This is another story here on Acorns On Glen about planting spinach. It’s a deja vu spinach story because I wrote about planting spinach in the Fall and harvesting it in early Spring during the beginning months after creation of this blog. The only thing that is different in this story is the location of where I planted the new Fall crop of spinach. I also hope that the harvesting of our early Spring spinach will be a new twist as well. To be totally honest, I hope that my harvest of any vegetables will make it to the pages of Acorns On Glen. If you review past posts, you will read a lot about planting and initial sprouting, but not anything on end-state harvesting other than a vegetable here or there. Why? Well as they say in real estate, location is everything, and so is the plot you use to build your raised bed gardens.
The trouble started in the late Fall of 2010, when I decided to have some local carpenters help me build my first raised bed garden. I remember walking through the woods outside of our fenced in back yard and finding a spot that was clear of trees and absolutely had the bright sun hitting it for a good part of the day. The garden was built over a few days and we actually used skinny trunks of trees to hold up the metal fencing that we used to keep the deer out of the garden. Everything sounds great so far, right? Yes, they were well laid plans except for one key element. The trees surrounding the clearing in the forest which borders our house did not have leaves on their branches during my Fall scouting adventure. So, of course there would be lots of sun shining throughout the day. What I didn’t plan into the equation was that when the trees had their leaves return in Spring, that those leaves would block off a majority of sunlight through each and every day until they fell off again during Fall! In other words, what I had built was a very expensive shade garden!
At first, when I realized that there were only a few hours of direct sunlight, I was in shock and really unable to process this new fact. It had to be something else! I sent a soil sample to my local agricultural extension, but found that I had really fertile soil. Then I thought it was bad seeds, but maybe one pack could be bad, but 20-30 packs? No way. It was time to man up and face this little mistake.
Thinking back on it, I exhibited all of the signs described in the SARA emotional model. Are you familiar with SARA? When a dramatic event happens in people’s lives, their emotional process in dealing with the event is often referred to as the SARA model. SARA stands for:
- Shock–I can’t believe I could make such a stupid mistake. That’s not like me! This leaves on trees thing has to be wrong.
- Anger–I am pissed that I spent so much money on a glorified shade garden! How could this happen!
- Resistance–I am going to keep planting and I know that these plants will grow. It’s just a bad planting season. This lasted most of the Summer as I planted seed after seed, plant after plant into the shaded raised beds.
- Acceptance–I am going to plant some new Fall spinach in an empty area of my flower garden in the back yard and fit in other vegetable plants there as well when it is time to plant them. It will be pretty. Now where did I lay my new book on shade gardening in raised beds?
All Spring and Summer long, I would be in my resistance mode and keep planting and planting. The seeds would sprout and grow about one inch and then that was it. The plants I grew under the grow light in my basement never really grew much more from the size they were at planting. Final result…I harvested three tomatoes, maybe a squash and a few small radishes. Everything else….you guessed it, there wasn’t anything else. So here’s to the garden of 2012. Let’s hope for a harvest (any kind of harvest) and let’s hope it starts with early Spring spinach.
There are a few areas which are fairly large in size in my flower beds in the back yard that I usually plant annuals in during early Spring. I’ve decided to use these areas for vegetables and quit with the annuals. I am going to plant vegetables in them to mix with all the great flowers and bushes that are present. For the spinach, I picked an area not far from our back door to plant it in over the weekend.
Again, I used the same spinach seed as I did a year ago: one is a traditional smooth leaf and one a savoy or curly leaf.
- ‘Space’ is the smooth-leaf variety. It has medium dark green leaves with are upright and smooth to maybe a little savoyed.
- ‘Tyee’ is the savoyed-leaf variety. It is considered the standard of savoyed spinach for its bolt resistance and vigorous growth. Dark green leaves with an upright growth habit. I was told it was ideal for over-wintering.
To protect the seeds during the harsh Winter, I again used a floating row cover pinned down by pegs to buffer the planted seeds from the elements.
Just like last year, JoJo, our Yorkie was there to oversee the gardening that was occurring. She sends her love to all.
The end result was the same instructions from last year, just in a new location and new hopes for more spinach than we can eat in the early Spring of 2012. This time around I have the seeds, the equipment and pure, bright, unfiltered sun light. This has to work!
So when you see me post something from now on about gardening, but primarily when you see me show a seed being put in the ground, please make me post the subsequent harvest. Help keep me honest and, more importantly, keep me from SARA in 2012. How was your gardening results for the 2011 season?