We grew two types of spinach next to each other this spring. Bloomsdale Long Standing and Merlo Nero Spinach. We were looking to see if we had a spinach preference. Maybe one would grow better, maybe one would taste better? Maybe one would be less prone to insect attacks.We enjoyed growing our watermelons together last year to pick a favorite. So we hoped to see a big difference. So today I asked Scott while he was harvesting it all what he had to say about the spinach growing experiment. Did he notice a difference? His comments were, “they both grew, they both bolted, and they both taste good.” So there you go folks. The in-depth analysis about the two spinaches.
To be more specific, we planted them from seed on February 27th, and they had already started to bolt when we picked them today, so maturity for both Bloomsdale and Merlo Nero was about 10 weeks for us. Spinach in general likes to grow in cooler weather and I’ve read that it’s best to start it 6 weeks before your first frost in fall and 6 weeks before your last frost in spring. Pretty easy to remember.
When the days get too long in spring, that’s when they start to bolt, which is exactly what’s happened to us. Especially after this past weekend’s heat wave (which hit at the exact same time as last year!) No matter though, we had a good crop. The Bloomsdale spinach was a little less savoyed (or crinkled) than the Merlo Nero and the leaves were also slightly lighter in color and more delicate in nature than the Merlo Nero spinach. The Merlo Nero definately had more heft to the leaves. Maybe you could say that the Merlo Nero spinach is better for cooking and the Bloomsdale is better for fresh salads, but in the end, they are both great spinaches.
We eat a lot of spinach. We heard once that the average American eats about 3lbs of spinach a year and I think we far exceed that in our diet. It’s just so good. You can eat it raw, cooked, braised, pureed into smoothies, wilted in salads, hidden in raviolis… the possibilities are endless. I bet you eat a lot of spinach too. Time to make Spinach & Green Garlic Soup!
Do you have a favorite spinach variety?