Category: growing

Growing Spinach

spinachWe have had very good luck with spinach. In fact last year we couldn’t give it away fast enough – and just from one packet of seeds.

The seeds are sown when the soil is ready for planting in the spring (4 weeks before last frost – middle of March where we live). Seeds can be sewn in late winter over frozen ground and they will germinate in the spring but we do not prep the soil until spring – disc then rototill it.

Spinach likes well-drained soil, ample moisture, and full sun. The seeds germinate in soil as cold as 50 degrees F.

Planting

I take a 1×1 board and dig a furrow 1/2 inch deep with its edge. The seeds are dropped in 1 inch apart and covered with soil and watered. The plants are thinned to 3 inches apart when they are an inch tall. The rows are 1 foot apart and I plant a successive row 7 days apart.

Fertilizer

I generally sidedress spinach with 10-10-10 fertilizer when the plants are a few inches tall.

Harvesting

Spinach is best when harvested young. I snip or pinch the leaves off and bag them. The leaves need to be washed before eating because they collect grit during rain. Spinach is ready to harvest in about 40 to 50 days depending on the variety. When the seedstalk forms, in late spring, harvest the remaining crop as the plant deteriorates quickly.

P.S. Rabbits like spinach.

Doug

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Growing Radishes

Just-picked radishI love radishes on salads! Which is why I cannot wait to plant them.

Introduction

Radishes are a cool weather plant that grows quickly (about 22 days) from seed. They have been very successful in the past several years. Usually I plant about twenty radish plants then in seven days I will plant another batch and so on so there is a continuous supply. Radishes are annuals.

Usually I will mix in a handful of 10-10-10 fertilizer before planting. My favorite spring radish is the Cherry Belle which does not get very hot (unless they are picked too late).

There are two basic types of radishes – spring and winter. The crunchy spring varieties, ‘Cherry Bomb’, ‘Champion’, ‘Burpee White’, and ‘Crimson Giant’ should be planted in early spring to mature as quickly as possible in cool weather for the best production and quality. Most spring radish varieties mature in less than a month.

Winter radishes such as ‘China Rose’ and Long Black Spanish’ require a longer growing period but are superior to spring types in many ways. They hold their quality in the garden longer, store better, and have a more distinctive flavor. By growing a number of varieties from both types, you can be harvesting radishes throughout the spring, and again in the fall and winter.

Varieties

I have had good success with Cherry Belle and Champion (an heirloom).

Planting

Radishes need loose, well-drained soil for root expansion. They love full sun; at least six hours a day.

To save space plant radishes between late growing plants such as broccoli or plant in an area that will be used for warm weather crops such as peppers or tomatoes. Plant in the early spring when the soil can be worked.

Sow the seeds (they are small) 1/4 inch deep and 1 1/2 inches apart. When the sprouts are about two inches tall, thin to 2 inches or else the radishes won’t grow right.

Radishes get hot if they are left in the ground too long. Hotness is no relation to their size.

Maintenance

Radishes grow best when watered evenly. Do not let them dry out nor get waterlogged.

Harvest

Cherry Belle are about 1 inch in diameter when fully matured. Harvest them while they are young, before they turn pithy (spongy) or woody.

Crimson Giant are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter.

After pulling out of the ground, pull the leaves off to prevent further growth.

Storing

Store radishes in water in the refrigerator. I cut off the root and leaves before storing. Because of their high water content radishes do not freeze well. They will last a week or two.

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