- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) - The University of New Hampshire is growing spinach to determine the best varieties and planting dates for winter production in the state.

Kaitlyn Orde, a graduate student at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, says the traditional growing season in the state is very short - limiting the period for local food production. She and others are conducting a trial in an unheated high-tunnel environment at the station’s research farm.

“Growing systems that allow for an extended period of production can help support agriculture in the state and supply more locally produced food on a more consistent basis,” Orde said.

Although the research project is ongoing, scientists report they already have seen great variation in plant type and growth habit between varieties, affecting ease and pace of harvest. They also have seen differences in leaf size, color and texture. They say some might be better used for cooking, but all are delicious raw.

The researchers are collecting yield, sugar content, ease of harvest and average leaf size measurements from eight spinach varieties planted on six different dates from mid-September to early November. The varieties UNH is using are Regiment, Tyee, Space, Gazelle, Corvair, Renegade, Emperor and Carmel.



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