1st spinach edit This is the best part of what are doing here at ‘Near River’ – harvesting, preparing and then eating our own produce. Well someone has to do quality control!

At the end of last week we received a big dump of rain, 100 mm (4 inches) in around 12 hours, which had us worried that we’d lose some of the crops and beds that we’ve been tending. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and this morning I went out to harvest our first bag of spinach. Cutting the plants at ground level, and then bringing them in to quickly rinse before loosely bagging them and placing in the fridge. I can’t wait to cook them up tonight for dinner – hmmm, yum.

An easy to grow vegetable, spinach, or English spinach, (Spinacia oleracea)
is full of vitamins and minerals, namely nitrogenous substances,
hydrocarbons, and iron sesqui-oxide. It is considered to be a super
food by many leading health experts, as calorie for calorie, leafy
green vegies like spinach provide more nutrients than any other food.

Originally
from Central and South-Western Asia, spinach was cultivated over 2,000
years ago in Iran, and also grown earlier by the ancient Greek and
Roman civilisations.  The Arabs named spinach "the prince of
vegetables". Our name for spinach is derived from the Persian word
"ispanai" which means "green hand" and which later became "spanachia",
and in some parts is often confused with silverbeet or Swiss chard.

The
trick to full flavoured spinach is to grow it fast, so a well prepared
planting bed is essential. The inclusion of some well rotted compost
and manure will see the seeds on their way, planting them in a sunny
position about 15 cm (6") apart. Regular watering will keep the spinach
growing quickly, and feeding weekly with a liquid fertiliser like Seasol, Charlie Carp or similar organic fertiliser will maintain the plants health and growth.

About
8 weeks after planting, your spinach will be ready for harvesting. If
you pick the outside leaves while they are young and tender, the plant
will keep on growing, allowing you to have successive ‘harvests’ from
each plant.

We’re sure Popeye would be impressed!

Popeye spinach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image credits samk + organicmaven

4
Comments
  1. Thanks Val D.
    You to have raised some interesting points, and I think that the only way that the ridiculous situation regarding shipping of produce will alter is when fuel prices increase even further. Surely an alternative must become feasible at some point.
    We are looking to supply our local community directly here on the Mid North Coast, but also are looking to the larger Sydney market as well. Perhaps we need to concentrate on the area closer to home.

    • Read ‘The One Straw Revolution’ by Masanobu Fukuoka. He is a Japanese farmer. I have a link to the USA Amazon below. It does not maettr what environment you live in as long as you respect it. I live in England and gardeners here seem to be at war with nature, always trying to trick it into producing more. I find that fruit tree and bushes grow them selves over here. I recently started a wild fruit tree map in google, it has trees and bushes local to me on it, it is open to be edited by any one, so please if you have some fruit tree in Florida do add them. There is a link to this below as well.

  2. Your article raises a whole host of issues and dilemmas with no black and white answers. I thinks it not a Local vs Organic question as you can have either or both, makes no difference related to food miles. The real question I agree with John Cloud, is fresh produce vs shelf life and yield/productivity/exploitation vs nutrition/quality/sustainability. We all know fresh is best but then when is fresh not fresh anymore? We all want the best quality but at what price? Our economic system is based on monetary value (supply vs demand), which is manipulated by the big power brokers anyway and its takes no account of the future cost to the environment or whats best for the broader community.
    In a perfect world is should be cheaper to buy local. It costs money to freight goods, It cost money to store produce and keep it fresh and it cost money to package produce. One of the problems is that it’s not economical to farm in the cities because the land is worth more as housing, businesses, factories, infastructure. There is something fundamental wrong in the way we value things and our society is very wasteful. My dad’s comes from a generation where waste is against their religion. They waste very little because things were very expensive. They fixed their close, they reused their packaging, they grew their own food, they used very little, they travelled only short distances. In countries like India and China with huge population use much less resources that we in the west. You could say that they use their resources much more efficiently than we do. I’m not suggesting that we have to go to those extremes but there is a lot that can be done with the right incentives, regulations and determination.
    One example I saw recently on TV, was the city engineer which took the city of Woking in the UK (urban population of 30,000) almost totally off the grid within 10 years. He did this by building combined heat and power generation plants throughout the city with supplementary solar power. He could produce the power at 10% less cost than from the power grid. While using the energy 400% more efficiently by reusing the waste heat. This resulted in a total reduction of green house gases of 60%. London is now adopting the same strategy and aims to cut its green house gas emissions by 60% by 2025. You can see the full story on the link below: http://www.abc.net.au/science/broadband/catalyst/asx/Cat_EP14_UKmicrogen_hi.asx
    Back to the question of is how local is local? I think it boils down to where can you get it at a fair price. For us local is the the supermarket or green grocer. We don’t really think much about where has come from. In recent times it’s becoming noticeable that fresh quality produce is becoming more expensive. Perhaps, thats one more reason why people are turning to fast, pre-packaged and processed food. I think there is a lost connection with where food comes from and what the food should look like, taste like because we have become so separated from the source. I know that even when I was growing up that I would be pick produce which was shipped 600km to the markets in the big city and it would then be shipped back to our local supermarket for us to buy. I made no sense to me then and that practice hasn’t change much today. My dad would say that the systems wrong.

Near River Produce - Real food direct from our farm located on the NSW Mid North Coast