Common Name: Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
Seed Saving Level: Advanced ~ Spinach is a wind-pollinated annual. Seed savers should use one variety at a time to avoid cross-pollination.
Planting: Spinach grows best in cool, mild climates but is also tolerant of hot weather. Two leaf types: smooth and savoy (darker and heftier). Spinach likes full sun to partial shade. Plant seeds 1/8 ~ 1/4” deep. Germinates in 6-15 days. Space plants 6-12” apart. Crowded plants will bolt to seed more quickly.
Harvesting: Harvest entire plants by cutting just below the crown. The outer leaves can also be harvested even if growing as a seed crop. Left too long, oversize leaves taste bitter.
Seed Saving: Seeds will begin to bolt when daylight reaches 12.5-15 hours. Harvest seeds from later bolters. When seeds are dry, harvest the entire plant and thresh on a tarp or over a bowl. Alternatively, you can strip the seeds and leaves from the plants by pulling the stalk through your hands from the base up. Screens are helpful for cleaning.
Sources: Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth, The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds by Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough, almanac.com highmowingseeds.com/organic-spinach-growing-and-seed-saving-info.html
Books and ebooks:
- Spinach, SNAP-Ed Connection, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Spinach, University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, opens a new window
Recipe: Tangerine and Spinach Salad
- 9 cups baby spinach
- 12 tangerines, peeled, sectioned,seeded if necessary
- 1/2 medium jicama, peeled, cut into
- 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 bunch green onions, trimmed, sliced including 1/2 dark green stalks
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- 1/2 cup shelled unsalted sunflower seeds
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Garnish: 1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds or 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
A touch of Asian-style dressing balances nicely with the grassy taste of crisp baby spinach and the sweet-tart pizzazz of fresh tangerine segments. Toast slivered almonds or sesame seeds that are used to garnish in advance to give them time to cool. If desired, the dressing can be made in advance and refrigerated. Place spinach, tangerines, jicama, and green onion in a large bowl. Gently toss.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oil, and mustard; stir to combine. Add to spinach mixture and top with sunflower seeds; toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide between eight plates. Garnish with slivered almonds or sesame seeds.
Source: Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce: A Guide to Easy-to-Make Dishes with Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables (2010) By: Cathy Thomas