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Spinach in the summer

 
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Hi! Our spring spinach did fantastic and was delicious.

But around here, we're heading into hot weather.  But I bought a pound of spinach seed!  Can I plant it and get anything in hot weather?  Or just wait until August and sow a fall crop?  Spinach usually overwinters here, too!
Thanks!
-John
 
pollinator
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Where is 'here'? I'm trying malabar spinach (not really spinach) and it tastes great! I'm in fl an spinach don't do well at all in summer... This malabar spinach is a vine and just starting to grow good now that it's hot an humid day an night...
 
John Todd
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Sorry, here is in west Tennessee, Zone 7B.

Heard of Malabar.  You like the taste?  Will it get bitter as it ages, much like we all do?
 
gardener
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Malabar doesn't get bitter, in my opinion. It does have a different nutritional panel than regular spinach. I think it's got a little bit more of a slime in the leaf, but cooks and eats like spinach. Malabar I think is a tropical climate native. It's got nice flowers too and is perennial.

New Zealand spinach is another neat one. It's also summer Hardy and drought Hardy. It grows like an ice plant (falling over the sides of planters). The flavor is more mild, in my opinion and like Malabar, it has a different nutritional panel. It's also a perennial. The flowers are not decorative.

I'm in Ohio and have kept Malabar (planted late) outside, it grew until first frost. I kept NZ inside alive all winter, through neglect.
 
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John Todd wrote: Will it get bitter as it ages, much like we all do?



Don't know if you are using your spinach exclusively as a fresh, edible green, but if you use it cooked, you may want to try some Swiss chard.  Cooked greens of this taste like spinach, but fresh are not quite as delectable.  Can't say how it would do in Tennessee heat, but if table beets grow fine in summer then chard should as well.
 
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Hey John, I'm in middle Tennessee and I grow spinach, but I don't bother with it in the summer. I find that when the weather gets hot, spinach gets bitter and it bolts. I've also found spinach and lettuce seeds won't germinate well in hot soil. I mean you can try a small patch and see what happens, but I have noticed on my spring grown spinach that stays in the soil into late may, some can be sensitive to sunburn. I really enjoy fall grown spinach, as they start getting large in the cool fall weather and into winter I find they are much sweeter than any I grow in the spring, and they also seem to lack any bitterness.
 
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I do love swiss chard and it is both longer lived and more productive the spinach here. We eat it fresh and cooked. It slows down considerably in our summer heat, but I'm at least a full zone below yours, and a drier climate besides. I actually feel like the closest to spinach that I've pulled out of my garden in the summer was actually the sweet potato leaves. Very mild and cook down to a similar consistency to more common greens.

You might find some useful information in this thread https://permies.com/t/55937/fresh-Greens-year though it does lean a little more towards people trying to extend the greens into winter.
 
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