November 10, 2011

plant profile: spinach

Spinach is my favorite green.  

It is not fast growing like some of the brassicas.  Nor does it have sexy colored viens like swiss chard or red russian kale.  Harvesting spinach can be a true labor of love when each leaf has to be cut individually.  Despite all of this, spinach is great.  No, it's beyond great - it is one really cool plant.  Here's why:

~ Spinach is a diecious crop meaning there are male and female plants.  In the absence of any male pollen producing plants female flowers can ‘revert’ to become pollen-producing flowersenabling continuation of the sexual reproduction cycle.  

~ Spinach is one of the hardiest leaf crops. It grows best in sandy, porous soil but can adapt to a wide range of soils.  Spinach germinates best in cool soil and can germinate at temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit.  

~ Spinach can grow at very low temperatures.  Other leafy crops can tolerate the cold but will not grow.  Spinach grown in the cold has higher concentrations of nutrients like vitamin C as well as higher sugar levels.

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