Over-Wintered Spinach

The days are getting markedly longer now at the end of February.  We are about 3 weeks away from the spring equinox, when the days and nights are the same length.  Nevertheless, there are still significant cold snaps (last night on the full moon for example it got to 15C below!).

Despite these cold snaps, the days are routinely starting to get above zero.  Low pressure fronts tend to bring snow which changes to rain – that is the forecast for tonight.  (As an aside, this is a new pattern of weather for February compared to 15-20 years ago.  Is this caused by climate change?  One would certainly think so.  It is getting difficult in our area to do winter sports, like cross-country skiing or snow shoeing.  Even ice skating on ponds and lakes can get risky.)

With the increased day length, our spinach in the unheated greenhouse is starting to come out of dormancy and show signs for growth.  Three greenhouse beds over-wintered under row cover (held up above the plants by a thin frame of wire and bamboo).  Spinach is incredibly cold-hardy.  Very cold nights never seem to cause any damage.

In a few more weeks, we will begin to have a bumper crop of spinach for everyone who helps in the gardens!

The only over wintering damage to the spinach was caused by moles or voles in one of the beds (we discovered their tunnels under the soil), who chewed the plants right down to the base of the stems.  Anyone have suggesting on how to catch voles in a live trap?  Fortunately the plants will survive and begin to re-leaf in the coming weeks.


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