Well, yes ma’am, it sure can be grown just as safely and easily as lettuce! For the most part, Spinach is actually more cold hardy than lettuce and can be grown just as easily throughout the winter in a cold frame or under row covers in most areas of the country. As with lettuce, if the temperature drops so low that the crop ceases its active growth, it will simply rest until warmer temperatures kick-start it again in spring. You can also pick young leaves as you need them and the plant will keep on growing and producing more leaves.
With all the bad press lately about the safety of bagged fresh spinach, this might be just the time to try your hand at growing fresh greens of your own. Think about how bagged greens have changed the way you see salads. It’s such a cinch to just open a bag and have instant salad. But what if you grew your own?
More work, you say? Yeah, but you’d have a ready supply of greens, you’d know their history (whether chemicals had been used, etc.), you’d be able to grow the exact variety you prefer, and you’d have the joy of knowing that you’re eating something that was lovingly cultivated by your own hand. I can’t tell you how great a feeling it is to come home after a long day at work, decide that you’d rather not cook, and be able to walk out to your garden and pick the most delightful – and healthy – dinner. The worst thing that could come of the recent fiasco is that people shy away from spinach. Popeye didn’t munch can after can of it for no reason – it’s an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, fiber, and protein and it’s naturally low in calories, too!
Any of the varieties we offer will overwinter well in a cold frame. Nadia, I think your buddy in the garden shop has even told me that local farmers say Renegade is the best variety they’ve grown. It matures much earlier than others do – in just 30 days, but you can pick young leaves even earlier – it’s very resistant to mildew, and is adaptable to a wide range of soils and growing conditions. We even offer Organic Renegade seed if you really want to keep close watch on where your food is coming from and what happens to it before it gets to your plate.
I’m sure any variety you choose will go great in that infamous spinach dip you make. I know your recipe calls for the frozen spinach, but why go frozen when you can go fresh! If you get bitten by the greens bug, you might want to check out some others Park Seed offers such as Beets, Mustard, Kale, Radicchio, Swiss Chard, and Turnips. Any of these will do well in cooler weather and produce the most tender young greens your taste buds have ever encountered.
So, get started on your own baby greens, Nadia! And bring me some of that spinach dip! I like mine with the bagel chips, please!