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This month Rob Smith turns his attention to this most nutritious of crops and offers top advice on sowing, growing and choosing the right varieties for your needs

Spinach is probably one of the easiest crops you can grow in the veg garden, yet it has a reputation for bolting quite quickly. However, if you’re clever with what varieties you grow and where you grow it, spinach can be cropped on the plot for 12 months of the year!

True spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is normally a leafy green vegetable that grows incredibly well and can be eaten and prepared in a multitude of ways; you can eat it raw in salads, use it as a stir-fry veg and even steam it; or freeze it for later use if needs be.

Thought to be of Persian origins, spinach was irst introduced to Europe around 1000AD, yet it wasn’t until around the 18th century that it became popular around Europe, with people in France, England and Spain growing it more widely.

Being more tender than chard (which it is sometimes confused with, especially as one is called ‘Perpetual Spinach’), and also being more winter hardy, spinach is well worth a place in any veg garden, even if it’s just for a few fresh leaves to add to a winter casserole or soup; however, it’s a great baby leaf too.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine In this issue: HINTS FOR HAPPY HARVESTING Joyce Russell has some great pointers to help you hone your harvesting skills DAMSON DELIGHT Fruit expert and nurseryman David Patch extols the virtues of damsons NEW VARIETY ON TRIAL This month we look at two new beetroot varieties And much more!