Useful information

Spinach garden: cultivation, varieties

Garden spinach. Photo: Rita Brilliantova

Garden spinach (Spinacia oleraceae) - long-day plant, dioecious and cross-wind pollinated. In spring and autumn, spinach forms only a rosette of 8-12 fleshy leaves. At this time, they contain easily digestible proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins C and B groups, provitamin A, mineral salts - a complex that increases immunity, strengthens blood vessels, improves digestive activity, alleviates vitamin deficiency, overwork and seasonal depression caused by a lack of heat and sun.

Depending on the variety, the leaves of vegetable spinach are triangular-lance-shaped, round or oblong-ovate, like sorrel, smooth-leaved (light green) or wrinkled (dark green). There is even spinach with red stalks and veins (F1 Bordeaux). But all representatives Spinacia oleraceae the surface of the sheet will certainly be glossy.

When the day becomes long, spinach - first on male plants (flowers are collected in a paniculate inflorescence), and a little later - on female (located in the leaf axils) peduncles grow. At the same time, the leaves lose their juiciness, and oxalic acid begins to accumulate in them.

Garden spinach is most widespread in the south of the country: seeds germinate already at + 4 ° C, sprouts can withstand short-term freezing, frost-resistant varieties overwinter if the temperature does not drop below + 10 ° C. At the same time, spinach is sown in open ground in August, early in April, or before winter. In the middle lane and northern regions, spinach succeeds mainly under film shelters and when sown before winter. In a heated greenhouse, using artificial supplementary lighting, spinach grows in any corner of our country, and it can be sown at several times from autumn to summer, including as a compactor in the aisles of greenhouse cucumber, pepper, tomato and eggplant.

Spinach Matador in the gardenSpinach Matador on the balcony
Photo: Julia Belopukhova

Spinach is a moisture-loving plant that is demanding on nutritional conditions. Its roots are weak, they lie at a depth of 20 cm. Therefore, it grows poorly on light soils, ages quickly in drought and does not tolerate acidity. He also does not like cold drafts. Therefore, it is better to set aside places for spinach, protected from northerly and easterly winds, with a slight slope to the south or southeast.

Place it after cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, beans, onions, cabbage, after filling the soil with rotted manure (5-6 kg / sq. M) or compost, complex fertilizer (50 g) and dolomite flour, or ash (200 g / sq. m) to normalize the reaction of the soil solution to pH 6.5. Please note that you cannot apply a lot of potassium fertilizers - this will lead to spinach shooting. After loosening, the soil must be rolled up so that the seedlings do not stick out from the ground (otherwise they may die from drying out).

Due to the fact that spinach has compact rosettes, it is often used as a lighthouse crop in crops of carrots and root parsley, as a compactor of kohlrabi, radish, head lettuce, celery and even strawberries. It has been found that spinach roots secrete substances that have a beneficial effect on the health of neighboring vegetables and improve the quality of the soil.

In the State Register of Russia, the assortment of spinach varieties is represented by different ripeness groups: Virofle, Stoic, Sturdy, Matador, Godry, Gigantic, Round dance, Dolphin F1, Cook Mishcha, Puma F1, Rembord F1 (early ripening, cutting of leaves can be started after 15 days; with late sowing, they shoot prematurely), Fat-leaved, Popeye, Nikitos, Rembrandt, Space F1, Spokein F1, Emerald F1 (mid-season, ready to harvest in 20 days), Victoria, Varangian, Rook (late ripening - after 25 days from the moment of germination, resistant to flowering and suitable for summer crops).

However, on the plots of amateur gardeners, there are also non-zoned assortments of spinach: varieties Bloomsdale (Bloomsdelsky), Marquise and Tyee (early, little shooting), Giant nobel, WinterBloomsdale, hybrid Chesapeake (early, resistant to powdery mildew with wrinkled or semi-wrinkled leaves), Mariska (medium early, large-leaved), Olympia and Space (with smooth leaves), Long standingBloomsdale, Dixie market, F1 Korenta (medium-late, with large wrinkled leaves). So, if you wish, you can choose a conveyor belt of varieties and hybrids of different harvest dates, or sow one variety at several times.

In the open field, spinach is sown with ribbons in 2-5 lines with an interval between them of 20 cm and a row spacing of 40-50 cm, or across the bed, placing the rows at a distance of 20 cm from each other. For 1 sq. m takes about 3 g of seeds. On medium loamy soil, they are sealed to a depth of 2.5 cm, on light loamy and sandy loamy soil - 4 cm. In a greenhouse, rows are placed every 10 cm, and the seed consumption is 2 times higher. Normally, seedlings appear in a week - one and a half after sowing. To speed up the germination of seeds, they are kept in water at room temperature, periodically renewing it.

When the first true leaf grows, the rows are weeded, thinned out, leaving an interval of 10 cm between the plants (when the rows thicken, root rot and downy mildew develop), loosened, and after a week they are fed with an infusion of herbs or manure and ash. The second feeding is given 10 days later. When foci of the disease occur, the affected plants are pulled out by the roots, and the rest are treated with 1% Bordeaux liquid. Cutting is carried out no earlier than 2 weeks later.

Also, spinach is threatened by caterpillars of gamma scoops, cabbage scoops, aphids. This is why it is important to kill weeds, especially the marsh and quinoa. Crops for food can be treated with Bitoxibacillin, Fitoferm or tobacco infusion.

In the south, spinach will have to be watered. In regions with moderate weather, water is provided as needed - with excess moisture, spinach is affected by root rot. To retain moisture in the soil, it is often necessary to finely loosen the soil or mulch it with mowed grass or chopped straw. In a greenhouse and a film tunnel, attention should also be paid to temperature. It should not rise above + 20оС, otherwise the plants will go into bloom.

Spinach can be grown in a winter greenhouse, loggia, on the balcony, window sill of the apartment - for its growth indoors, it is enough to have good lighting and maintain the temperature within + 15 + 18 ° C. For these purposes, the following are suitable: Victoria, Virofle, Godry,Normal, Winter Garnet,Virtuoso (varieties) and Melody, Mazurka, Tarantella,Prima and Casta (hybrids). Since spinach needs intense lighting, it is sown not earlier than the third decade of January in boxes or pots filled with a 10-15 cm layer of a mixture of compost, peat and river sand, taken in a ratio of 2: 2: 1, and the sowing is placed as close as possible to light. You can start cutting greens in a month.

Harvest the spinach in the morning. Break off large leaves one by one, or choose overgrown rosettes and cut them off under the first leaf - this way less dirt gets on the products, and the remaining plant will continue to grow. First of all, the greens of male plants are harvested. The crop can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than three days, after rinsing it and folding it into plastic containers.

The spinach leaves are washed just before cooking. They should be quickly cut with a stainless steel or ceramic knife, but not rolled through a meat grinder (spinach, when interacting with metal, oxidizes and loses valuable substances). You need to cook spinach in a small amount of water and no more than 8 minutes (when cooked, it boils down a lot).

Different varieties of spinach. Photo by Yulia Belopukhova

Thawed spinach should not be given to children under three years old: bacteria on the leaves quickly convert nitrates into harmful nitrites. Lemon dressing (1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of olive oil) will help revive the taste of frozen spinach.

Garden spinach is a wind-pollinated plant, and it is advisable to get your seeds only if only one variety is grown on the site.The seed yield of vegetable spinach is high, so it is enough to leave a couple of female plants at a distance of 20 cm from each other in the garden.

Seeds (nuts) ripen in 80-100 days. The inflorescences are cut off at the beginning of the massive browning of the lower inflorescences and ripened in the shade under a canopy. After threshing, the seeds are cleaned of debris and spread out in a thin layer to dry. Then they are poured into paper bags or cloth bags. In a cool dry place seeds of vegetable spinach remain viable for 4 years.

Culinary recipes with spinach garden: Chicken zrazy with spinach and mushrooms, Loin roll with cheese, pistachios and spinach, Potato lasagna with spinach and carrots, Triangles with spinach and cheese from puff pastry, Stewed plums in wine with goat cheese and spinach spinach with gorgonzola and raspberries, Curd casserole with sorrel and spinach, Gourmet sorrel salad, Warm salad of spinach, oyster mushrooms and ginger, Salad with spinach and cucumbers, Light spinach and green onion soup with ginger, Salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado, Salad with spinach, radish and apple, Spinach with butter.

We thank Agrofirm "Aelita" LLC for the provided photographic materials