Botanical Name: Spinacia oleracea
Days to Maturity: 28–50 days
Native: Southwest Asia
Hardiness: Frost-tolerant annual. Very cold hardy; fall-sown plants may overwinter even in climates with sub-zero temperatures.
Plant Dimensions: Up to 18" tall and 24" in diameter
Variety Information: Leaves up to 10" long and 8" wide are smooth, thick, dark green, and tender however big they get. 'Monstrueux de Viroflay' translates to "monstrous of Viroflay" for the incredibly large leaves that are up to 10" long and 8" wide, dark green, thick, and tender. This variety is a very old heirloom from Viroflay, France. It is in the parent line of many modern day hybrids, and has been listed in the USA since 1866.
Attributes: Good for Containers
When to Sow Outside: RECOMMENDED. 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date, and when soil temperature is above 40°F; ideally 50°–75°F. Successive Sowings: Every 3 weeks until 4 weeks before your average first fall frost date. If mulched, spinach can overwinter in sub–zero temperatures. Soil temperatures above 85°F halt germination.
When to Start Inside: Not recommended; roots sensitive to disturbance.
Days to Emerge: 5–10 days
Seed Depth: ½"
Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 12"–18"
Row Spacing: 24"
Thinning: When 4" tall thin to 1 every 12"–18"
Harvesting: Pick individual leaves from outer edges of plant as they become big enough to use or cut the whole plant 1" above the ground; new leaves will be produced. When picking individual leaves, also removing the leaf stem at the same time is best; this reduces vulnerability to disease during die-back and conserves plant energy. Harvest before the plant sends up a flower stalk (bolting). Just prior to bolting, leaves take on an ôarrowheadö shape, adding small keel shapes to the base of the leaf.