I’ve grown spinach every year since 2003. For years I’ve seen seed catalog photos of large spinach plants, thinking they must be liars. My spinach was always small, would produce a few leaves, and it would proceed to bolt if the sun looked at it wrong. We’d get a nice crop of baby spinach, but that’s really about it.
Apparently 2011 is an epic vintage for spinach though, because I am experiencing mutant spinach like I’ve never seen before. The big leaves are larger than my open hand. Each plant is yielding a salad, not a bite. I under-seeded my tomatoes with it, and I have to get in there and harvest the spinach as it’s over-taking my tomatoes. What the heck.
So the race is on. I’m fairly confident that once this deluge of rain stops and the sun shows its face again, my spinach will bolt madly and be finished in a flurry. So I have a few days yet to harvest and gorge on [and share] spinach. Like any other fruit and vegetable, when at its peak of health and freshness in a great year, it’s remarkable. It’s actually a good example of why I started gardening – I can’t buy this quality, and especially the freshness of picking leaves in the garden dripping with rain water and stuffing them in one’s face. The large leaves require two attempts at stuffing into the face – yes I know because I’ve tried. One bite doesn’t do the job. That’s crazy spinach.
wow, i kind of wished i had grown spinach this year then! i stopped growing it because of all the reasons you mentioned, and switched to kale and chard instead. maybe its not too late.
Wow, that is amazing. I had a good crop last year an no luck this year (maybe old seed or bad soil?). But the potatoes and onions are coming on gangbusters in the wet weather. Alas, they are not so tasty eaten directly from the ground… :).
My potatoes have gone wild in this cold wet weather. WILD. I just did the first hilling and came out 4 days later to find another 6 inches of monster growth on top! I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’ll take it gladly.
That is some awesome spinach, totally jealous.
If you have too much to eat fresh, have you thought about freezing some to add to recipes later? It would be a shame to not use it up. You just need to blanch, ice bath, and dry them out, then freeze in portioned baggies. Frozen spinach is a delicious addition to lots of cool-weather meals like pasta sauce, soups, and my favorite invention: in olive oil saute onions, garlic, ginger, and pureed pumpkin (also frozen from growing months), serve over quinoa or rice and and top with toasted pine-nuts. Cooked spinach is also much more nutritious since the nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body.
Just some suggestions!
Michelle – I froze some last year, and honestly, never used it. Perhaps one of the consequences of having a root cellar full of veg to use instead – frozen veg doesn’t seem so sexy anymore…? And we’ll use it. Doesn’t take many meals with cooked spinach to plow through a bunch. Later in the year, my green of choice for adding to other dishes [stews, soups, etc] is kale – seems more versatile and flavorful. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions – love it, great ideas.
Your spinach looks amazing. Those spinach on the packages must be grown in wet climates like Washington, Oregon or Beautiful British Columbia,eh.
I’ve been surprised to see that my potted tomatoes are loving the rain but the ones I planted in the ground don’t seem quite as happy. It could be that the pots get more direct sunlight than my litlle side garden. I wonder.
For some reason Michelle’s description of her favorite winter meal made me think of pesto. Does you basil like the wet weather as well as your spinach does?
That spinach looks amazing, and the photos are great! I love fresh spinach and it doesn’t get much better than fresh-picked!
I was going to suggest the same thing as Michelle. I often use frozen chopped spinach in the winter for fritattas and spanikopita and stuff like that. I am often craving it in the dead of winter. I am surprised you didn’t use it. i really do enjoy frozen veggies that I have put up myself… but then again, I do not have a root cellar.
That spinach is MAMMOTH!