Spinach needs a neutral to slightly alkaline soil to grow into lush and robust leafiness.
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Spinach needs a neutral to slightly alkaline soil to grow into lush and robust leafiness.Q. In the past few years I’ve done everything I can think of to grow a nice patch of spinach, with miserable results. Germination is always poor, and the few seeds that do sprout grow into stubby little disappointments that are entirely unusable. I garden at the coast now. I grew beautiful spinach in the interior of the province.A. This is a common frustration, often voiced by home gardeners who have moved here from interior locations where the soils tend to be alkaline. Our rainy climate washes alkaline elements from most soils, leaving them acidic. Spinach needs a neutral to slightly alkaline soil to grow into lush and robust leafiness.When I moved back to the coast from the Okanagan a few decades ago, I too wondered why spinach (and beets) did not grow properly, despite a light liming with fine dolomite lime prior to seeding. When I began using Dolopril, a faster-acting, prilled (granulated) dolomite lime, in preparing a plot for seeding, my spinach plantings started producing beautifully.Q. I cannot explain why my rosemary plants always turn dull and brittle, while my neighbour’s plants flourish year round. What might I be doing wrong? My partner loves cooking with fresh rosemary and is becoming a tad ill-tempered on the subject.A. Rosemary is native to summer-dry hills around the Mediterranean, where soils are slightly alkaline and well drained. The plants do not react well to wet, acidic soils. Lime the soil well for rosemary plants and locate them in sunny sites that drain quickly of excess moisture. Avoid over-watering.Probably the toughest variety and the easiest to grow is ‘Arp.’ That’s the one I use to create short rosemary “hedges” along dryish edges of the garden. I’ve also enjoyed creeping (trailing) rosemary in clay pots on the patio. For the winter, I settle the plants on a bench against the patio’s south-facing house wall, where they are protected from heavy winter rains.