It’s that time of the year…..planting season is upon us (or at least in the mid-west now that all of our SNOW from last week has melted)! One of the things that I get *SO* excited about is planting the first crop of the year……lettuce and spinach! :)
THE ESSENTIAL KEYS: Planting times and watering regiment! :)
Spinach and lettuce are a cold crop which means it likes cooler weather (none of this strong sun stuff that most other plants thrive in)! This means you need to plant it in the spring for your “summer crop” and plant again in the late summer for your “fall crop”. Spinach HATES too much heat! If you plant it when you plant the rest of your garden it will likely get bitter from the heat, aka your kids won’t eat it! It will also bolt…which means it will send up a seedy stalk and again, your kids won’t eat it. :)
If you live around here (ie, the midwest), PLANT IT NOW!!! If you wait too much longer, you may have to forego the summer crop and put a reminder in your calendar to plant in later summer for your fall crop. (Not to worry, I’ve forgotten in years past! WHOOPS! Good thing I have friends that like to share their harvest) :)
I like to plant my lettuce and spinach in buckets. It’s easier to take care of (no weeds), easier to manage water and SO MUCH easier to harvest when it’s closer to the house (ie, closer to my dinner plate! :) Although, it would do just as well in a planter or the garden too…just find a sunny spot and follow the directions on the back of your seed packet! :)
The trick with water: NOT TOO MUCH! Spinach easily drowns, so be careful that you aren’t over-soaking your plants or over-watering your buckets. If in doubt, stick your finger in down to the first knuckle…if it feels wet, don’t water; if it’s dry, water. It’s as EASY as that! :)
And harvest the leaves by gently ripping them off near the bottom. I like to soak them in a cold, icy water bath while the rest of my dinner or lunch is cooking so that they are nicely chilled and crisp when you take your first crunch.
There’s not much better than yummy, fresh-picked lettuce and spinach! :) Too bad we can’t keep it growing all summer long around here, then maybe my waistline would trim itself down….wait….who am I kidding…..that Chex-mix recipe from yesterday is SO worth it! :)