Problems with spinach germination

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Problems with spinach germination
« on: October 10, 2021, 11:50 »
I did pretty well with spinach I grew last winter and spring, direct-seeded in the ground while the ground was cold.

I bought spinach seed this year, 2 varieties (Giant Noble, Bloomsdale Long Standing). I didn't try planting until temperatures had mostly cooled to about 23 to 29 C for daytime highs.
Seedlings of Giant Noble came up sparsely in a few places, then failed. I tried the Bloomsdale LS, nothing came up. The area I planted is surrounded by a 3 ft high rabbit fence, BTW

I have more Bloomsdale LS (same brand, different packet)

Reading up on spinach germination, before I plant more, I saw one suggestion to fold the seed in moist paper towel and refrigerate for 5 days before planting. Sort of like chitting, but not exactly (chilled chitting?)

Im looking for suggestions as to planting the spinach and getting better germination. Would you try the chilled chitting? Something else?

Thank you.
Gardening is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.



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Re: Problems with spinach germination
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2021, 22:05 »
Well, I seem to have answered my own question.

My problem was likely that the ground was still too warm for the spinach to grow properly.

I looked for a better explanation of "how to do it" to germinate the seed for fall planting here.  Found it at:

The method suggested was to:
1. Soak the seed in room temperature water for 12 hours.
2. Drain, wrap the soaked seed in wet paper towel.  Put the paper towel with seeds in a plastic bag (I changed this step and used a plastic container with a lid). 
3. Put the bag [or container] in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
4. Remove the container, bring it back into a room temperature environment.  The seeds will begin germinating in about 2 days (with germination continuing after that). 
5. Plant in seed starter packs as seeds sprout.

The exposure to cold was what I was missing, and what the seeds needed.


Gardener and Rabbit

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Re: Problems with spinach germination
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2021, 20:25 »
Hi S_P,

It's not such a problem in the UK, the average October high where I am is more like 13c   ;)   and in the Summer months 19c. 

Even so, spinach is till one of the first crops that I sow in Spring because it prefers cooler weather even here, and runs to seed if we get hot dry weather.

This year I sowed in March and by July it had gone to seed, so I collected the seed and sowed it at the end of July for a second crop now.




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Re: Problems with spinach germination
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2021, 03:35 »
Hi G and R

Yes, 13 C is more like our December highs!

The seed I chitted and put into seed packs is starting to sprout leaves, so I am hoping most of those will go in the ground and do well.  I still have more seed to put in the ground, maybe early December.  I will get new seed in the spring too, when it is available.

The past couple of years are the first gardening I have done in quite awhile.  Before that, responsibilities of job and family left me with no time!  Our boys are college students now, and I mostly work from home these days.  Way back when, I was mostly a spring-summer gardener, I am still sorting out what works for me in the cooler months, and what doesn't.  I think my spring 2021 spinach went in the ground in February (?)  I need to keep better records!  We had a good little crop, with the plants lasting into April or May (considering where I live, I think that was alright!).  I hadn't thought to collect the seed when the spinach bolts, but may do so this year!

I did pretty well with December-planted peas and lettuce last winter, I will be doing that again.  Onions from seed, I have still not quite figured out; they grow here, our Vidalia, Georgia area is famous for it's sweet onions.  I'm dabbling in a few other cold tolerant vegetables to see what else I can grow in the winter.

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