How to Grow Spinach
Spinach is one of the most versatile and widely cultivated plants in the world. It is considered a cool season plant and will do best in either early spring or fall. Spinach prefers to grow in cool temperatures and does not require a great deal of sunlight to produce high yields. Spinach is also one of the most nutritious vegetables and it is often touted by nutrition expects as a must have vegetable in your diet. Its dark green leaves clearly show how densely packed with vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin A, potassium, folic acid, and antioxidants. It is an extremely fast growing veggie and will only require 4 to 6 weeks before harvesting. The information below is a complete guide to growing spinach.
Family Name: Amaranthaceae
Genus and species: Spinacia oleracea (S. oleracea)
Edible Parts: Leaves and Stems
Sunlight: Full Sun
Soil for Growing Spinach
Spinach requires soil in the pH range of 6.2 to 6.9. You will also need the soil to be rich in nitrogen. Spinach grows quickly and needs nutrient rich soil for optimum flavor and color. Ocean Forest Organic Potting Soil is an ideal choice if you're growing in containers. More about spinach soil.
Sunlight Requirements for Spinach
Spinach will do best in full sunlight conditions, but do not be discouraged if you only have partial sunlight. Spinach is fast growing and can still do very well in partial sun. In fact, this plant will do just fine growing indoors in a windowsill.
When to Plant Spinach
The best time to plant spinach is during the low temperature season. You can starting sowing indoors anytime between late March and July and transplant out every four weeks. Spinich can also be grown in the fall between the months of September and early November. Alternatively, spinach can be direct seeded once the soil is workable. Do not expect to grow spinach during the summer.
Spinach Planting Method
1. Plant the spinach seeds ½ inch deep in rows, spaced 6 inches apart in rows at least 12 inches apart.
2. Cover the newly planted seeds with a light layer of soil.
3. Apply water immediately after planting and keep the soil moist for the next few days. The seeds require moist soil for effective seed germination.
Spinach plants require a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen when they are about halfway through the growing cycle. In general, it is best practice to apply fertilizer to the base of the plants once every 2 weeks. If the plants are showing any browning or yellowing of the leaves you may need to add additional fertilizer, but always make sure to test the soil first.
Spinach Pests and Diseases
The most common problems when growing spinach include aphids, slugs, and leafminers feeding on the leaves of spinach. Overall, spinach is not very susceptible to problems when it is cultivated in the cool temperature months.
When to Harvest
It is important to harvest spinach at the correct time. Allowing the spinach to grow to long will cause it to start bolt, also known as seeding. If the spinach produces seeds its taste and texture will be compromised. When the spinach leaves reach an acceptable size you should harvest as soon as possible. You can harvest the leaves at any size, whether they are baby leaves or mature leaves. Spinach is usually ready for harvest 35 to 50 days after planting. You can harvest spinach by simply cutting the leaves at the base of the plant, starting with the outer leaves.
Disease Resistant Spinach Varieties
The following spinach cultivars have shown resistance to disease according to the National Garden Bureau: Melody, Nordic IV, Olympia, and Tyee.
Best Spinach for Fall Gardening
These spinach cultivars have been show to grow exceptionally well in the colder months: Avon, Indian Summer, Melody, Razzle Dazzle and Tyee.
Best Spinach Varieties to Grow in Containers
If you are growing spinach in containers you many want to consider one of these cultivars: Baby's Leaf Hybrid and Melod
Companion Plants for Spinach
Spinach does well next to any plants and there are no known plants that will have a negative impact. Plants that grow in similar soil and climate conditions include cabbage, celery, strawberries, peas, and onions. Because it grows so quickly and requires little space, spinach is a great plant for filling in empty spots around your garden.