If you sow spinach every few weeks in spring and late summer, you can enjoy extended harvests for several months.
- Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
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There are fresh greens to be enjoyed from the garden for many months of the year, providing a wonderful source of vitamins when there isn't much else available. These are useful crops for filling gaps in the vegetable year because they mature when others are either just starting to grow, or have finished for the season.
When to Start: Spring or late summer
Time to Complete: 1 hour
- spinach seed
- a line of string
- watering can
Sow in Drills
Stretch out your string and use a trowel to make a shallow drill. Sow the seeds into it at 1-inch intervals. Thin the seedlings to about 3 inches apart for baby salad leaves, or 6 inches apart for larger leaves to use for cooking. Protect seedlings in winter with a cloche.
You can cut the leaves when they're large enough to eat. Whether you remove individual leaves or cut off the entire plant, new leaves will emerge for a second crop. Regular watering can help prevent plants from bolting to seed in warm weather.
Tip: Repeat Cropping
To harvest a succession of spring greens, start cutting in mid-spring, before the plants form hearts, cutting away the entire leafy part but leaving the stalk. Cut a cross in the top of the leftover stalks. This encourages the plant to sprout again, and produce a second flush of leaves, which you can then harvest. Do this to alternate plants in the row, leaving the others to form cabbages with rounded hearts.
Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited