Right now in the Midwest, two crops are entering their planting season - spinach and radishes. With the spring lilies beginning to bloom, that's a perfect sign to get some spinach in the ground.
Today was great, getting out in the sun, getting my hands dirty and simultaneously disobeying all the obnoxious “cleanliness” guidelines.
Here’s some self reliance tricks for generating a little food security:
When the crop pests arrive this spring, they will go toward the radish leaves first. At least, that's what I want them to do. Radish leaves are edible for humans, but they are not the focus of this harvest. The radish, protected underground, is what we want from that plant.
I decided to sacrifice the radish leaves in order to protect the spinach leaves. And the more the bugs gnaw on the radish leaves, the more the plant will be forced to protect itself, producing more antioxidants that will make the radish crop more nutritious.
So, to trick the pests into eating the radish leaves first, I planted the radish plants on the perimeter of the raised bed garden, enclosing the spinach plants in the center. The spinach leaves need protected, because we want an abundant crop of these leaves.
Spinach will grow quickly, in 45 days. To ensure we have a sustainable harvest for many weeks, we will need to plant the seeds in 1 to 2 week intervals, whenever is best, working around the weather. Today, we planted the first two rows within the center of the garden, leaving space for two more plantings in the coming weeks.
Spinach will be more than food during this time of societal uncertainty. Spinach is a medicine and will provide crucial vitamin A and C, which have both been studied to strengthen innate immunity and shorten the duration of illness and relieve symptoms. Spinach's vitamin K content will also help with calcium absorption, strengthening the body’s skeletal system. It’s potassium content will help provide cellular energy.
Additionally, spinach contains the following healing molecules:
- Alpha-lipoic acid
- Ascorbic acid
- Folic acid
- Lipoic acid
- Protease inhibitors
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Radishes will be a great compliment because they taste well with spinach in a salad. Accompanied by the wild leeks and dandelion roots that will grow just outside the garden, we should be able to make good, full spectrum, nutritious salads later this Spring. (Pass the ranch dressing).
The radish is strong in Vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K, providing more strength and stamina during uncertain times. The natural fibers of radish will keep the digestive system well and clean, (which is important if toilet paper is scarce :-)
Happy days ahead and get your hands dirty!