In order to jump-start the garden we set two varieties of spinach seeds (Giant Noble and Bloomsdale Longstanding) in little plugs today. When using the square foot gardening method we plant as many plants per square foot as the earth can sustain. Since we continually harvest spinach it does not grow into a large bushy plant and so we place nine sprouts per square foot. All in all we will have 144 spinach plants in 16 square feet.
We use one flat at a time, to set 72 spinach plants. They are on the back porch, out of the wind, right up against the house. These will sprout in about seven days. On the 17th of March the sprouts move out to the garden and we seed 72 additional plugs to transplant on the 27th.
The 8th, 17th, and 27th are all ancient-farmer approved planting days, so sayeth the honorable Farmers’ Almanac. On the 17th the moon sign is Cancer and the 27th the moon sign is Scorpio… Both are water signs just like today.
When starting seeds indoors gardeners recommend a “hardening off” period. In the past I have lost plants due to my own impatience with the hardening off time. We decided to keep the seedlings on the open-air back porch this year in order to skip this transitional period. The temperatures on the back porch fluctuate with the outdoors while providing a bit of wind and sun protection until the seeds sprout.
Occasionally, even in March we can get a night or two of freezing temperatures. Luckily, spinach is a cold weather crop that can handle the frost. By staggering the planting dates we are easing the workload and safeguarding the second batch against any pesky last-minute freezes. I’m gambling a little bit here, but with global climate change shifting the seasons I think the spinach will be alright. (Not that I’m a fan of global climate change.) Hopefully, we’re past any freezes for this year. If all goes well, we’ll enjoy spinach salads from April until the too-hot summer months.
Not sure how this garden will grow, but we’ll keep you posted.