About Perpetual Spinach Posted on 15 Oct 07:57 , 3 comments

If you're like me and you're looking to add a few more varieties to your garden that will produce for more than a season, Perpetual Spinach is a fantastic option!

Perpetual spinach is actually a swiss chard variety but looks and tastes more like spinach.

From seed, Perpetual Spinach is usually producing by 50 days.  I've had quite a few swiss chard varieties continue to produce for over 9 months so they're well worth the moderate amount of space they use in the garden.  Perpetual Spinach is a great container variety as well.

From Mary's Heirloom Seeds

50 days. European heirloom dating back to the 1860s. Belongs to the same species as chard and beets, but it has distinctive differences.

The taste is more like a true spinach than ordinary chard, and the leaves look like spinach too.  Pertetual Spinach leaves are flatter and more pointed than chard, with slimmer stems.

An excellent no-fuss warm weather substitute for spinach in the Southeast.


From Mary's Blog, Growing Swiss Chard from Seed to Harvest

Tip: Soak seeds overnight in water before planting to ensure strong germination.

Plant seeds 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep and 3-6 inches apart. Set out seedlings 8-12 inches apart. Indoors or out, thin newly germinated seedlings with cuticle scissors instead of pulling them out. Chard seed capsules often contain two or more seeds. If more than one germinates snip off all but the strongest sprout at the soil line. Gradually thin direct-sown seedlings to 8-12 inches apart.

Harvest individual leaves from the outer area but be sure to leave the crown intact.

Frequent picking helps to stimulate the production of new leaves. Rinse leaves with cool water immediately, shake off the excess moisture, and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Swiss Chard is not only heat tolerant, depending on your area, it is also a cool weather crop.  I have had several varieties withstand several days of frost and survive. 

Companion Plants for Swiss Chard:

Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.






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Growing Lettuce from Seed to Harvest Posted on 29 Aug 09:02 , 0 comments

I've written quite a few articles about food prices and growing your own food. 

First, I wrote Food Prices are on the Rise , then I wrote In Times of Uncertainty, Grow & Save and a follow-up Food Prices Continue to Rise.  These articles explain why it is so important to start growing your own food.  Even if it's just a salad garden, there is something for everyone.  So let's get started on started on growing Lettuce! 

Lettuce and Spinach:

Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in moist soil.  It is best to sow lettuce or spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about 1 ft. apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. Keep the soil moist until germination. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about 6" apart.

Start lettuce or spinach indoors or direct seeded in the garden as soon as the soil is workable.  Great for container gardens.

Depending on the type of lettuce, harvest outer leaves only or cut down the whole head.  Succession planting can dramatically increase yields, especially in smaller areas.  Succession planting is when you stagger plantings in the same area throughout the season. Each time a crop is finished you pull it and plant a new one.


Lettuce and spinach are great options for cold frames if you're growing in a cooler climate.  Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Lettuce prefers soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Alfalfa Meal or Alfalfa Meal Tea works well for Growing Greens.


Spinach can be harvested in the cut and come again method of harvesting lettuce. Cut individual leaves, starting with the older, outer leaves, and letting the young inner leaves remain and continue growing for a later harvest. You can also cut down the whole plant, for a larger harvest.

Companion Plants for GREENS

Lettuce: Does well with beets, broccoli, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, onion, radish and strawberries. It grows happily in the shade under young sunflowers. Dill and lettuce are a perfect pair. Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.

Spinach: Plant with peas and beans as they provide natural shade for the spinach. Gets along with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean. Plant spinach with squash. It's a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt. 


TIPS for growing GREENS

-Make sure soil remains moist but is well drained.

- You should be able to sow additional seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the growing season

- Consider planting rows of chives or garlic between your lettuce to control aphids. They act as “barrier plants” for the lettuce

-Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.

-Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots: They are shallow.



 If you have additional questions please send an email to

Happy Planting!

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