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Spinach Is Not A Warm Weather Plant

Spring spinach and lettuce under cover
Sprouted lettuce and spinach get a little water on a warm day.
We almost made it — just a half a degree shy of a record today. While still not official, the temperature reached a spring like 16C today, albeit with 60km per hour winds. Now this was great for me, I really enjoyed walking around the garden in just a light jacket today. And who needs to go to Florida for March break when the weather is this good.

So outside I went to take advantage of the warm temperatures and sunshine to water some lettuce and spinach we have growing under a mini-greenhouse cover. Seeds sown late last fall sprouted but didn’t have enough light or warmth to grow much over the winter. I’m hoping that they will take off now that the days are longer and we will have fresh lettuce and spinach in April. Pretty good for a zone 5 Ontario garden.

I enjoyed the day, trepidatiously wondering what is in store for the rest of spring. Did you know that the lack of snow cover has an impact on spring temperatures? Apparently snow cover helps not only insulate the soil, but it also has a moderating effect on medium term temperatures. The official term is ‘albedo’ or the reflectivity of the surface. An abundance of white snow on the ground reflects the sun’s rays back into the atmosphere. In addition, the sun’s heat is used up melting the snow cover. When the ground is bare of snow however the suns rays are absorbed by the dark soil and reflect back as heat. Without any snow this year we may be looking forward to a warm spring. Great for me, not so great for my spinach.

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