Monday, March 21, 2011

More spinach

I picked 0.4 pounds of overwintered spinach this morning by thinning the rows in the greenhouse bed.   There was one large Space plant and 4-5 small Double Choice plants that were getting crowded.   The pictures were taken before harvesting.  The first pic shows the half of the bed that was planted about Sep 20 with lettuce and spinach.  I wanted to plant earlier for fall harvest but the ground was too warm.  The lettuce did not make it through the winter.  I set out 2 bok choi and 2 kohlrabi a few days ago where the lettuce was.  The brassicas always seem to really take off once they get outdoors, once they get over the initital shock.  I’m seeding them in 3” deep pots this year.  Their root system develops much better in the deeper pots and the root/soil mass comes out of the pot intact.  The tray contains onion seedlings.  I decided to move them outdoors now that about half of them have germinated.  The wood stake has a remote temperature sensor on the other side.  I'm monitoring the bed temp from inside the house.  Ain't technology great?

The pic below shows the half bed planted with spinach and lettuce about mid October.  Some of the lettuce made it through the winter from this planting.  The first lettuce started indoors was at about the same stage of development and I mixed in with the overwintered lettuce where space allowed.   There is one row of Double Choice and one row of Bloomsdale side by side.  I think the Bloomsdale, a savoyed variety, has the best flavor.

I’m starting to catch up on projects.  The last of the tree debris was removed and the beds repaired.  The oak leaves that were shredded, put in the compost bin and enriched with blood meal are composting really fast.  I don’t have a compost thermometer, but it is too hot too hold my hand in the compost for very long, and it’s already a dark brown.  It gets turned every other day.   I hope it will be composted enough to go into the brassica bed in about a week, when the next set of seedlings is ready.   The brassica bed held tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra last year – all heavy feeders.  Probably not so good to follow with brassicas, also heavy feeders, but this was the best rotational plan I could come up with.
I have to replace the landscape timbers around terraced beds behind the deck with something – a job I wasn’t planning on.  The timbers are not pressure treated and are rotting away.  (One of these days I'm going to make a post on treated lumber and the options available now).   It’s a wet, shady environment and the beds are planted with hostas and other shade tolerant plants.  Right now I’m thinking about two possible projects for the coming warm weather.  The first project is an extension of the back porch deck of about 10 feet.  I drew up some plans and did a cost estimate of the materials.  The second project is a bit more ambitious - a shed addition to the pole barn for a workshop.  I haven’t made a materials estimate yet and the cost will determine yea or nay.   Cheers. 


Robin said...

Your spinach looks great! It sounds like you have a lot of projects coming up that will keep you quite busy!

Daphne said...

What a beautiful bed of spinach. Mine over wintered well, but hasn't really started growing yet. I'm sure it will start in the next couple of weeks.

Barbie said...

The projects sound promising. I hope your weather holds out for you!

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

Robin, Daphne, Barbie: Thanks for responding. I'm beginning to believe that spinach is Old Reliable for overwintering. It's a green that is good in many things.

Deb S. said...

Great spinach! I just found your blog! I will be following you. I'm in central Missouri. I can't wait to learn a thing or two!

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