There are a bunch of spinach seed packs in the mail right now traveling from different seed companies to Tourne-Sol farm.
They are all in my crop plan spreadsheets – scheduled to be planted in the field this fall side by side in the same bed.
We’re going to harvest the leaves in the fall and then overwinter the plants in the field without protection to see if we can get get another leaf harvest in the spring.
I’ve got 2 goals for this bed of spinach
1- A simple variety trial
I really just want to see what varieties overwinter best and have good yields in the fall and the spring.
This is part of our ongoing practice of making sure we’re offering great seed varieties through our catalog.
But I have another agenda …
2- Starting a spinach breeding project
Next spring, I’m going to let the spinach varieties that have survived the winter and spring go to flower and cross pollinate each other.
Spinach is very cross pollinating so they will cross up quite easily (I hope)
I still need to figure out how to manage seed harvest.
We can either harvest all the seed together and then mix it up and take a random sample as stock seed.
Or we can harvest plants or groups of plants separately then take a similar amount of seeds from each individual/group and mix the seed together to get our seat stock.
However we choose to get our seed stock, these will be in our fall 2024 crop plan – ready to start another winter selection cycle!