Spinach can be grown as a food crop, in it’s own row, or; grown as a cover / catch crop – sown half way between where the vegetable/erb plants will grow. Once the spinach is germinated, use a hoe or similar tool to remove wild plants.
These photographs show pre-crops, spinach and field beans, after recently germinating and emerging from the soil. The field beans grow in the row, exactly where a crop will grow, whereas the spinach is growing half-way between 2 crop rows, where it will become the pathway when the actual crop seedlings have emerged.
The ground is bound togather by a gradually developing network of roots which prevents the nutrients/micronutrients/constituents of the soil from being washed away while at the same time preventing the land from becoming parched.
-provides the young plants with protection and shade,
-prevents the soil from drying out,
-discourages certain pests,
-provides material for sheet composting (on the soil surface).
Spinach roots are soft and easily broken down by the soil life. The soil can be reworked, and the spinach, with it’s contents of saponine and mucins and it’s soft mass of leaves, has a quick fertilizing effect. The decaying roots and the leaves which have been cut down provide early nourishment for soil organisms; these now become intensely active as the climate warms up. It is easy to remove the spinach with a flat or draw hoe.
Spinach increases the food supply of earthworms and of all other visible and invisible inhabitants of the soil.
Spinach, beans and lettuce;
Field beans and spinach, the field beans are being removed for Qanneh-Besem Seeds;
In this photograph, the 2 rows of spinach is reaggy to be removed, to make room for the lettuce on the right, and some small swede/rutabaga seedlings that have recently germinated. The row of spinach on the left, is also growing with mustard. On the far left is a row of field beans;
The spinach now becomes the pathway between the rows of crops, while the roots underground slowly breakdown and recycle.
Now the Live-Covering can be added;
Spinach and mustard as early crops – protecting the soil.
Crops are now beginning to appear – like the bush beans on the right hand side.
The spinach is chopped down to protect the soil and crop seedlings (swede/rutabagu – beetroot – beans).
The garden can now begin to grow happy and healthy with care and attention.
The ground in these photographs was helped in winter by planting field beans, see this post for more information;