Spinach and west exposure

iyengar21(z7 MD)April 18, 2008

I've mentioned in a previous post that I recently acquired a condo with a nice balcony, on which I'll be growing some veggies.

Already I'm having issues with my spinach! I started seeds indoors in a windowbox a few weeks ago. Everything germinated just fine and the seedlings looked healthy. Since the weather has been getting better, I decided to move everything to the balcony. I bring them back in on nights that have a frost warning but otherwise, they stay outside. Well, yesterday I noticed that most of my seedlings have died. Looks like they dried up, but the soil is still moist. Did they get sun scorched?

A few seedlings survived but most died. I planted some more seeds but now what do I do to prevent the same thing from happening again? I don't have any mature plants to provide shade. Right now the plants are inside in front of a window. They're getting some direct sun but I'm not sure how much. It's not as much as they would get on my balcony. I'd rather keep them outside if I can. The balcony faces west and is not covered.

My other plants (tomatoes, eggplant, jalapeno, beans, and several herbs) are thankfully all doing fine, so far, on the balcony. My assumption is that the spinach, being a cold weather plant, is getting too hot out there. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Did you harden them off before putting them outside all day?

If so... perhaps you could create shade for your plants so that they do not get the harshest light from the west. Maybe putting in a thin trellis (you could make this yourself to fit your needs- wire, twigs wrapped together, etc) with some material on it to shade the plants.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 10:24AM
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I had the same problem last year on my south-west facing balcony. I get a bit of shade from the over head balcony. I reseeded later in the summer, and they did better. However, I learned to keep them in the shade of my patio table, and they did better in lighter colored 8-10" pots (1 Gal ice cream tubs work too). Spinach is a cool weather crop, so it's only natural that it would not tolerate full sun. I've just started putting mine out earlier this week, and I am keeping them in a shady corner. I've read that you can use a kind of mesh or cheesecloth over the top to keep them shaded.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2008 at 9:27PM
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iyengar21(z7 MD)

Thanks for the advice. I'll have to create some shade on the balcony for my spinach since it's pretty much full sun all day.

I'm actually on my third attempt with this darn spinach. The sun took my first try, and then my cats got to the pot after I planted a second round of seeds. If it's not one thing, it's another. *Hopefully* I can keep my spinach sun and cat protected. lol

    Bookmark   April 28, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Good luck =). I'd like to know what you come up with for a shading device, if you get a chance to write about it!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2008 at 10:15AM
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