I’m quick to the finish, ’cause I eats me Spinach!
Many of us are familiar with a certain sailor man who was a big fan of spinach, because it gave him almost supernatural strength. While we won’t promise you (or maybe “threaten you with” would be a better way to put it) gigantic forearms like he had, we can tell you that there’s a lot of health benefits to the green, leafy vegetable he ate so frequently.
For starters, spinach is low in calories and fats. It is packed with fiber and iron, as well as having anti-oxidants. It can help your body fight a number of diseases, as well as the effects of aging. It’s great for your eyes, your skin, your lungs, your bones… basically, it’s beneficial to your entire body.
Spinach is AWESOME!
Spinach can be used in salads, boiled, sautéed, added to soups, stews, casseroles, omelets, smoothies, and a number of other dishes. Toss a bit into almost any dish to give it an extra nutritional punch.
As with any vegetable, the absolute best way to enjoy spinach is when it’s freshly picked directly from your garden.
One of the best things about growing spinach is that you can start planting as soon as the ground thaws. Because it requires cool weather to grow, if you’re in an area that has mild, later winters, you can also plant in the fall. The plants need about six weeks to mature. It doesn’t do well in the heat, though, so don’t try to grow it in the middle of the summer.
Spinach does best in full sun, though light shade is OK, too. It also needs well-draining soil.
Plant seeds ½ inch to an inch deep, and about an inch apart. When they get to be about 2 inches tall, thin them so they’re about 3 to 4 inches apart. Don’t do too much digging around your spinach; the roots are shallow, and can be damaged easily. However, make sure you water your spinach regularly.
Don’t put off harvesting for too long. Spinach can get bitter after the plant reaches maturity. You can either remove the whole plant at once, or pick off leaves from the outside of the plant so the smaller ones inside have a chance to mature.
As with any leafy vegetable, be sure to wash your spinach well before you eat it.