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What happened to my Spinach?

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What happened to my Spinach?

Post  birdlady511 on 11/21/2010, 3:41 pm

Hi, I am a first season SFG Gardener. I planted mostly Collards, Broccoli and Cabbage. I planted these the first week of September. (I live in Eastern Tennessee) I have harvested already 3 times from the Collards, all of my Broccoli and one head of my cabbage with more cabbage growing well. I consider my first attempt at SFG'ing a complete success. Not so with the Spinach seeds which I planted September 18. I planted seven squares, with 4 seeds to a square. I took my ruler out with me to make sure they were just 1/2" below the soil which the package of seeds suggested. I have had only 2 plants sprout. I can't figure out what went wrong. Does anyone know what could have happened or any suggestions for me for next time I try. I tried planting Spinach one other time in North Florida, and no plants came up then either. Is Spinach just hard to grow or is it something I am doing? BTW, I am using Mel's mix in my garden. Thank you for this wonderful forum. Thanksgivings blessings to everyone.
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birdlady511

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Re: What happened to my Spinach?

Post  Megan on 11/21/2010, 5:58 pm

Hi birdlady, welcome to the forum! glad you\'re here

I haven't tried growing spinach myself yet, so I'm not sure what to say. Given that your other plantings seem to be successful, my first question would be whether your spinach seed was in-date. Also, sometimes you just never know.... might have been a temperature issue (though I don't know why spinach wouldn't grow when brassicas could.) Do try again, though! Smile
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Re: What happened to my Spinach?

Post  Blackrose on 11/21/2010, 6:22 pm

Hi birdlady!

You mentioned that you planted 4 spinach seeds per square. Are you only putting one seed per hole? Mel suggests planting 2-3 seeds per hole and then only keeping one of those sprouts. Also, with spinach I believe you can grow 9 plants per square.

Spinach is a cool weather crop. So, if your broccoli and cabbage are doing well, so should the spinach. I planted spinach in the spring here in Canada, and it all sprouted and grew well. Until the leafminers got them. Smile

As Megan said, your seed may be old. Try buying new seed and see if that helps.

Good luck!! Very Happy
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Re: What happened to my Spinach

Post  birdlady511 on 11/21/2010, 8:11 pm

Thank you Megan and Blackrose for your suggestions. Unfortunately I don't have the packet of seeds any longer so I can't check the date. That is a real possibility though that the seeds were old. I can't remember if I put more than 1 seed to a hole. I do remember reading that in Mel's book though so probably I did. Thank you though for your encouragement to try again so I will do that next year. I have really enjoyed this whole experience and am already planning to put in another garden for the Spring. Happy Gardening.
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birdlady511

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Re: What happened to my Spinach?

Post  Megan on 11/21/2010, 8:15 pm

I'm so glad you've had fun with it! This was my first year, too, since I was a child growing up on my family's farm. Sometimes, too, it just doesn't work out and you never find out why. My peas bombed this spring, I got only a few handsful, and my kohlrabi mostly didn't form bulbs. But overall, it's been great! Very Happy
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Welcome

Post  bettyd_z7_va on 11/22/2010, 10:22 am

Welcome Birdlady,

I grew spinach for the first time this fall. I was a few weeks late getting my seed in the ground for some of the things I tried. Don't remember if spinach was one of those.

It loves cool weather, so if you had a hot Sept, try again in Oct next year. Our Sept here in Cen Va was HOT.

I didn't plant nearly enough of spinach or kale this year. I can see spending lots of $$s on Mel's Mix for all of the SFGs we want to add next spring. Our Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Anniversary and Birthday presents to each other will probably be garden related! lol Thanks to Mel, we're hooked!

Don't give up on the spinach. It is so good home-grown that I eat most of mine while I'm harvesting other greens, thinning plants and such. I pick and munch and the spinach never makes it into the house! I do take my large (4 cup) glass measuring cup out and fill it at least half full with spinach leaves as a starter for a veggie/fruit shake. Yummy.

Betty

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No spinach

Post  ander217 on 11/22/2010, 11:26 am

Welcome to the forum, Birdlady. I'm glad your other plantings were successful.

I wish I knew what was wrong with your fall spinach because the exact same thing happened to mine. I grew spinach in the spring just fine. (The rabbits loved it.) I bought a packet of seed last fall from Baker Creek which was supposed to be a variety recommended for fall planting. We dedicated an entire 4' x 10' raised bed to spinach, and like you, we planted it the first week of September. Everything else we planted both in raised beds and SFG boxes grew just fine, but the spinach never came up. About two weeks ago I noticed two spinach plants just beginning to grow in the bed. Even though our area is in drought, we kept that bed watered right along with the rest of the garden in hopes that something would eventually sprout, but with the exception of those two late hatches, nothing ever did. Hubby and I are both stumped.
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Re: What happened to my Spinach

Post  birdlady511 on 11/22/2010, 11:50 am

Ander217, I think that Betty may have hit on something. It was hot in TN. in September and maybe I didn't plant the Spinach late enough to catch the cooler weather. I will try again next year but wait until October. Do you remember if it was hot also in your area at that time? Don't give up and I won't either. I'm glad that everything else did well for you also.
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Hot weather?

Post  ander217 on 11/22/2010, 4:02 pm

Early September was unusually hot and dry for us, too. However, at the same time I also planted lettuce, radishes, turnips, mustard greens, arugula, and kale. All of those are also cool-weather plants. I didn't get a good stand on the turnips, but the rest came up fine and are still producing. In the past I've found that spinach will germinate in hot weather, but if the growing temps are warm it bolts immediately. Normally, planting in September gives cool crops a chance to germinate and establish in warm temps, but then cooler temps arrive in time for the more critical growing stage. My spinach seed did not germinate at all that I could see. My seed was only a year old, and some of the seeds that came up of other crops were much older than that.

I will plant Bloomsdale spinach again in spring, and I'm going to try planting a little more of the Gigante d'Inverno fall spinach next fall, along with Bloomsdale to see if the seed was at fault. Unless we have bad seed, I can't figure out what the problem is. (But then, if the seed is bad why did two plants suddenly decide to germinate?) thinking
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You might be right

Post  ander217 on 11/22/2010, 4:22 pm

I went back and rechecked that blog that Camprn linked to in the "November in the Mid-South garden" thread. I clicked on spinach in that discussion about seeding spinach in November, and apparently there is a difference in germination temperatures depending on variety. While I've never had a problem getting Bloomsdale to germinate, it's possible that the Gigante d'Inverno seeds I sowed in September might have been one of the varieties which will not germinate in warmer temps. (That would make sense since Baker Creek markets it as a fall-planted spinach.) I liked her suggestion of covering the beds with boards a week before sowing to keep the soil temp cooler.

I never ceased to be amazed at how much I learn from this forum, nor how long it sometimes takes for that info to sink into my hard head.
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keep trying!

Post  Finch on 11/28/2010, 1:15 am

I'm near chattanooga and also planted in early September. I had to water constantly, and even shaded the bed. I thought nothing would ever come up, it was so slow while everything else sprang up. But now I have a beautiful spinach bed. I think the "secret" was my lucky timing. It happened to cool off just a bit that week while germination was going on. Afterwards it was HOT again, but by that time the little slow pokes were on their way. From now on I will always watch for that first cool week in September to plant spinach.
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