Monster of Viroflay Spinach
Seed Count: Approx. 250 seeds
Days to Maturity: 21-50 Days
Description: Viroflay spinach is a gourmet French heirloom developed before 1866. It grows up to 2 feet in diameter, with dark-green, crisp, smooth leaves that grow quickly, making this a great variety for spring or fall! Baby leaf spinach can be harvested in 21 days. Mature spinach can be harvested in 40 to 50 days.
How To Grow
Sowing: Because spinach loves cool weather and can survive sub-zero temperatures, when protected, it should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked in spring, or after the heat of summer for a fall crop. Sow the seeds in deeply worked soil a 1/2" deep and 2" apart in rows 12-18" apart, later thinning the seedlings to 4-8" apart. Spinach can also be planted in a shady area.
Growing: Because pulling weeds can disturb the roots of spinach, apply a layer of mulch to keep weeds from growing, and competing for nutrients. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, since an imbalance in the water supply can cause the spinach to bolt. If the temperature rises above 80 degrees F, provide some sort of shade to avoid bolting as well.
Harvesting: Begin harvesting the spinach leaves as soon as they grow big enough for eating. If only individual leaves are being harvested, take the larger outer leaves of the plant, and leave the smaller young leaves so that plant can continue to grow. You can also harvest the entire plant by cutting it off at ground level; new leaves will still grow back. If the plant bolts and sends up a flower stalk, the leaves will be much stronger in flavor, but can still be used. Do not save seed from plants that bolt early or have negative tendencies. Long days and warm temperatures will cause the plant to send up a flowering stalk, so will inconsistent watering. The seed pods will be mature soon after the leaves of the plant turn yellow. When handling the plant, gloves may be useful, as the pods can be prickly. The entire plant can be pulled to dry in a protected location, or left to dry outdoors if the weather is agreeable. Strip the pods from the stalk by running your hands up and down its length. Remove the dried leaves and other debris from the pods. The prickly pod can be removed or it can be planted just as
it is. Store the seed in a cool, dry place for up to three years.