Newest Review: ... our blood. This is mainly because spinach is rich in iron and iron has those effects on our bodies. Spinach also contains good amounts of... more
Easy to grow and good for you
Member Name: Stewwydablue
Advantages: Easy to grow
Disadvantages: Can go to seed quickly if in very hot conditions
If you can get to April and still have the post Christmas urge to eat healthier, spinach is something that you could easily have growing in a small pot and pick a few leaves from every now and again to add to salads or steam with cabbage / other leaves. It's one of the easiest plants to grow in our climate, as it doesn't really like excessive heat and there isn't much of that in the average UK summertime. I'll aim this review at those who either want to try growing their own, and those who are just interested in eating it and the benefits of having spinach in our diet.
It's a plant, similar to lettuce that prefers mild weather so the best time to plant the seeds is at the end of march, early april. Spinach is a member of the Amaranthacea family, and is found in various forms over a wide swathe of the world. It prefers damp but warm soil, so in the heat of a dry summer the spinach plants get stressed easily and will "bolt" or go to seed - the plant thinks the heat will kill it off so it quickly produces flowers which will spread their seed and ensure the plant's survival. Once a spinach plant has bolted, the leaves taste bitter and aren't as nice so try growing in a cool, slightly shady patch and keep the soil watered.
To stop this happening, keep the soil damp and have it full of rich organic matter - a good garden compost will help. To plant the seeds, prepare an area of ground (or a pot) by mixing in compost and then plant each seed about 3 inches apart and half an inch deep. Keep watered, and within 8 weeks you should be picking spinach leaves. Try to alternate which plants you pick from to allow new leaves to grow in the place of those you've picked. If you grow in rows, keep each row about ten inches apart.
There is a technique called succesional planting where you plant each row 3 weeks apart - this gives you a longer more continual supply of spinach rather than it coming all at once.
BENEFITS OF EATING SPINACH
Far cleverer people than me have studied the properties of spinach and the positive effects on our health that they have. Some of the effects spinach has on us include increasing energy levels, vitality and enriches our blood. This is mainly because spinach is rich in iron and iron has those effects on our bodies. Spinach also contains good amounts of vitamins A, C and K and is known as being a good source of folic acid - desirable for pregnant women. Vitamin K is good for bone strength and is hard to find in the same quantities in other vegetables that spinach has it in.
Try mixing in washed but uncooked spinach leaves with lettuce, pine nuts and olive oil for a super healthy salad. Also, spinach is good as a cooked vegetable substitute for cabbage when trying to get kids to eat greens - mainly thanks to Popeye's love of spinach and the bad reputation cabbage has amongst children.
You can get hold of packs of spinach seeds for less than a pound - some supermarkets have a "grow your own" range of seeds so they aren't difficult to get hold of. If you are a person who eats a lot of shop bought salads, try growing a mixture of spinach and lettuce and you will save a small fortune over spring into autumn. I promise it isn't difficult to grow, just keep the soil moist and out of fiercely hot sunshine and spinach plants will thrive. For it's easiness to grow, cheapness of seeds and health benefits I think five stars is a fair award for spinach.
Summary: Try growing some for yourself
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