Ciscoe Morris offers advice on planting spinach, dividing hosta and attending the Elisabeth C. Miller Library garden book sale.

Share story

Many experts agree with Popeye that, calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food.

Spinach tends to bolt and go to seed in warm temperatures; therefore sow seed as soon as possible in rich, fertile soil amended with organic compost. Since spinach also requires soil pH range of between 6.5 and 7.5, make a habit of adding lime to raise pH levels at least once per year. Sow seeds about ½ inch deep, 1 inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. For good germination and growth, fertilize with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer such as bloodmeal or fishmeal. Water as often as needed to maintain uniformly moist soil, and soon after growth occurs, thin plants to 3 inches apart. Harvest individual leaves or wait and harvest the entire plant when it shows the first sign of bolting.

Make new Hosta plants

Hostas are durable plants that are among the easiest of perennials to divide even though they rarely need dividing. However, if you want to start a new clump, the best time to do it is when the newly emerging foliage reaches about 4 inches tall. A lot of experts recommend a somewhat complicated 2 fork method, but I find that it’s easiest to simply cut a pie shaped division out of an existing clump. Replant the division at the same depth it came out of the ground in soil well amended with organic compost, and keep it moist until new strong growth appears.

Slugs and snails are the nemesis of Hosta, and even though Hostas with thicker, waxier leaves tend to be resistant, they still need protection. Don’t forget to apply one of the newer, safer brands of slug bait such as Sluggo, Worryfree, or Escargot, to prevent your newly developing clump from being devoured before it gets a chance to get established.

Garden Lovers’ Book Sale

If you like garden books, you won’t want to miss the Garden Lovers’ Book Sale on April 3 and 4 at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture. You’ll find thousands of used gardening, horticulture, botany and landscape-design books at great prices.

The event will also include an exhibition and sale of new works by botanical artists. Proceeds from the sale will benefit new acquisitions for the library. On April 4, the sale will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and admission is free. If you want to get a jump on the competition, fork out $20 and attend the Wine and Cheese Preview Party and Sale from 5 to 8 p.m. April 3. Tickets to the Preview Party are limited and can be purchased by visiting the library, 3501 N.E. 41st St., Seattle, or by calling 206-543-0415.

Ciscoe Morris: ciscoe@ciscoe.com. “Gardening with Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. on Saturdays on King 5.