by Becca Badgett for Twinas
Maybe you've heard the news or maybe you're reading it here first; thanks to the excessive rains of El Nino and frost in the past few months, spinach, lettuce and other salad greens produced in Southern California are severely limited and may not be available in your local supermarket. If you can find them there, prices may be much higher than what you're used to paying. Bloomberg warned consumers of the skyrocketing prices as early as February 4th.
According to their reports, this is likely just the beginning of such shortages. If you've not started your garden with cool season crops, now is the time to get started. Your spinach crop can produce baby leaves in as few as four weeks, with full sized growth in six weeks. Harvest leaves from the outside, allowing the inner rosette to continue producing.
In southern areas without freezing temperatures or where they’re over, this is the perfect time to grow spinach. In more northern areas, start seeds indoors to plant outside when freezing temps are finished. Spinach can take cold weather, particularly the savoy and semi-savoy types with ruffled leaves that are dark green.
Plant at two to three week intervals and include smooth leafed and baby spinach in later plantings for a versatile, long lasting spinach crop. Summer heat will cause spinach to go to seed (bolt), remove plants from the garden at this time. Start another crop a few weeks before the first frost date in your area.
Plant spinach in an area that gets four to five hours of morning sun, when possible. Too much sun lessens production as temperatures warm. If planting in a container, move it to a more shaded area as the weather gets warmer.
Avoid shortages and high prices at the store by growing your own cool season spinach, leaf lettuce, and other cool season vegetables. Stay tuned here for more tips on growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. If you’re new to gardening, or just need more information about growing your garden, get a copy of “How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden” at the link below.
Becca Badgett is an enthusiastic gardener who enjoys sharing information with others. She is certified as as a gardening expert and plant technician and writes how-to and garden articles for several sites online, such as Gardening Know How and Becca on Yahoo!
She is co-author of the book “How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden”.
Her writing experience includes stints in newspaper and magazine writing. She has worked as Editor on several in-house newsletters, written press releases and worked as Director of Communications for a non-profit planetarium and nature center.
Find her on Twitter @Becca062 and visit her Facebook page Becca's Blooms for current information and to view her latest gardening articles.
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