Spinach is a cool season crop, developing at its best when growth is quick and continuous. Provide full sun, cool nights and plentiful water supply. Spinach prefers well-drained soil with humus content; its culture is similar to that of lettuce.
Sow seed as early in the spring as the ground can be worked, in rows about a foot and a half apart. Seedlings can be thinned to about one foot. Leaves should be ready to harvest in four to five weeks. An additional planting can be made on August first for a second crop.
Good varieties to plant are Melody Hybrid, which is disease-resistant; Avon Hybrid, which is heat-resistant; Bloomsdale Long-Standing, heat-resistant and slow to go to seed.
Insect pests to look for are flea beetles, aphids, and leafhoppers. Control these by using malathion, or a general purpose spray or dust containing malathion, and be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.
Diseases often occur in plants that are crowded, and an be spread by insects in some cases. General clean cultivation, aphid control, and the planting of resistant varieties is a good idea. The fungus disease downy mildew can be controlled by preparations containing maneb or zineb. The virus yellows can also be a problem, but the general steps mentioned above will help to keep this problem to a minimum.
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