach is as versatile as it is strange. High in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and protein per calorie, this ‘Basella’ is a good source of soluble fiber and an effective thickening agent for Asian soups and curries. In cool weather, its growth slows to a crawl, but in hot weather it sprints along supportive structures at an amazing clip. Normally raised as an annual, it may perennialize in frost free areas. Plant it in the warmest spot possible with full sunlight, rich, well-draining soil and a supportive structure on which to train its prolific vines. It should be evenly and well-watered to inhibit bolting and to keep its thick, red-stemmed, verdant-green leaves from becoming bitter. (Its foliage and form is almost as beautiful as a Climbing Hydrangea if you want to create mixed ornamental/edible beds.)

Packet of 100 Seeds / $3.95

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