Spinach is a popular green salad vegetable that lends itself to culinary processing. It is not difficult to grow a vitamin culture, but there are certain subtleties in caring for a plant that affect the quality of the product. Eat the top young spinach leaves.
Description of vegetable spinach
A herbaceous garden plant with a one-year development cycle belongs to the Amaranth family. The spinach root system consists of a taproot, 10-20 cm long, and small shoots. A rosette of 7-13 dark or light green oval leaves forms above the surface. The shape of the leaf blade can be spear-shaped. The height of a young edible plant is 18-25 cm. Fleshy leaf blades are smooth or wrinkled, slightly rough, differ in shape and color intensity in different varieties. The upper part of the leaf is glossy, with clearly visible veins. The leaves are attached to the base with strong petioles, sometimes burgundy-red.
Spinach is a dioecious crop, there are male and female plants. From the middle of summer, a peduncle with small yellow buds grows from the outlet. In male plants, it is in the form of a tall panicle, in female plants, it is with leaves. Flowers form in the leaf axils. Then small fruits and nuts ripen. The seeds can be used for sowing next year if one cultivar is growing in the garden.
Attention! The formation of spinach seeds is due to cross-wind pollination. Therefore, high-quality plants for the next year will be obtained if the varieties are not mixed during pollination.
The culture has been grown for a long time in many countries, there are various varieties that are divided by the ripening period:
- early maturing;
Many varieties of garden spinach are also recommended for Russian conditions. Popular among the early ones:
In the group of early garden greens, other varieties are known - Godry, Marquis, Strawberry, as well as spinach sorrel, which is also called Uteusha spinach.
Important! Early maturing spinach varieties are classified as short-day plants. With the onset of the late spring heat, the leaves lose their juiciness.
The leaves of mid-season garden spinach are cut after 1-1.5 months:
In addition to these varieties, Mariska, Blumsdelsky, Victoria are common in the medium-harvest spinach group. This also includes other garden plants that are commonly called spinach, which belong to different families:
Juicy and crunchy leaves of late varieties of a garden green vegetable grow for 2 months:
- Spokane f1, Dutch selection, high-yielding, hardy, light-loving species with low susceptibility to fungal diseases;
- Korenta f1 is a moisture-loving variety intended for open garden ground, pleases with a large rosette of fleshy leaves;
- Varyag, which is distributed by the American company Johnsons, which produces seeds, is distinguished by the presence of a pleasant sourness in the taste.
Warning! After the appearance of arrows and inflorescences, oxalic acid accumulates in spinach leaves.
Useful properties of vegetable spinach
Widespread varieties of spinach do not have any pronounced taste, but are valued for their beneficial effects on the body:
- mild laxative.
It is believed that regular use of spinach strengthens the cardiovascular system, has a positive effect on vision and organs of the musculoskeletal system. It is recommended to use an early spring vegetable garden as a dietary component that contains few calories, and a general tonic for residents of areas with high radiation.
Planting and caring for garden spinach
The cultivation of this garden green has its own specifics, which should be taken into account for harvesting the leaves. In the south, green crops are sown in open ground before winter and early in April or even March. In the areas of the middle lane in the spring they grow under the film and also sow in the fall. Many varieties are cold-resistant, seeds germinate at temperatures above + 3 aboutC. A salad garden culture grows well in greenhouses, where it is used as a sealant in areas with tomatoes, eggplants, and sweet peppers.
Landing site preparation
The soil for spinach should be nutritious and constantly moist, because the roots of the plant are short, located close to the surface. For sowing seeds of early spring garden greens, the following areas are excluded:
- with sandy soil;
- located in a draft.
The beds are laid out in a sunny place protected from the north wind. The culture tolerates light partial shade that falls on the site at lunchtime. In the garden, fertilized in autumn with organic matter, in the spring they add 1 sq. m the following mineral preparations:
- 10-15 g of urea;
- 15 g of potassium sulfate;
- 30 g superphosphate.
Also use 30-50 g of complex preparations with an approximate percentage.
Untreated seeds are soaked in water at room temperature for 20-30 hours. If desired, then you can treat with growth stimulants according to the instructions. Dry the seeds before sowing.
Spinach is sown in rows with a distance of 30 cm or ribbons, in which 2-3 lines are placed. An interval of 20 cm is observed between the lines, and up to 50 cm between wide strips. The sowing depth is different for the types of soil:
- in dense - 2.5 cm;
- on loam and sandy loam - 4 cm.
After sowing, the soil is slightly compacted. The first shoots appear in 6-8 days.
Watering and feeding
Spinach is a moisture-loving garden crop. Leaves are firm and fleshy if the bed is sufficiently moisturized. Otherwise, the plant begins to shoot quickly. They take special care of timely watering in the south. If it rains and the weather is cool, watering is not needed, because with an excess of moisture, fungal diseases develop. After the appearance of 2-3 leaves, the crops of garden greens are fed with solutions of organic matter and wood ash. The fertilization is repeated after 9-12 days.
Attention! When feeding, take into account that vegetable spinach accumulates nitrates. Therefore, nitrogenous substances should not prevail. As well as an excess of potassium, after which the garden crop will quickly create seed arrows.
Weeding and loosening
At the first weeding, the crops are thinned to an interval between plants of 10 cm. Loosening retains moisture in the soil, removes weeds. The foot is deepened by 6-7 cm, being careful not to damage the spinach roots. Mulching of row spacings is also used.
Diseases and pests
In thickened plantings that have not been thinned out, fungal and viral diseases can develop in case of cool weather, constant rains or excessive watering:
- root fusarium rot, especially common in the northwestern regions;
- downy mildew;
- various spots;
- mosaics and curl, which greatly reduce the yield.
The affected bushes are removed. If a disease is detected on the site, the same culture is sown only after 3-4 years.
Many pests of greenery - miner flies, caterpillars, aphids - are first bred on garden weeds. Especially on different types of quinoa, plants of the Amaranth family, to which spinach, beets, and chard belong. Therefore, the garden bed with early spring garden crops is carefully weeded. They get rid of a large number of insects by using infusions of tobacco, tomato stalks, as well as Fitoferms, Bitoxibacillin.
Spinach leaves are ready for harvesting when there are more than 5 of them in the outlet. It is better to harvest the crop in the morning, breaking off one leaf at a time or cutting off the entire outlet. They also practice pulling out a bush with roots, especially when planting densely. In the refrigerator, unwashed leaves wrapped in a bag are stored for 3 days. Valuable garden greens are also frozen, dried or ground with salt, stored in jars. After the appearance of the peduncle, the collection of spinach is stopped.
Advice! There is an opinion that the leaves should be harvested before lunch, because during this period spinach has the highest vitamin C content.
Depending on the variety, the leaves are harvested on the 25-60th day of plant development. Then peduncles are created. The seeds ripen in 3-3.5 months. Sowing in the south is sometimes carried out in August, covering the emerging plants for the winter. Early varieties of spinach are sown in the spring in the garden and in the greenhouse.
Garden spinach is often scattered pointwise throughout the garden, compacting the planting of lettuce, celery, kohlrabi. When growing greens, one must remember that leaves are useful only before the formation of peduncles. In a greenhouse, the plant can quickly shoot at high temperatures.