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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Life Arrow to GardeningGardening Arrow to Vegetables Vegetables Arrow to Spinach Spinach

home grown spinachTraditionally the vegetable that kids love to hate, spinach is also widely available today in flat or smooth-leaved varieties that are great in salads as a rich source of iron, calcium and vitamin A.

A cool weather crop, spinach is successfully grown in most U.S. regions as an early spring or fall crop - or even indoors in pots and containers - for a steady supply of spinach year-long.

Indoors or out, prepare the soil with a complete fertilizer and provide lots of sun and moisture to root system throughout the approximately 40-day growing cycle.

In the garden, as the weather warms, a seed stalk is formed which means the plant is nearing the end of its growth and should be harvested immediately.

Meanwhile, watch for downy mildew (also known as blue mold), a fungal disease resulting in yellowing of leaves and stunted growth.

Avoid the condition by watering the soil around the plants to keep foliage dry. If this is impractical, water only during the day to speed evaporation of extra moisture.

Another cause of yellowing or stunting is the cucumber mosaic virus, which can avoided by using only disease-resistant varieties.

Spinach fun facts

• Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as ink or paint.

• China is the planet's largest spinach producer with 85% of world production.

• In the United States, March 26th is National Spinach Day.

• For the best nutritional value, eat spinach when just picked, since it loses nutrients as it loses freshness.

On the Web - How to grow spinach :

Watch Your Garden Grow - Spinach
- Descriptions and characteristics of recommended varieties, tips on soil preparation and planting, common diseases, related FAQ, nutritional benefits.

The Secret to Great Spinach - Engaging feature article from Texas Gardener Magazine with the history of spinach, tips & tricks to successful spinach growing, recommended varieties for Texas gardeners, advice on harvesting, storage.

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