I just found out that I won a prize for Mini Challenge Two! Thanks so much, Yates. I really enjoyed thinking and writing about how to reduce plastic around the garden. It was very challenging! Now I really have a duty to walk the talk and implement many of the changes I want to make in the future. I do feel quite bad about the amount of plastic I have in the garden, but I don’t think the solution is to put everything into the recycling bin. As Collette mentioned, it’s a good idea to recycle whatever plastic you have in the garden year after year. Going forwards, I just need to make sure that I don’t add more plastic and try to find alternatives wherever possible.
Every spring, I look forward to growing spinach. It’s one of our summer staples. We use spinach in a variety of dishes, including quiches and frittata. It’s really easy to grow and expensive to buy, making it a good thing to have in the garden. We just pick spinach as we need it, but it can be frozen if you have surplus.
This year, I’m growing a few different varieties of spinach. In September, I planted some punnets of “Hybrid No 7” and “Perpetual Spinach” which I purchased during Kings Plant Barn’s sale. They have been growing really well and we have even started harvesting leaves from these plants. In September, I also sowed “Perpetual” (Kings) and ““Oriental Imperial Green” (Egmont Seeds). These both grew very well and the wwoofers helped me transplant them from punnets into seed raising trays. I’ll wait until they’re a bit bigger before planting them in the garden. All I did was sow the seeds in some punnets with a little seed raising mix and leave them in the patio to germinate. As with all seed sowing, I recommend using a high quality seed raising mix such as Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix or Nature’s Way Organic Seed Raising Mix.
Later this month, I’m going to sow some Malabar Spinach and NZ Spinach on my heat pad. These varieties are more sensitive to the cold than the other varieties I have planted and warmth aids the germination of the seeds. I came across Malabar Spinach a couple of years ago, when a lady in a vege gardening group I belong to gave me some seeds to try. It grew amazingly well and was great for using in green smoothies during summer when it becomes too hot to grow kale. Unlike bunching varieties, Malabar Spinach is a climber and needs the support of a trellis or other frame. You can harvest the leaves as you need them, without removing the entire plant. I have noticed a number of Malabar Spinach seedlings which popped up by themselves in the area that I grew it last year (see picture), a sure sign that the weather is warming up. This variety is sub-tropical, so the plants will die as soon as the frosts come.
I grew NZ Spinach successfully for the first time last year. In previous years, I had difficulty getting the seeds to germinate. I discovered that it helps if you soak seeds prior to sowing them. I also found that seeds germinate better if sown on the heat pad and are then transplanted into the garden rather than sowing them direct, but other gardeners might have had different experiences. NZ Spinach tastes a bit different to other varieties but we really enjoyed having it steamed with a bit of butter, salt and pepper.
Spinach doesn’t require a lot of care in order to do well, but I’ve noticed that plants benefit from regular liquid feeding. I highly recommend Yates Thrive Natural Fish and Seaweed fertiliser, which I’ve been using in the garden this spring.
Is anyone else growing spinach in their garden this year?