Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant native to central and western Asia. It is of the order Caryophyllales, family Amaranthaceae, subfamily Chenopodioideae. Its leaves are a common edible vegetable consumed either fresh, or after storage using preservation techniques by canning, freezing, or dehydration.
Spinach can be grown to produce a crop all year round, making it a useful vegetable to grow when other greens might be in short supply. Prepared and cooked properly, it is a tasty, versatile crop that can even be used in salads. Some cultivars can be overwintered for an early spring harvest. Winter cultivars need a sunny position, but summer types benefit from a little shade.
Spinach is one of the most satisfying cool-weather crops to grow, producing large yields of vitamin-rich, dark green leaves that are excellent for salads and for cooking. Since both hot weather and long days trigger spinach to bolt (send up a seed stalk) quickly, the secret to success with this crop is to start sowing seeds as soon as possible in spring; to make small, frequent plantings during late spring and summer; and to concentrate on fall as the season for the main crop.
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