Something About Spinach

Spinach header image

If you have any space left in your polytunnel, you have two choices; you can either choose crops to overwinter, keeping you well-stocked in the colder months, or you can choose to sow for a quick harvest. This is where spinach comes to the fore. A couple of years ago, spinach was hailed as a superfood, pushing it back into the spotlight. It has been a renowned plant for centuries, appearing in the first known English cookbook as well as the favourite food of the beloved sailor, Popeye. 

So which delicious spinach varieties should you be growing for your final last-ditch harvest? Let us investigate it for you:

Barbados

This variety is renowned for its smooth round leaves and can be picked as both mature or baby leaf. Helpfully the variety is resistant to downy mildew though similar to the red-veined, it will bolt through hot spells unless watered regularly. It is a compact grower, keeping its leaves off the ground. Though the leaves are smaller than some other varieties, there are lots of them which more than makes up for the size.

 

Amazon

Amazon Spinach

This variety is a bit of a powerhouse. It produces beautiful glossy, rounded leaves throughout the harvesting season. It is fast-growing and reasonably petite so it is a good housemate within a tunnel. This can be grown outside or undercover, however, if you are growing at the end of the season, popping it under the tunnel gives the optimum cropping. 

Violin

This new variety offers flexibility, as you can harvest the tender young leaves raw or wait until they are larger and maturer and perfect for steaming. This variety produces abundantly and is fairly resistant to bolting and downy mildew. Violin has a great flavour and is a straightforward variety. 

Red Veined

red veined spinach

This variety is admittedly here for its looks, the unusual colouring brings variety to both plate and palate. It is perfect to eat raw when picked young and eaten as baby leaves in a salad; however, the red veins do become more pronounced as the crop matures. Remember to water regularly through warm weather as this variety is liable to bolt.  

Perpetual Spinach

Perpetual Spinach is a bit of an outlier, as it is not actually a spinach - but chard. Despite this, it has a similar taste to spinach, but just a touch earthier. As a crop, it is far more vigorous and is easier to grow than true spinach. It is constantly producing (hence the name) so it is great if you are short on space. It can be grown in containers if necessary, but if you are looking for an easy introduction to spinach, Perpetual Spinach is the place to start.