Monday, April 30, 2012

Spinach... it's what's for lunch

Spinach wasn't exactly a bumper crop in my 2011 rooftop garden. I managed to harvest a few tiny leaves by the time the weather started getting warm and killing off my plants.

2012 is turning out to be a much better year. I'd like to take credit for the difference -- but I think more consistently warm (but not hot) weather has played a big role. I also switched from Bloomsdale Long Standing spinach seeds to America.

Anyway, I have several very healthy plants going right now and I picked some spinach to make a spinach-and-tempeh sandwich for lunch yesterday, and it was delicious. 

I've still got a fungus gnat infestation to deal with. I've been watering the planters with water that has BT mixed in -- but it hasn't had much of an impact. That might be because the BT isn't dissolving in the water as much as I thought it would -- but today I tried crumbling the mosquito dunk before adding it to a bucket of water, so I'm hoping that will work better than just dropping a chunk in a bucket and waiting.

The snow peas have been growing like crazy and I suspect they'll start blooming within a few weeks. 

While the plants that started outdoors are strong and healthy with thick stems and large leaves, one of the plants that started their lives in tiny pots in the windowsill died shortly after I put it outside. The other is alive, but hardly thriving.

Our windows might just not get enough light to do any serious seed starting indoors -- which is a shame, because I've got some peppers and tomatoes starting off indoors right now and I'd really like them to get strong enough to weather the rooftop conditions if I try to transplant them in late May or early June. But we might be better off picking up some plants at a nursery when the time comes.

It should also be time to start picking garlic soon -- but I should probably have done a better job of labeling the garlic when I planted it. Since I put garlic in the ground (or pots) three different times, I need to make sure not to dig up the younger plants too early. I was kind of counting on the oldest plants identifying themselves by out-sizing their younger cousins. But that might not actually happen.

A few planters are also little experimental grounds for growing multiple plants in the same container. 

Here we've got snow peas, garlic, and spinach all growing in the same planter. The spinach at the front is thriving, but if you look closely you'll see a tiny spinach plant on the right which probably isn't getting enough sunlight because of the shade cast by the snow peas. If the image isn't big enough to see clearly, just click on the picture to see a larger version. 

The garlic is a bit closer to the spinach than I'd expected -- but I'm hoping that since the spinach has shallow roots the two plants won't compete too much for space. The spinach will probably only be good for a few more weeks anyway. Once it gets hot spinach starts to flower and die pretty quickly -- or at least that's what happened last summer. 

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