Growing your own vegetables can be one of the most rewarding experiences. A lot of people choose to do this. But I think a lot of people miss out by waiting until there will be no more frost in their area. There are plenty of crops that you can start growing long before the likelihood of frost is gone. One of those in spinach. This is my second year of growing spinach. We tried to grow some in a container last year, but I don't think we gave it enough attention. This year, we are out to redeem ourselves. We planted several rows of spinach in our community garden plot.
The type I choose this year is Baby Leaf Spinach (Catalina). This spinach has nice oval shapes leaves with a delicate flavor. It is suppose to be fast growing (40 days until harvest) and heat resistant. I planted the spinach in April, so that I can harvest it in time to plant bush beans in that same spot. I plan to use the spinach as a fillng along with homemade ricotta cheese stuffed inside some ravioli.
When to Plant
As soon as the soil can be worked, you can plant this spinach. You are good as long as you can harvest it before the dog days of summer begin. Some varieties are more heat resistant, so they won't go to seed so quickly when the temperatures rise. Also I have heard of someone leaving their spinach in the ground over winter and it survived. They were able to eat some in April!
Starting Seeds Outdoors
Since this spinach grows quickly, I don't see any reason to start it indoors. Your best off just planting the seeds in the ground once the soil is ready.
I planted my spinach during the week of April 10th. We have had a cold, wet start to spring, so the seedlings took a little awhile to emerge. So I would expect my harvest to come near the end of the month, which will be right in time for me to start my beans in their place. Or as long as the plants are doing well I can hold off and only harvest the outer leaves. But once the plants show any signs of going to seeds, you need to pull the whole plant.
For more gardening information, check out my other blog, the pea project.