SPINACH

This vegetable must have moist, rich soil, otherwise the plants will run to seed or ‘bolt’. Work in plenty of compost, peat, hop manure etc., before sowing. Make successional sowings from the end of February to mid-June and thin out to 4 in. apart. The later sowings can go between rows of peas, beans, onions or parsnips. This will give some shade and keep the spinach seedlings cool at the roots, although artificial watering may still be needed in dry weather. Sutton’s Long-Standing Round and Zenith XXX are good varieties. Long-Standing Prickly or winter spinach is sown from July to early September to pick from November to April. New Zealand spinach is quite distinct in habit from the above varieties. It makes a low-growing spreading plant and seedlings should be spaced 3 ft. apart. The arrow-shaped leaves are thick and fleshy and less bitter in taste than the ordinary spinach. It tolerates hot, dry soils but is a little tender and should be sown under glass in March to plant out in May. Perpetual spinach or spinach beet can be sown in March for summer and autumn use and again in August for gathering in winter and early spring. This, of course, enables one to have spinach practically the whole year round The large, coarse leaves are usually less trouble to cook than other types of spinach and directly one picking has been made, fresh leaves appear. When thinning, set the plants about 10 in. apart.

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