For those who still want fresh vegetable during winter time, the cultivation of spinach in a greenhouse is the right thing to do. Spinach tolerates low temperatures. Therefore, it can be sowed even late in the year. If sowed by October, harvesting is still possible in the same year. This way, spinach supplies all sorts of important vitamins and minerals even in the rough winter time. In quality, your winter spinach from the greenhouse will be much healthier than frozen spinach from the supermarket.
The ideal place for the spinach is a spot in the greenhouse with as much sunshine as possible. The soil should be loose but not over-fertilized. Press the seeds into the soil and cover them slightly with some more soil. Do not press down the soil too firmly and do not step firmly onto the seeds in the ground. And of course, do not forget to water the spinach seeds. When watering, better choose warmer days and then water sufficiently. It will take approximately three weeks till the spinach germinates. Should the temperatures go down strongly during cold autumn days, you can place small and safely burning (!) candles into smaller greenhouses. This will keep the temperature in the greenhouse pleasant, and the air will not cool down too much.
From sowing to havesting the spinach, it will take about 8 weeks. After that, the spinach can be harvested for the first time. If you regularly cut the spinach leaves slightly above the soil, you will be able to harvest each plant several times. Please make sure that the heart of the spinach is not cut off in order to ensure further harvests. This way you will be able to harvest and enjoy your spinach up to four times. However, when the spinach starts to bloom, it should not be consumed any longer.
Spinach belongs to the amaranth family and emerged as cultural form in Southwest Asia. Today, leafy vegetables like spinach are favoured because they contain very important ingredients like minerals, vitamins and iron. Spinach can be used for many delicious dishes. Very often, boiled potatoes and fried eggs are served together with steamed spinach.
So no reason to fear cold autumn days – spinach usually tolerates these temperatures. So give it a try – and you will for sure enjoy harvesting, cooking and consuming your own spinach. Especially since you know exactly where it comes from and how it was grown.
Sowing out winter spinach in September
Vegetables can also be sown in autumn, so that you can harvest your vitamin-providers in spring. Spinach is an ideal catch crop; it thrives best when the days become shorter and the nights longer.
Seeds are sown at a depth of 1-2 cm. A distance of 20 cm should be maintained between the rows. This permits frequent hacking between the spinach plants as well as easy removal of weeds. If the space between the plants becomes too narrow, individual spinach plants should be thinned out. Always ensure that the soil is damp. Otherwise, spinach has no special requirements.
Diseases and pests
The most frequent disease in spinach is downy mildew. This fungal infection occurs in particular during extended periods of damp weather, and reveals itself in the form of a thin, mould-like layer on the underside of the leaves.
Spinach can also be subject to leaf mould, which causes brownish spots with lighter-coloured centres to appear on the leaves. The vegetables then look unappetising, but eating them is not dangerous.
Warning – frost!
Autumn seedlings should be protected against nightly frosts. A fleece can be used to cover them.
“Matador” and “Universal” are suitable varieties for sowing in autumn.
Image: © L.Bouvier - Fotolia