Spinach was one of the first crops that I directly seeded into our garden this spring. The 10 little sprouts which germinated, grew into modest sized plants. I have been stealing a few leaves for our daily lunch, since the end of March. In April, the spinach plants were lush, delicious and vibrant green. That was my signal to plant more spinach seeds for a future crop. For the second crop, I chose a cooler, partially shaded area of the garden.
This year, May and June have been quite warm in the Comox Valley. Spinach is more of a cool season crop, so with the stress of warmer weather, the original plants started to go to seed. I pinched off the flowering tops and added them to our salads. I was hoping this maneuver would prolong the productivity of the plants for a few more weeks. My plan did work. We received more, but smaller, leaves to eat as the spinach plants branched out.
It’s now mid June and the second set of spinach seeds that I planted in April, are ready to yield some leaves for our salads. I can finally let the original spinach retire.
At first glance, I was tempted to pull out these old spinach plants and put them in the compost pile. Instead, I chose to take a few minutes and pluck all the remaining leaves off for dinner. To make the job easier, I just took the salad spinner right outside and put the tiny leaves in it and the remainder of the plant into a compost bucket.
I found a couple of Romaine lettuce in the mix and harvested them as well. Look at that! I am only half way done and the spinner is already full. I am glad that I didn’t throw the whole spinach plant away into the compost.
Task completed! The spinach leaves are harvested for dinner (plus extra), the old stocks are in the compost pile and I have open space in the garden to grow more food! As I was working in this area of the garden, I found Butternut squash seeds sprouting. I had planted them here about 10 days ago, intending them to take over this plot, once the garlic is harvested in July.
Here is a close up picture of the baby squash. There are few Calendula flowers to the right (lime green) and a broccoli in the back ground. If you notice, the main floret of the broccoli has already been eaten (no doubt by our grandson, Brusselsprout). That plant is now sending out side shoots of broccoli, which it will continue to do right up until a hard freeze. I am hoping that the 4 broccoli plants in this plot will hold their own as I now let the 8 Butternut squash take over.
I love how our small garden spaces can produce huge amounts of food, if we use a little forethought and continually add organic nutrients back to the soil. How are you planning the future production of your garden plots?
Lettuce keep the ball rolling 🙂