Posted by: kathandroger | November 19, 2012


When I was at Battersea Grammar School, we all had to have school meals. These were served to long tables by a gang of dinner ladies, and the veg always arrived in long metal boxes which were usually steaming and smelly. The prefects and senior boys were sat at the top of the table, and the food gradually  made its way down to the other end where we, the so called “weeds”, sat. I thought that all new pupils at secondary school were known as weeds, but Kath assures me it is not the case up north. Anyway, when the veg arrived at our end there was usually nothing in the cans, unless the veg was spinach! I still remember the stink and the groans when spinach arrived. To make matters worse, my elder sister wore dark green uniform knickers to her school, and the mess in the cans had more than a passing resemblance to those undesirable articles.

But now!! Spinach as we now know it is a revelation. I love it. We grow the perpetual variety, which is not well known in France, and we have supplied several of our French friends with seeds and they are all converted as well. It produces from June and we have still lots in the garden now. It will die down over the winter but then sprout again for several feeds before it goes to seed in springtime. We have loads in the freezer as well, and as long as the water is well drained after cooking it is almost as good as the fresh stuff. How times change!


  1. The reason the perpetual Spinach goes down so well is that it is a slightly more bitter form of chard… and not spinach.
    Have you tried growing Rainbow Chard… excellent!
    And, unlike the perpetual type, you don’t have to de-stalk… unless you want a spinach style dish… then keep the ribs and poach them in a beef or veg stock and serve up as a separate dish, covered with salt, pepper and oooodles of butter.
    Grow through the summer… cover in winter… pick until it stops growing [Jan usually]… dry mulch for the rest of the winter to protect from frost and it starts re-cropping from March onwards… until it starts to bolt [mid-May to mid-June].
    That really looks a good crop!

    • Agreement all round Tim! We also grow ruby chard, seeds from Italy, bought in Yorkshire, and grown here! I used to do the destalking and cooking stems separately with the perpetual spinach-the first growth in spring is almost like asparagus!

      • Slow on my reply here… busy getting the MK2 “cat-proof” bird feeder into action…
        I obviously used to let my perpetual spinach get too long in the tooth as only a Panda would have been able to eat the stems!!
        We also grow “Fordhook Giant” which is much closer to the chard on sale in the “supers” over here; stems about 2″ to 3″ wide at the base… great in Chinese cooking.
        Where in Yorkshire did you get the Italian seed? I know of only one source… Salvo’s in Headingley.

      • Bit slow on response Tim, sorry! We bought our seeds for Ruby Chard at Lewis and Cooper’s, a wonderful food shop in Northallerton. It was three years ago now and the last time we visited the seed section had dissappeared. We’re off again to Yorkshire later this year so if you need anything let us know.

      • Another thought-have you a mulching attachment for Betsy? If I could hire it for a few days it could pay for your admission to Beauval- Kath didn’t mention the trees there, which to me were another great feature-all the leaves will have gone now.

      • What do you mean by a mulching attachment?
        We have a wood-chipper that goes from small stuff [up to half-a-puce] in the main hopper to a full 3 puces in the side shoot.
        Would that work? What were you thinking of using it for?
        Got rid of all the grotty cherry laurel stuff last year into a small pile that I distributed where we weren’t going to grow food…. and all the woody stuff up to three inches diameter into some very nice woodchip… so we now have a ‘green’ patio!!

      • Yes I should have said a chipper. We are converting an area behind my workshop into a games area, with table tennis and boules. The area is in full shade under a big walnut tree and grass won’t grow there, so we aim to cover in with a membrane and then with woodchip. We have loads of old acacia bits, too small to burn but ideal for chipping. If you can help we would be very grateful.

  2. Yes, fine…
    is your machine fitted with the Quick-release Assembly seen here:
    If not I’ll look up how to fit it…

    The Chipper is the one here:
    The video is good… death to all Lelandii!!

    The video shows him using it alone… the only way I can do that is to wrap Velcro round the dead-man’s handle!

    • At last! I have found my quick change attachment! I don’t usually use one as the only things I use on the BCS are the finger mower and the rotavator. The clearing of the ground for the games area has gone well and if it is possible in the next few weeks I would love to use the shredder. And what about some poles?

      • At long last am in a position to begin the new soft froot line… so poles, yes please!
        It will be best if we arrange a date for me to bring the thing over… but I might need a hand getting it aboard first… then I can come back with poles.
        Trailer is now working after ‘foine’ chewed the cables to shreds.

      • Tim, It may be better if you come and choose which poles you want. The originals have mostly been used now, but I intend to cut some more and you can show me exactly what you want. I will then deliver in my trailer and pick up the machine. We are here for the next couple of weeks, but off to UK for christmas. Roger. Read our blog at


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