Real Men Sow

Perpetual Spinach is My Favourite Allotment Crop

I know we need the rain. I really do. But by Jove, it’s really miserable.

In an attempt to cheer myself up, I nipped to the plot after work to harvest something – anything – to go into my dinner. I was greeted with not very much. This year, I’m well and truly stuck in a hungry gap.

However, just when all was lost, I remembered my healthy, hardy and prolific perpetual spinach. Whilst all around is bare, this good old, reliable chard just keeps on going.

As I picked myself a generous handful of the green leaves, I realised that I haven’t bigged up perpetual spinach for a while. Normally, I’m on a one man crusade to get all and sundry growing and eating this leafy chard.

Singing the Praises of the Underdog
There are all sorts of exotic, delicious and exciting things to grow on an allotment. Squashes, tomatoes and strawberries are all examples of traditional headline grabbers, but I think its perpetual spinach that does it for me. It’s certainly not glamorous, but I’ve always loved an underdog, and after this evening’s plot visit, I’ve come to the conclusion that this underrated veg is my favourite of the lot.

What about the dainty raspberry, that archetypal English summer treat, I hear you cry? Or the amazing, blink or you’ll miss it asparagus? Well, I’m a sensible chap. I like something I can depend on; something that’ll be there when nothing else is.

Sow it Now!
So, I thought I’d give perpetual spinach some more blog love, especially as now is the perfect time to sow it.

I sowed some seeds about a fortnight ago, to cover me for Summer and Autumn, and I’ll sow again around August / September to provide me with leaves for Winter and next Spring.

Perpetual spinach is so easy to grow too. There really is no magic formula. Sow as normal, sprinkling seeds generously and cover with soil. I don’t even bother thinning out, but the seedlings don’t complain at all if you want to try transplanting them for maximum crop.

It’s a fast grower, and I’ve harvested within a month of planting during peak summer months.

This is notwithstanding all the other reasons to grow perpetual spinach either. It’s nutritious, and incredibly versatile, especially for padding out dishes with a healthy, colourful addition.

If used instead of real spinach, this chard alternative is a surprising money saver. Last year, it saved me £28.67 during my money saving experiment. Being a cut and come again variety, the more you pick, the more it produces too.

If you do nothing else this coming weekend (it’ll probably still be raining), sow some perpetual spinach seeds. I promise you won’t regret it, and the little tiny seeds will pay you back again and again.

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6 Comments

  1. Matthew FranschApril 23, 2012 at 10:30 pmReply

    Thats a really good idea. I only just got a plot. searching for new ideas. Our first crop is going to have to be potatoes to sweeten the ground. We have put some soft fruit on a patch that has previously been worked.

  2. LailaApril 24, 2012 at 9:47 amReply

    I am looking for a very hardy winter crop. With the extreme cold weather in February all my purple sprouting broccoli, Kale and Brussels Sprouts went to mush. Maybe perpetual Spinach will do the trick…

  3. Jono

    JonoApril 26, 2012 at 6:27 amReplyAuthor

    Hello Matthew and Laila, thanks for the comments.

    Potatoes will be good Matthew, will help break up the soil for next year. You can’t beat soft fruit either – takes a couple of years to really start producing, but when it does its a dream.

    Would thoroughly recommend perpetual spinach Laila (as you can see!). The kale is normally very hardy too, but goes to seed late March / early April. Would definitely grow kale as well, tastier as a side dish than spinach in my opinion.

  4. TonyApril 26, 2012 at 12:21 pmReply

    Love your blog Jono……and thanks for the reminder to get some of your favourite veg sown……!!!

    • Jono

      JonoApril 28, 2012 at 11:33 amReplyAuthor

      haha, thanks Tony. Keeps me out of trouble.

  5. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Eight Veg for the Hungry GapMay 5, 2012 at 5:58 pmReply

    [...] Perpetual Spinach is My Favourite Allotment Crop [...]

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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