Friday, May 15, 2015

Overwintered Spinach

Weedy spinach bed

Yesterday morning was time for my second and final picking of the overwintered spinach. The spinach comes to a close every year when the plants start to bolt and the leaf miners start laying their eggs.

Leaf miner eggs

I saw this on the back of the spinach leaves which is a sure sign to eat those leaves or lose them. I don't protect my overwintered spinach in the spring since bolting is just about the same times as the miners hit. Last week when I was picking the spinach I had to be careful as a swarm of paper wasps were working in the bed. I don't know what they were after. I like to think it is cutworms since they are taking down my carrots, but it could be the flies that were starting to lay eggs on the back of the spinach. Whatever they were after I wouldn't want to cover the plants with netting to keep them out. I do my spring planted spinach. If I didn't it would be too damaged from the leaf miners as those plants are too small yet to pick.

After picking I immediately brought it in and blanched it. Some I kept in the fridge for dinner, but the rest was frozen. I always boil the overwintered spinach as the oxalic acid content is higher than the spring spinach. Boiling removes a good amount of it. I've also found that I like to cook up large quantities of greens like kale, mizuna, and spinach right away. It is so much easier to store cooked and small. If I had to put them all in the fridge without being cooked down, they would take up way too much space. Last year I would wait until I wanted to eat some. This year I'm being more proactive about it. I like it too as it makes cooking up dinner much faster. I only do this for greens though as I like them plain - either steamed or boiled. Things like bok choy or tatsoi I tend to cook into things, so they are are still cooked when needed.

If you notice in that first photo, I hadn't weeded this spinach bed. All the spring ones are done. I've been having trouble convincing myself to pull the johnny-jump-ups. I even have volunteer chamomile in the bed. The jump ups have been a bit out of control in the yard over the last couple of years. I pulled them every where else in the yard, but I left them here. I just like them too much. But soon I'll pull the whole bed. It is destined to be my sweet potato bed come June 1st. At least if the weather permits.


  1. I did notice the johnny-jump-ups, I wish they would volunteer around my garden, they're so cheerful. I try to do the same thing with my greens, I'm much more likely to eat them all if I blanch them first, plus there's the bonus of taking up less space in the fridge.

    1. I've only just discovered what johnny-jump-up's are - such pretty little things!

  2. I am afraid spinach is one of the rare vegetables that we just do not like.

  3. I haven't covered the spinach bed yet, but will do so once the chard is in - hopefully today. With all of the alliums being covered this year, in addition to the brassicas & spinach/chard bed, I'll be running out of rebar soon.