First harvest tomorrow

Just a reminder that tomorrow is the first CSA pick-up of the 2020 season.  Please bring your own containers (bags or box).  usually I say the large share is about a bushel, the medium about half a bushel, and the small about a third bushel… however this week there will be large leafy things that may take up more space than that. I’ll have pre-weighed and bagged some items, but most will be for you to select.  I will have it displayed so you can easily see what you are selecting and I would like you have a ‘you touch it you take it’ policy.

I wanted to let you know, since there may not be time to talk to everyone tomorrow, I will do something I’ve never done before: You’ll be getting what I’m calling “Flowering Spinach Bundles”!  The CSA is, if anything, always an educational experience! Anyone who has grown spinach before knows that there is a very narrow window between it being fully mature and when it starts to flower (usually less than a week!).  The spring weather can make the maturing date quite variable.  I seeded it, aiming to have it ready the third week of June, now.  It germinated well and was coming along when suddenly, from one day to the next, I saw that about two fifth of it was gone. Just gone.  I suspect a chipmunk, or herd of them, though I never saw what it was.  This is a significant amount, but not enough to justify plowing it under and starting over.  I had intended to thin it to four to six inches and harvest full plants to give out by weight.  With that much gone, I changed plans and decided to let it be thick and risk the possibility of encouraging it to flower in order to maximize the yield for what was remaining.  Unfortunately the hot weather sped up the spinach and it was prime about two weeks ago.  Should I start the whole harvest schedule for just spinach, since nothing else was ready? and when I was still in the depths of intense planting season?  I decided to wait, and harvest the spinach when it was in flower so that there would be other crops to compliment it. Spinach quality does not go down much as it flowers, unlike other crops like lettuce or beets.

Now for a fun aspect to this! Spinach is Dioecious.  This is a biology term meaning ‘two houses.’ So there are male spinach plants and female spinach plants.  When you usually harvest the plants, it’s before they even start to stem up, so you can’t tell which is which. However once they flower, you can.  Each bundle likely has a mix of the two. Can you tell which are the male (pollen bearing) and which are the female (seed bearing) plants in your bundle?

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