Spinach is a rich source of iron. It is part of hemoglobin, which provides oxygen to all cells of the body. It is especially recommended for women, children, and teenagers.
However, any secrets on how to plant spinach you can learn by reading this article.
Spinach is an annual herb of the family (Spinacia oleracea) cabbage. It forms a small rosette of 6-10 basal leaves and erect stems.
Depending on the species, the appearance of the leaves varies – they can be matte and shiny, with varying degrees of wrinkling and color – from light green to dark – or even gray-green.
DEBUNKING SPINACH MYTHS
Spinach is an annual herbaceous dioecious vegetable plant, 30-45 cm tall, with triangular spear-shaped leaves.
The staminate flowers are green, small, and gathered in fascicles. Pistillate flowers are collected in kidney glomerules in the leaf axils.
Fruits – oval nuts, collected in spines with already aging. Flowers in June and August.
Spinach is native to the Middle East. As it is widely believed, its cultivation began in Persia.
In Central Asia, spinach is found as a weed plant. According to the common version, the name of spinach in European languages can be traced back to the Persian “green hand”.
At the beginning of the 20th century, spinach became very popular in Western countries. At that time, it was wrongly believed that spinach was the richest food in iron (35 mg of iron per 100 g of vegetable).
Doctors recommended spinach, especially to children. In reality, spinach contains 10 times less iron. The confusion was caused by a researcher who forgot to add a decimal point to the figure. The refutation of this myth did not appear until 1981.
According to another account, the error came about in 1890 as a result of a study of dried spinach by Swiss professor Gustav von Bunge.
Von Bunge’s results (35 mg of iron per 100 g of product) were correct, but he did not study fresh but dried spinach. Fresh spinach contains 90% water, which means it contains about 35 mg of iron, not 3.5 mg.
BENEFITS OF SPINACH
Spinach leaves contain protein, fat, sugar, fiber, organic acids, flavonoids, and a balanced multivitamin complex – B, C, P, PP, E, K group of vitamins rich in vitamin A (carotenoids), for example, as well as many essential minerals – iron, potassium, magnesium.
Spinach is used to prevent diseases of the gastrointestinal tract; suffering from anemia, anemia, exhaustion, diabetes, hypertension; in the form of puree for children to prevent diseases.
Likewise, spinach prevents retinal degeneration, has a mild laxative effect, and stimulates the intestinal tract.
Recommended for pregnant women because Contains high amounts of folic acid. The high content of vitamin E protects the body’s cells from aging.
Spinach is an early-maturing vegetable, so decomposed manure or hummus can be used as a fast-acting fertilizer for its crop. It is particularly necessary to introduce hummus to give it an early culture and thicken the crop.
Spinach is picky about soil fertility, so place it in arable land that is rich in organic matter. It yields best on loamy soils.
On vegetables containing sand, it is necessary to water spinach frequently in order to obtain high yields and quality greens. Soils with high acidity must be previously ashed. The best precursors for spinach are vegetables that have been organically fertilized.
The soil for spinach is prepared in autumn: it is dug to the entire depth of the humus layer and fertilized with mineral fertilizers (30 g of calcium superphosphate and 15 g of potassium chloride per 1 m2).
At the same time, the soil is treated with lime, if needed. In early spring, once the soil is ripe for treatment, apply urea at 20 g per 1 m2 under the plow and harrow.
It is not recommended to apply fresh organic fertilizers (manure, slurry, etc.) directly below the spinach crop, as they can negatively affect the flavor of the leaves.
As a rule, for sowing spinach, no special plots are allocated; they are usually sown in the spring as a precursor to hot late vegetable crops.
In smaller areas, spinach is used as a compactor (together with other vegetables or in the garden aisles) for sowing.
PUTTING SPINACH IN THE GREENHOUSE
In spring, in greenhouses, spinach is grown mainly in greenhouses and on insulated floors. Under these conditions, good results can only be obtained on soils with high humus content.
Usually, a mixture of humus and turf or garden soil (equal amounts) is prepared for the greenhouse.
Spinach is light-sensitive, therefore, only from the end of February the spring crop of greenhouses in the region is planted.
Seeds are sown with a greenhouse seeder at a distance of 6 cm (1 sq. ft.) between rows. 20-30 g of seeds were sown.
When growing in greenhouses, the temperature is kept at 10°C-12°C (50°F-53.6°F) on cloudy days and at 18°C on sunny days.
Previously, spinach seeds should be soaked in water for one to half a day to obtain earlier and friendlier shoots. Shortly before sowing, dry the swollen seeds slightly so they do not stick together.
SOWING IN THE OPEN AIR
Spinach is a fairly hardy plant that grows well outdoors. Spinach seedlings can withstand frosts down to -8°С (17.6°F). Spinach planted before winter can hibernate under snow (alleys with small covers in the middle).
When the snow completely melts (from mid-April to July) using mature leaves, until mid-August (using young leaves), it is possible to sow spinach on open ground. Conveyor sowing is done 20-30 days apart.
In summer, spinach sowing can be done only in areas that have been watered beforehand. Before emergence, cover these plots with old mats and other materials to speed up the emergence of seedlings.
On the ridges, spinach was sown in the usual way, in rows 30 cm (11.8inch) apart, at a depth of 2 cm-3 cm (0.78inch-1.18inch) and at a rate of 4-5 g per 1 m2. after sowing, the soil was rolled up.
For autumn consumption, spinach was sown from June to July, while in southern areas it was sown in August to be used as a winter crop for harvesting in early spring. Spinach grown in autumn can be harvested in winter where winter temperatures do not fall below 12°C (53.6°F).
As the seedlings grow (second true leaves appear), the crop thins so that the plants are 8cm-10cm (3.14inch-3.93inch) apart from each other, as two seedlings emerge from a single spherical seed in spinach.
Crop thickening is undesirable – poor ventilation increases the risk of powdery mildew infection. It is very important that the rows between plants should be about 15cm (5.9inch) apart, taking care not to damage the rest of the plants. After thinning is complete, water the spinach.
To prevent premature plant entanglement in dry and hot weather, spinach should be well watered. If needed, fertilize with a combination of watering and nitrogen fertilizer (10-15 grams of urea per 1 square meter). Adding phosphorus and potassium fertilizers to spinach is not recommended, as they accelerate the sprouting of the plants.
The soil must be loosened regularly throughout the growing season. In dry weather, plants need watering to develop a bumper crop and a good appearance. It is usually necessary to drink 2 to 3 times a week, running continuously 3 liters of water per meter. Normal soil moisture will prevent the spinach from becoming tangled.
Spinach begins to be harvested when the plants have 5-6 leaves. Spinach is ready for harvest 3-5 weeks after germination for spring-sown spinach and 4-6 weeks for summer spinach. It is very important to harvest on time: if the plant is too old, the leaves will become coarse and tasteless.
Rosette knots are cut into first pieces or pulled from the roots. But you can pick the leaves as needed. It is best to harvest spinach in the morning, but not immediately after watering or rain when the leaves are very fragile and break easily.
Spinach yields are 1.5-2kg per square meter.
They can also be transported and stored in dry form only. Store spinach in a plastic bag at the bottom of the refrigerator for no more than two days.
To prepare it for winter, it can be frozen – stored in frozen form and retains its useful properties well.
Spinach is harvested in several steps as the plant grows and new leaves are formed until the mass shooting.
SPINACH PESTS AND DISEASES
Aphids are happy to settle on the juicy spinach leaves and the larvae of tsetse flies will eat them. Nudibranchs and snails also like this vegetable.
In late summer, downy mildew may appear on the leaves, especially if planted intensively. Plants are often affected by various spots.
It is difficult to deal with these pests and diseases because spraying pesticides on leafy vegetables are not recommended.
Therefore, in order to prevent them, it is important to strictly follow agricultural techniques and to remove plant residues in a timely manner.
Spinach seedlings and young plants can be attacked by root rot. The root ring rots the plant wilts and then dies. Control measures – thinning, loosening. You should not place crops after beets.
Spinach is damaged by beet fly and aphid larvae. Spray seeds at a rate of 15 cm3 per 10 liters of water or phosphamidon (0.2%). Food crops should not be sprayed.