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This is my first year at a garden and I have some bloomsdale spinach I planted mid-May and had a nice harvest about 3 weeks ago: lots of leaves big and small, very bushy, tasted delicious. The plants were about 2.5 ft. tall and I left any leaves shorter than 3 inches.

Then, what seemed like over night, the plants took off. They are now 4.5 ft. tall will lots of branches which are quickly becoming too long to support themselves. These branches are breaking at the stem and the plant is not producing like it did just weeks ago. The first growth spurt resulted in a nice vertical stem with lots of leaves close to the main stem. Now the plant has grown both taller and wider with these long stems which cannot support themselves and very small leaves. How should I correct this?

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  • I have not had much personal luck with it as yet, but "New Zealand Spinach" Tetragonia tetragonoides (not actually a spinach) is supposed to provide a "spinach-like" leaf in hotter weather, so you can try planting both real spinach (for the early cool-weather harvest) and NZS for warm weather harvest. – Ecnerwal Jul 15 '15 at 11:57
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Spinach is a cool weather crop. Loves coolness. One of the first things harvested from a vegetable garden. When it gets warm and mid summer these guys 'bolt' and go to seed. There are some varieties that do better with warmer weather. But most gardeners enjoy their spinach early, try to gather new leaves before the plant bolts and look forward to the next spring crop.

  • So these are done for the year :( ?? It is quite warm here in Boulder, CO - especially the past month. Any way to snip the tiny bulbs and trick it back into being a prepubescent teen? I was really looking forward to a summer long of awesome spinach. – Ryan Wheale Jul 15 '15 at 1:31
  • Giggling...nope. Those guys in your picture are the biggest bolted spinaches I've ever seen! Park Seed on the internet has a variety I am trying this year...Palco Hybrid Spinach. Bolt resistant. There are others available...also have you tried growing Kale, Collards and Beets? Beet greens are to die for. And you don't have to worry about bolting. I LOVE spinach, more lightly steamed than fresh. (Cooked greens are better for us than fresh, anyhow). Even stinging nettles cooked are almost identical to cooked spinach. TMI, sorry!! – stormy Jul 15 '15 at 1:45
  • Thanks for the info. I had no idea spinach could grow like this. I do have kale and chard - both of which I harvested at the same time as the spinach and they aren't really producing new leaves - everything is just getting bigger and the leaves are browning. Experiencing first timer frustrations. Any tips for mitigating this bolting thing which is new to me? – Ryan Wheale Jul 15 '15 at 2:03
  • There are a number of plants that 'bolt' or go to seed real fast. Some lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage are a few. It is the change in temperature that triggers these plants to start reproductive growth versus vegetative. These changes cause plants to 'worry about the future'? so they hurry-up to make seed before they go to plant heaven. It is so very normal that you'll just plan accordingly next year. Wouldn't and doesn't stop me from planting spinach or any bolter later in the season. As long as I've the space. Cut off and use your kale/chard and plants should grow new leaves. – stormy Jul 15 '15 at 2:18
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    I've never seen a chainlink fence and a stockade fence in a greenhouse, so I'd guess outdoors. – Ecnerwal Jul 15 '15 at 11:58
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Mine bolted very quickly this year, producing inedible triangular shaped leaves. Always try to get "slow bolting" varieties if you have hot summers. I will get something else next year. i am on a 10 year mission to learn all I can about vegetable gardening; to pass on before i die.

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