Spinach is an annual plant of the Amaranthaceae family. It has edible leaves and can be eaten raw as a mixed salad ingredient or cooked. It originates from Asia and was brought to England from Spain in the 14th century. In the 1500’s the Queen of France, Catherine de Medici of Florence, insisted that spinach was served with every meal and to this day meals made with spinach are referred to as ‘florentine’.

Although known for its high iron and calcium content, spinach is also an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals and is perceived as a ‘superfood’. The cartoon character ‘Popeye’ made spinach famous by opening a can to gain greater strength. Perhaps this was a bid to make spinach more attractive to children!

Field Science has been working with a major UK retailer since 2007 to improve the levels of selenium and other trace elements and minerals in babyleaf spinach grown in the south of England, Italy, Spain and Portugal. By applying a tailored trace element dressing to the soil in which the spinach is grown, the plant is able to uptake the correct balance of nutrients as and when required, creating a minerally-enriched plant. The improvement is at least 10 times the normal selenium content of normal un-treated spinach and anecdotal evidence also shows improvements in taste, colour and shelf-life.
Spinach production usually involves excessive fertiliser usage in soils with significant trace element deficiencies. Field Science has the technology to create tailored mineral dressings to restore the nutrient availability in these soils producing healthier, more disease resistant plants with improved yields and a longer shelf life.

The Dressing Process

Field Science tailored mineral dressings are always based on detailed soil analysis of the field to be treated. A member of our technical team will visit your farm to discuss and identify where we can help. Soil samples are then taken and the tailored dressings are based on the independent laboratory’s results.

Single Crop Dressing is the only option for spinach as the soil is worked to such a degree that the previous year’s dressing, if a multiple year dressing was used, would be lost to the plants.

The best time for application is just after emergence of each crop.

The application rate is usually 25kg per hectare (10kg/ac). The application equipment on farm may dictate application rate which can be adjusted to suit.

The dressings are packed in 25kg bags, clearly labelled with the farm details, field name, application rate and bag weight.