How does spinach grow, pls? Request for some info re spinach.

I find that the bought varieties of spinach just don't last long (except the organic ones). I've become fed up with this whole thing so I started planting spinach indoors in peat pellets. I live in a bachelor apartment and there is no way for me to have a garden so this has raised a few questions (which I wouldn't worry about at all, of course, if I had access to a garden and could plant that way).
Just how does spinach grow?
Does it become bush-like? or is it a stalky type of plant with many leaves?
I don't know what to expect as I've never grown spinach at all before (or any other type of lettuce, fruit or vegetable <lol>).
Also, probably my biggest concern is how many plants will I need to furnish me with a couple of handfuls of spinach a day for a salad?? The next concern is how long any given plant may last ... is it a perennial, I believe the term is? In other words, will one plant just keep going and going ... that way, if I knew that that was the case, it would just be a question of finding out over time how many plants I'd need going at the same time in order to rotate "harvesting" leaves from each one.
Thanks so much! I appreciate any info anyone can provide this garden vegetable newbie!
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It grows to be a small (6 in.diameter?) leaf lettuce style plant.
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wrote:

Depends on the variety. But, they are day length sensitive, once the day length has reached so many hours of light, they tend to just bolt right to flower and set seed. They also like cool growing conditions, and of course, they require BRIGHT light growing conditions. I've never tried to grow them indoors of course, but if you have a cool room where you can hang some 4' light fixtures over some tables full of pots for them, or go hydroponic, but I think it would perhaps be cheaper to either go buy the stuff from the store the day you want to use it. They don't keep long in fridges for many reasons. If you do opt for growing it, keep the florescent lights about 2" above the pots, and then about that far from the growing points of the plants as they grow.
Self defrosting refrigerators work by blowing cold air and then periodically blow hot air into the fridge and freezer to dissolve any frost that's formed. In the process the dry out all your food too, they're horrible to keep produce in for very long if you don't have a real crisper drawer that has a controlled humidity level and doesn't get the hot air, but even still.. nothing lasts as long in a self-defrosting refrigerator, even the ice cubes are ruined in freezers, they slowly are "freeze dried" out of existence and taste nasty long before the process is completed.
I store stuff in plastic bags with paper towels in them to help keep buildup of condensation to rot things so quickly, and wash the greens after you take them out just before you're going to eat them .. but.. basically just buy them no more than a day before you're going to eat them.
As to the sizes.. well Dad grew some Giant Nobel spinach one year that had leaves 12 to 14 inches long and 6 to 8 inches wide at the largest. He'd planted them in the fall and they came up then went dormant until growing conditions were right in the spring and then they just took off and got HUGE. They were great on tuna sandwiches on leaf folded to get it to fit on the bread was sufficient! Sometimes half a leaf if it was a small slice of bread.
Usually they get a few inches wide to the monsters above, all depends on the plant.. and some plants can get a couple feet tall/long as they flop over. Once the weather is too warm and days too long, then folks switch to warmer weather substitutes, New Zealand "spinach" malabar spinach, and such.
If you choose to try it, you should read up to see what the optimal "day length" is, and temp that they like and then put them in a room with A/C and only artificial light you can control I'd think. LOL I don't like spinach *that* much ;-)
Janice

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Thank you so _much_ for this info! I appreciate the advice re just buying the spinach but that's been the whole problem as there is no grocery store convenient to me and it's difficult esp in winter.
This whole idea still sounds great! I'm very enthousiastic now, the plants germinated a few days ago and they seem to be coming up just fine. This all is for health reasons. I just am so borderline with my health and digestion that that days I don't eat greens I literally feel it. Spinach is the darkest, I've found, and I just do so well after I found a place where I can buy spinach salad that that's my first choice but also the most unknown. I'll also be trying lots of different salad greens. I got the idea when I bought some of those bags of baby spinach and baby lettuces and such. How hard can it be, thought, now that my apt isn't killing everything <lol> (new shelving unit with 2 4-foot fluorescent fixture!) I also have some herbs growing.
I know that in time this will all become second nature and I'll come to understand the plants and their needs and will figure out how much I'll need to plant to get what I need, it was just to get a helping hand at the beginning.
Thanks so much for both responses; I really appreciate it (plus the picture of the spinach! I've never seen it growing so didn't know what to expect!)
On Wed, 26 May 2004 22:20:34 -0600, Janice

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wrote:

I get it that you like spinach, but keep in mind that spinach contains high levels of oxalic acid and while the plant is high in vitamins, eating it TOO MUCH can cause other problems as oxalic acid interferes with the metabolization of some vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli is very high in practically everything, and much higher than some other things that have been touted as the best source ..like fresh broccoli is a better source than OJ of vitamin C. It's high in calcium too, and of course Vitamin A and the list goes on.
Before I'm hopped on for saying spinach is bad, I didn't say spinach is BAD, I just said that oxalic acid does interfere with metabolization of some other stuff. I don't remember off the top of my head, and don't feel like looking them up, but they're there if you want to look ;-)
Janice

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Oxalic acid can be the cause of kidney stones in some people too.
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On Mon, 31 May 2004 18:24:40 -0600, Janice

Yes, the oxalic acid is a very well known problem with spinach. Thanks for warning others of it, too.

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On Thu, 27 May 2004 03:48:55 GMT in

more than you have room for in an apartment.
http://www.terrafirmafarm.com/spinach.jpg
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Hello Fitwell Good luck with the indoor growing. It's great when things start growing, isn't it. Just an idea... A few years ago, I grew some "perpetual spinach". It's not a true spinach. It's a type of beet, but looks and tastes the same. It lasted ages. I just picked a few leaves when I needed them, then they grew back. Maybe you could grow some in a flower pot. I didn't have any problems with them. I've been growing Nasturtiums in pots this year. The leaves taste like watercress. They're in the same family. Easy to grow as well. Just had some on my cheese and pickle sandwich.
Cheers AJ
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

And when did your taste buds depart?
We planted some too. Both of us like spinach salad but couldn't take the perpetual spinach - or the various chards. The taste and texture were both different to us.
Did you eat it in salad or cooked?
One of the new things we found that we did like was orach. The red especially gives color to a salad.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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On Wed, 2 Jun 2004 14:22:50 -0700, Larry Blanchard

Oh, so it's not beets we're talking about but a "type" of beet. Okay. Got it now.
As a vegetarian, I just know that a sald full of greens is awesome. I wish I could eat this every day but that's been a hard thing to do. However, if I cold grow a bunch of different types of greens in pots, a few leaves off of different plants each day so that they sort of rotate, will make all the difference in the world. I'll know I've arrived when I can have a nice medium-sized salad (or large, which is my preference) every day and it comes from my growing centre here at home! <g> Wow, that would be somehthing!

Orach? I've never heard of that. I'll have to look into this one, too! <g>
Thanks everyone! <g>
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On 2 Jun 2004 04:48:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (aj) wrote:

That's exactly the type of thing I'm looking for. I have beet seeds and some lettuces that I'll try, too. I'm just concerned with getting the darkest in right now due to iron deficiency (related to hypothyroidism). I'm not bothered by the oxalic acid issue simply because I don't eat enough spinach or even other greens on a consistent basis to be worried. But I'm tired of buying those salads in bags and having to pick through the parts that go bad very quickly, too!
This is so exciting. I've lived in this apt for 7 years but unlike other apartments I've lived in, growing conditions are bad here - insufficient light, slightly on the damp side. The new growing centre is working wonderfully, though, with fluorescents! It's not like the jungle I had when I lived in a south-facing apt, but sure is the best I've seen since then! <g>
I'll have to give the beets a try. That was one of the things in my store-bought salad today. Nasturtiums sound interesting, too! Anything that grows in a pot and that doesn't spread too horribly will work!
(Yum re the sandwich! It's making me hungry! <lol>).
Di.

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