Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spinach

Of Spinach there are three kinds. The one that has a prickly seed. The one that has a less prickly seed. And the one that is a cross between prickly and less prickly. Quite why I think of them this way, and which one is which, I do not remember, but in my mind Spinach has become all about bolting. And one secret is to plant your spring Spinach some time in December, so they can be big and strong around the middle of March. But this particular secret is so secret, the part of the brain which keeps secrets thought it best not to say anything until a couple of days ago, causing an ennui not cured by the gentle reminder that ground has been pretty much frozen since December, and any little warm spells which might have encouraged hope, have been very quickly throttled by the sort of plunging temperatures that spit on all hardy annuals which are remotely precocious, even if they do come from Persia.

 There is of course the option of covering the Spinach bed with straw or some other light mulch, but generally when you do that the winter turns mild and damp. Which means that all you have really succeeded in doing is creating a habitat for the horrible children of Hoppy Bug and other such citizens of a tapestry that include the sorts of pox that end up on your Tomato causing them to explode the night before you decide to pick them. And when all these things are resolved, the odds are ambient temperatures have exceeded 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the days have lengthened and really there is not a damn thing you can do about bolting Spinach except pull it all up, and if you make the mistake of trying to cook it, you end up with about five tablespoons for the freezer.  Spinach, however, is one of the earlier of fresh green things to eat from a garden, which is one reason to persevere.

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