Growing and marketing spinach at local green markets in South Florida

Kenneth D. Shuler, Stephen J. Nie

Abstract


Stephen's Produce began in 1995 as a 0.03 acre market garden to supply the Jupiter Farms Green Market with a Saturday supply of "garden fresh" produce. By 2002-2003, 0.25 acres were under cultivation and clientele were being served at two weekend green markets. 'Melody' spinach (Spinacia oleracea) has been included in the crop mix for five seasons. The sandy garden soil was amended with compost and horse manure/bedding and irrigated via drip tubing. Open beds on 4 feet centers were made each year and an insecticidal bait and fertilizer were applied preplant. For the 2002-2003 season, three main plantings of spinach were made at weekly intervals from 2-16 October with the intention of cutting each bed every 21 days. Spinach was direct seeded two rows per bed and first harvest was made 22 November. Spinach was usually cut Thursday evenings, washed, bagged, weighed, and stored in a refrigerator until Friday night when bags were moved into a Styrofoam cooler with ice for transport to the market. Spinach was sold in gallon size freezer bags containing 0.33-0.4 lb net per bag at $2.00-$2.50 per bag. From the initial three plantings plus a smaller fourth planting made on 2 December, an average of 24.4 lbs of spinach valued at $142 were sold each week for 22 weeks.

Keywords


compost; farmers market; garden

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283