Spinach

Spinach seeds & seedlings

Spinach seeds & seedlings

Spinach (spin-ich)

Spinacia Oleracea

Spinach is an annual edible flowering plant of the family Amaranthaceae. It is a versatile plant with high nutritional value.

How to grow: Before planting, keep in mind that spinach is one of those plants that is adverse to transplanting, choose a spot that you will be happy with. For best results year round, try to find a site that gives full sun in the cold and part shade in warm weather. Sow directly into the soil as soon as it can be worked, plant 1/2 inch deep, 2 inches apart. Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart when 4 inches tall, overcrowded seedlings have a tendency to bolt and go to seed early. Many people sow every two weeks until daily temperatures reach 25C to have a constant harvest. Begin sowing for autumn crops in mid-august. Days to germinate: 5-12

Spinach has a high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamins A, B2, B6, C, E, and K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, calcium, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids.

Spinach can be prepared in a variety of ways but keep in mind spinach shrinks dramatically in volume when cooked. Spinach has a relatively short shelf life of 5-7 days in the refrigerator but may be frozen to prolong its life up to 8 months.

The value of the nutrients in spinach have contributed to its continued presence on our plates. Fiber in spinach aids in digestion and prevents constipation, it also maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating. Spinach contains an abundance of flavonoids which is a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. These flavonoids have been shown to slow down cell division in stomach and skin cancer cells, they have also shown protection against occurrence of prostate cancer. Spinach has been shown to strengthen immunity, promote healthy skin, maintain strength and density of bones, fight cardiovascular disease and stroke, and contributes to a healthy nervous system and brain function.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom spinach seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.

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Kale

ImageKale (Keyl)

‘Brassica Oleracea’ var. Acephala

Kale is a versatile form of cabbage that prefers a cooler climate. It is an annual/biennial plant that overwinters well and becomes sweeter with cold. Hot weather will turn this cabbage bitter and tough but it is tolerant of almost any condition.

Starting from seed: Kale will germinate in temperatures as low as 5°C (45°F) but will germinate much more quickly in warmer temperatures. Direct seed outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked, you may also plant a few weeks before the first frost and cover with mulch to have an early spring crop. Space seeds 6-8 inches apart, cover with 1/2 inch of soil and don’t allow the soil to dry out until the seeds have germinated. Germination should occur within 5-10 days. Kale tolerates shade to full sun, keeping in mind this plant likes a cooler environment. Avoid planting with other members of the brassica family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) as this may encourage pests.

Harvest the lower leaves of kale as soon as it is established. A general rule is to harvest a leaf of kale when the main stem of the leaf is thick, as the stems get thicker the tougher they become. Normal shelf life of fresh kale is around 2 weeks and there are many methods people use to extend this life. Some will place the stalks in water in the fridge like a vase as water will generally make the kale sweeter. Some keep kale moist and loose in bags, there are many ways to prolong the shelf life of this hardy plant.

Kale is an extremely nutritious plant. It is high in beta carotine, vitamins A, B, C, and K, lutein, and it is extremely rich in calcium. This plant also contains sulforaphane, a chemical with anti-cancer properties and helps lower risk of prostate, colorectal, and lung cancer. Sulforaphane is enhanced in this plant when it is chopped or minced while boiling will decrease the presence. Steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying does not effect this chemical. This plant is low-fat and contains no cholesterol with vitamin A slowing vision degeneration, and vitamin K promoting bone strengthening and limiting neuronal damage to the brain. It is this property that has made this plant an aid in treating people with Alzheimer’s. Kale can be prepared for consumption in almost any way or can be eaten raw. One of the most unique recipes for cooking kale is placing leaves on a baking sheet and popping them in the oven for crunchy kale chips.

Traditionally kale has been used as a home remedy to trigger hunger, soothing rashes, easing food allergy symptoms, and easing lung congestion. Kale is known to be beneficial to stomach, liver, and immune system and well as lowering risk of certain types of cancer as discussed above. Kale is also extremely beneficial to rabbits and aids in their digestion, reducing gas that can be fatal.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom kale seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.

Oregano

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Oregano (oh-REHG-uh-noh)

‘Origanim Vulgare’

Oregano is an easy to grow herb that may be grown indoors or outdoors. It is a member of the mint family and a perennial plant that can be quite hardy, for example our oregano thrives in our unique zone 3a climate. Oregano is akin to Majoram but not as sweet.

Starting from seed: The seed of oregano is very fine. Some will mix the seed with fine sand for even distribution. There is no need to cover oregano seeds with dirt but if you must, keep this covering very shallow. Plant at least 12 inches apart, you should have germination within 10-14 days. Oregano likes warmth and does best when the soil is kept around 15 degrees Celsius. As with most plants, oregano will only drink water when it is thirsty, allow the soil to dry out between watering after sprouted. When grown indoors, choose a pot with depth as oregano has a long tap root system.

Harvest this herb as soon as it gets established. Constant harvest of this plant is possible as it has a very bushy nature, in most cases one plant will stretch up to 18 inches across. Harvesting should be done in the morning for the sweetest herbs. Fresh oregano can be kept refrigerated for up to 5 days. This herb can also be dried like most herbs to extend its life and in most cases will increase the flavor.

This herb works extremely well in tomato based sauces, pizza, meat stews and grilled or baked fish. Also works well with artichoke, beans, chicken, lamb, mushroom, potatoes, sausage, veal.

Oregano is also known for its medicinal qualities, in particular its antibacterial and antiparasitic qualities and as a potent antioxidant. Oregano is a natural souce of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in fiber, and high in iron and manganese. Oregano is also used for the treatment of indigestion, bloating, flatulence, and many other ailments.

Yellow Bird Acres offers heirloom oregano seeds that are perfectly suited and adapted to Zone 3a.