Each week our tractor driver, Roberto, and I walk the fields. Roberto planted the above beds of spinach in February. We need to make sure that we seed the correct amount of plants in each bed. If we plant too many and they all germinate, there will not be enough nutrients from the compost in the soil for them to grow.
The seeds germinate well in the late fall, as the soil is still warm from the summer heat and the air is cold. In February the air may be warm, but the soil is still cold. This leads to lower germination rates. Roberto and I recently discussed how we need to vary the number of seeds we sow in a bed. We need to pay particular attention to how warm the soil is—even if the air is no longer cold. We have three beds of spinach that were sown in early December at our regular rate, and every one germinated. We cannot pick them, as they are too crowded and have a yellow tinge on the leaves from scrambling for the available nutrients. Every season is different and we learn more every year.