There’s a certain sadness about autumn cleanup and shutting down the garden. But one of the things to lighten a gardener’s heart is to seed some cold-tolerant varieties of spinach in the fall and let the young plants overwinter. By giving them a head start, you ensure that you will be eating fresh spinach salad next spring while your friends are still waiting for their seeds to germinate.
‘Fall Green’, ‘Vienna’, and ‘Winter Bloomsdale’ are varieties recommended for overwintering. Planting them up to the second week of October gives them a chance to develop a few leaves and roots before winter. They don’t need to be mulched; the leaves will get ratty through the winter, but the root system will be fine. When spring arrives, new leaves will sprout from the established root system.
If you have saved seeds, make sure they’re a variety that is designed for overwintering. If not, you can hold onto them until next spring. Theoretically, spinach seeds remain viable for three years if stored cool and dry, but germination rates often start falling by the second year.