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Comparing Overwintering Spinach

February 22nd, 2011

Last fall I planted two different types of spinach in one of my low tunnels. It was covered with greenhouse plastic, that’s it, no inner row cover. I was interested to see how the two varieties would survive the winter. As you can see, they both looked pretty good last fall when I covered the raised bed.

They two types I planted were:

‘Catalina’ Spinach – Tender, flat, deep green oval leaves with a delicate flavor perfect for salads. Fast growing, heat tolerant and extremely disease resistant. Seed source Renee’s Garden

‘Giant Winter’ Spinach – elected for cold hardiness. Dark green, glossy leaves are slightly savoyed. Appropriate as a flat baby leaf variety as well as winter full size. A heavy yielding variety recommended for fall crops, winter greenhouse production, or over-wintering outdoors under mulch. Seed source Sand Hill Preservation.

Since ‘Giant Winter’ is specifically bred to be a cold tolerant variety and ‘Catalina’ advertises heat tolerance, I figured the ‘Giant Winter’ would come out ahead. Last week, on that 60 degree day, I took the plastic off the hoop house and was surprised to see that the ‘Catalina’ looked much better than the ‘Giant Winter’.

This could be because the seeds germinated much more quickly and it had about a week’s worth of growth on the ‘Giant Winter’, but I’m thinking it’s just as cold tolerant as it is heat tolerant. Regardless, it’s fascinating to grow different varieties of the same vegetable to see which ones will do best in you soil and climate. I have a few more varieties of spinach to try this summer and fall, it will be interested to see how they stack up to ‘Catalina’.

Have you found specific varieties that do better than others in your climate?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.