I planted spinach seeds today during a hot, humid day early August day. We’ll start harvesting in late September cool weather increases.

The instructions say, each seed inch apart and inch deep. In the past, In the past, I have sprinkled the seeds using index finger and thumb. This doesn’t not guarantee following the instructions as seeds dribble out of hand onto soil in uneven patterns. I have a manic nature. This time I intended to override this behavior and plant slowly and carefully.

Down on two knees on pads, after I had laid out a string for a straight row, and furrowed a one inch trough, I began to plant. I developed a rhythm: It was one seed at a time, one inch at a time on down the row. I did it. Next, I pinched the soil to cover seeds and patted it down. The seeds are white so I had no trouble spacing.

I’ve planted Kookaburra F1 seeds before and the crop was prolific, lasted over winter and I harvested many leaves to steam and put in salads. Spinach germinates into tiny propeller-like leaves. Most of the early growth is below ground. Spinach plants develop a long tap root, a survival skill against dry soil. I need to water the bed daily to speed up germination. The seed coat has to soften to allow the first leaves and roots to emerge.

The seeds are in soil that has a year-long history. After decomposing vegetable matter, and mixing with a fork, it was time to sift this mixture to come up with even-textured fertile soil.

Here is a partial list of the “waste” we dumped in the compost bin. Potato peels, orange peels, apple and pear cores, avocado skins, cantaloupe and watermelon rinds, carrot and celery peelings, old lettuce leaves, garlic skins, old flower bouquet’s, bean stalks, tomato stalks, bolted lettuce, egg shells, corn husks and kobs, tea bags, coffee grounds, turnip roots, strawberry tops, zucchini ends, pinapple skins, weeds…etc.

The result is a rich mixture of nutrients from fungi, bacteria, and the complex community led by nice fat, healthy worms.

Tom Stock

Tom Stock has been involved in the Long Island environmental and outdoor education community for decades.

He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.

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