Spinach is one of the most rewarding cool-weather crops to cultivate, yielding abundant amounts of vitamin-rich, dark green leaves that are wonderful for salads and cooking. Since both hot weather and long days cause spinach to bolt (send up a seed stalk), the key to success with this crop is to begin sowing seeds as quickly as possible in spring. Make quick, frequent plantings throughout late spring and summer and focus on fall as the primary crop season.
Spinach is a leafy green that best grows in cooler climates. Spinach, which is strong in iron, is also high in vitamins A and C, potassium, thiamin, and folic acid, among other nutrients. Spinach has carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are abundant in most dark green leafy vegetables. Spinach is delicious whether eaten raw or cooked.
When to Plant Spinach?
Spinach grows similarly to lettuce in terms of circumstances and requirements, but it is more beneficial in nutrition and can be eaten raw or cooked. It has more iron, calcium, and vitamins than most cultivated greens and is a good source of vitamins A, B, and C.
- Spring plantings can begin as soon as the soil is workable. It is critical to seed spinach as soon as possible to ensure that it receives the needed six weeks of chilly weather between sowing and harvesting.
- Soil temperatures should not exceed 70ºF (21°C) for optimum germination.
- Throughout early spring, successive plantings should be conducted every two weeks.
- Gardeners in northern areas can harvest spinach in early spring if they plant it right before the fall frost. Through the winter, shelter the young plants with a cold frame or thick mulch, then remove the protection when the area’s soil temperature reaches 40ºF (5°C).
- Common spinach cannot grow in mid-summer. Consider New Zealand Spinach or Malabar Spinach, two comparable leafy greens with a higher heat tolerance for a summer harvest.
- If you live in a mild climate, Spinach can be also be planted in the fall.
- Planting should be halted until the temperature of the soil cools sufficiently.
Where to Plant Spinach?
When it comes to cultivating spinach, there are a variety of possibilities. You might grow spinach indoors or outdoors, in pots on a terrace or courtyard, in a vegetable patch alongside other crops, or raised beds. We’ll walk you through all the conditions required below:
- Spinach should be grown in full sun. In warm climates, grow spinach in partial shade.
- It would help if you planted spinach in well-drained, loamy soil that is high in organic matter. Before planting, add two inches of old compost or a commercial organic planting mix to the planting beds and till the soil to a depth of 12 inches (30cm).
- Spinach grows best in soils with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
- Spinach is a resilient plant that thrives in cool weather – the ideal temperature range is 50-70°F (10-21°C).
- Warm temperatures and long days allow spinach to bolt, that is, to blossom and set seed.
How to Plant Spinach?
Spinach is a nutritious and delicious vegetable that may be eaten straight from the garden or used in various recipes. Growing spinach in cool temperatures and with enough water is a successful endeavor. Spinach is knowns as a “superfood,” rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins like A and C. Learn how to grow spinach and include this nutritious cool-season crop in your garden by following these simple instructions:
1. Sow seeds 12″ (1cm) apart and 12″ (1cm) deep
If planting in rows, ensure that the rows are at least eight inches (20cm) apart. This enables the seeds to mature without competing for space. Ensure that you get new seeds for planting each year as they do not remain viable for an extended period.
2. Cover the seeds with soil and lightly pat them down
You should not compress the soil over the seeds; rather, it should be light and fluffy. Ensure the seeds are completely covered in soil and are not exposed to the air.
3. Distribute mulch evenly over the planting area
Cover the soil in the planting area with a few inches of hay, straw, leaf, or grass mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting. Pulling undesired weeds may cause damage to the spinach roots, making mulching a useful weed management method.
4. Thoroughly water the planting area
Water the area using a hose or can with a mild shower setting. A powerful environment can disrupt or even wash away newly sown seeds.
5. Adapt to the heat
Consider utilizing cold frames or thick row covers to keep the soil cool during hot summers in a hot environment. If growing in hot weather, sow additional seeds and water them twice daily.
Tips to Avoid Pests and Diseases
If you’re looking for a pest or disease-resistant crop, spinach is a gardener’s dream because it rarely succumbs to any significant issues. These few tips will help avoid pests & diseases:
- Aphids, flea beetles, leaf miners, slugs, and spider mites, among other pests, are attracted to spinach leaves, making them vulnerable to assault. You can remove aphids from plants by spraying them with a strong stream of water. Pinch out any foliage that has been heavily affected by the pest.
- Remove the leaf miners that have been tunneled through the leaves. You may find their eggs on the undersides of the leaves if looked closely. Using floating row coverings makes it possible to keep leaf miner flies out of the planting bed.
- It is possible to use Spinosad to kill flea beetles and spider mites.
- Using diatomaceous earth to create a barrier around the plants will stop slugs and snails from consuming spinach.
- Spinach is susceptible to a variety of diseases, including mildew, rust, and the mosaic virus. Planting cultivars that are resistant to rust and disease should be prioritized.
- Yeasts such as mildew and rust, which can cause disease, are the plant’s fungus. You should sprinkle compost tea on leaves after they have been harvested to help prevent fungal diseases.
- You should also remove plants infected with the mosaic virus from the garden. Leaf mottling or streaking in white or yellow is caused by the mosaic virus, which several different strains can cause.
- It would help if you kept garbage and debris out of the garden. Plants that are infected with disease should be removed and destroyed.
Varieties of Spinach
There are numerous varieties of spinach. When it comes to growing them, each one has its own set of intricacies and nuances. Also, spinach leaves can be eaten raw or cooked in various ways. Let’s learn about the spinach varieties!
1. Red Carnival
The ‘Red Cardinal’ leaves have red veins, while the stems are a deep red color. However, this variety must be harvested when the leaves are still young and tender as it bolts faster than any other type of green-leaved spinach.
2. New Zealand Spinach
The leaves of this plant are crisp and succulent, and it is native to New Zealand. The leaves practically melt in your mouth and can be consumed raw as well as cooked.
3. Malabar Spinach
This spinach variety requires a lot of summer heat, as well as a trellis to climb on to attain its maximum growth potential. These plants may reach up to ten-foot-tall vines. Plant this variety if you wish to add some height to your garden.
This plant has thick, succulent leaves that are spear-shaped and have a succulent texture. The foliage structure makes it most suitable for cooking in the kitchen.
5. Indian Summer
This is an excellent and productive three-season spinach that can be harvested in the spring, summer, and fall. The leaves of the plant are smooth and flattened.
Watering and Feeding Spinach
Every plant requires care while growing. You must keep the following points in mind about watering and feeding spinach crops:
- Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season if you want to see rapid growth in your spinach.
- It is best not to pour dirty water over leaves; instead, mulch surrounding plants with straw or chopped leaves to prevent soil from getting on the leaves.
- Only use fertilizers if crucial due to delayed growth or as supplements if your soil pH is inadequate.
- When the seedlings have sprung to around two inches in height, uproot and repot them at least 3-4 inches apart from each other.
- Aside from thinning, there is little need for cultivation. It is easy to injure shallow roots since they are so little.
- During the growing season, side-dress plants with compost tea or a dilute solution of fish emulsion every two weeks to keep them look their best.
- Midseason is a good time to side-dress spinach with old compost.
Other Tips to Take Care of Growing Spinach
Growing spinach takes a bit of perseverance and care from your end. Keep these tips in mind when you wish to grow spinach plants:
- Plant spinach at the appropriate time of the year: Spinach may be cultivated in virtually any climate if the proper conditions are met. Spinach thrives in temperatures ranging from 25°F to 75°F. Plant spinach as soon as the soil reaches temperatures fit for cultivation in chilly winter locations. Spinach requires around six weeks of cool weather from seed to harvest and may endure a light frost.
- Choose an ideal place for spinach planting: Spinach thrives in conditions ranging from full sun to light shade. Spinach prefers fertile, moist soil that is neutral to alkaline in ph. (pH 7.0 or above). Before planting, enrich the soil with 2-4 inches of compost.
- Plant spinach correctly: Plant seeds 12 inches deep and 2-4 inches apart. 4-6 inches tall, thin to 1 plant every 4-6 inches. Continue to plant seeds every few weeks. Plant 4-9 per square depending on the cultivar.
- Grow spinach with care: Plant spinach at the appropriate period for your climate. Spinach prefers moist soil and regular seaweed or compost tea feedings. So, mulch plants with compost to keep them moist and thriving. Use row covers to avoid leaf miners and other pests. With time, remove damaged leaves.
- For best flavor, pick young spinach: Harvest leaves when they reach your desired size. Larger leaves can become bitter; hence, harvest quickly. Harvest exterior leaves, leaving interior leaves for later harvest, or cut the plant off at the root.
When to Harvest Spinach?
How long does spinach take to grow? You can harvest spinach at any time. Cutting fosters fresh growth and new leaves, which makes all of us happy gardeners!
- Spinach leaves can be harvested as soon as they reach a size that is suitable for consumption.
- Plants with 6 to 8 leaves should have leaves 4 to 7 inches (10-17cm) length cut from them. Cut the oldest outer leaves first, as they are the most vulnerable. Allow the remaining young leaves to continue growing until they reach maturity.
- To harvest the entire plant, cut the leaves 3 inches (7cm) above the soil level; fresh leaves will sprout on the plant, allowing for a second harvest.
- Large and older leaves might be bitter; thus, pick leaves as soon as possible rather than waiting until later.
- Bolting, flowering, and seed production in spinach are triggered by long days (days lasting more than 14 hours) and warm weather (temperatures greater than 75°F/24°C). The harvest will come to an end when the bolting begins.
How to Store and Preserve Spinach?
After harvesting the leaves successfully, you need to store them properly to prevent them from wilting and spoiling. For storing spinach, follow these steps:
- Wash spinach well to remove any grit that may have adhered to the crinkled leaves in some cases.
- You can store spinach in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- You can also preserve spinach in a variety of ways, including freezing, canning, or drying.
- Sprouting spinach seeds is a method of preparing the vegetable.
Spinach is one of the most straightforward plants to cultivate in your garden. It has a long growing season, is resilient, and requires little maintenance. Simply choosing a suitable location in your garden with adequate drainage is all that is required to get started. Getting started with spinach is straightforward after a little soil preparation and picking the kind you want to grow. You’ll have plenty of leafy greens for salads and a variety of prepared dishes. When growing spinach, you may practice your green thumb while also enjoying the benefits of your effort.