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It’s too early for this

By Penny Stine

I always plant spinach sometime in late October or early November. It usually comes up a couple months later in late winter and survives some very cold temperatures. This year, I planted it in a bed that gets a lot of shade in the summertime and sun in the winter thanks to some huge nearby deciduous trees. I also planted garlic around the edges of the bed and there's some sage and columbine in there, too. What can I say? I like variety.





Oops. The spinach is up already.

Normally, it stays at this seedling stage for a month or two, depending on how early it comes up.


Because it was so warm until this last weekend, some of the spinach formed a first leaf. It's a really tiny leaf, but still...

So now I'm in a quandary. I don't want it to die, but I don't really want it to grow too much, either. I'm thinking that maybe I'll just water it with the hose or a watering can on weekends if it's been particularly dry.

Whaddya think? Should I cover it with mulch and hope for the best or leave it uncovered and water occasionally? Last year, I had some over-winter broccoli that came up in the fall (like it was supposed to) but didn't survive the winter. I think it was the lack of water rather than the cold that doomed it.   

So maybe I should water the spinach this weekend, cover it with mulch and continue to water once in a while if it doesn't snow. Oh, decisions, decisions. The things we gardeners do for a freshly picked spinach salad. 


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