Full of iron and ideal for planting in the spring and the autumn, so two harvests. Spinach is one of the nicest of all vegetables for me, and a very versatile one too. You can eat it raw (washed carefully) as young leaves in salad, you can boil it and make creamed spinach, you can use it in a wide variety of dishes from filled pasta with ricotta and spinach to quiches and tarts, and its loaded full of iron. It even had a cartoon based upon – Popeye who in Italian is called Braccio di Ferro or Iron Arms, because when he ate the spinach, his arms would explode with rippling muscles. What always amazes me is that for a pretty thin leaf, how much water there is in a spinach leaf. If you are serving it boiled, you really have to squeeze the leaves out first, otherwise you will get a puddle of water on your plate. Spinach is very easy to grow and it comes quickly too. The other thing about spinach is that, like many vegetables, it hates the heat and will bolt or go to seed if it is too hot. It really likes cool or cold weather and so that is why you tend to sow spinach in the autumn and the spring, but not usually in the summer, although there are always exceptions.
There are two main types of spinach – smooth leaf and blistered leaf. Smooth leaf spinaches tend to have a meatier leaf and so they are better for cooking and not so good for eating raw. Blistered leaf spinach on the other hand is very tender and superb for eating raw, but you can also cook it.
Matador – Mid/early. It is said that this variety was bought to America by Italian immigrants who would put the seed in their pockets. So whenever anyone referred to the variety, they would say America, America, and so the name stuck. Blistered leaf spinach, compact plant with firm leaves which are tender to eat. Sow Feb – May and Aug – Oct 1cm down and 10cm between each seed.