How To Grow Spinach
It’s what made Popeye strong, and it will make you strong too! Spinach is an easy garden vegetable to grow. It grows quickly, abundantly, and can be planted several times over the course of the growing season.
There are many types of spinach to choose from, and picking the right variety will do a lot towards having a successful harvest. The key, though, to growing spinach is understanding that it is a cool-weather plant. It grows best in Spring and Fall, and if you tailor your planting schedule to match spinach’s needs, you’ll do very well.
Types of Spinach
Spinach is available in three main varieties: Savoy, Semi-Savoy, and Smooth-Leafed, which many different types within each category. Savoy grows close to the ground and is the best for cold climates. Semi-Savoy grows a bit more upright and generally has better resistance to disease and bolting. Smooth-Leafed, of course, has smooth leaves and is the common one in the grocery store. Read up on the temperature needs of each type before deciding on a variety. Choose one that suits your climate best.
Step One – Spring Planting
Start growing spinach as soon as the ground can be worked, plant the seeds directly in the garden. This should be about 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Spinach needs the cool weather to germinate properly. If you wait too long, it won’t have enough time, and it won’t grow strong and lush.
Choose a space in the garden where the seedlings will get full sun. Spinach prefers a well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.5 – 7.0.
Spinach does best being planted directly into the ground. You could start seedlings indoors, but they are easily damaged, and so it’s best to avoid this if possible—plant seeds 1/2″ deep in long rows a foot apart. Spinach seeds can be spread rather thickly, and then once they sprout, thinned out.
Step Two – Care For Your Growing Spinach
Water the plants regularly. They want to be well-watered without getting soggy. It is important to keep them cool as well. If there are going to be hot days, anything above 26C, then the plants will need to be covered with shade cloth. If they get too hot, they will bolt, meaning they will go to seed, and you won’t have a good harvest.
Don’t forget to thin out your rows of seedlings. The plants should be around 4-6 inches apart to allow space to grow.
The main nuisance pests that bother spinach are snails and slugs. They love it as much as Popeye! Using a non-toxic slug repellent will do wonders in preserving your spinach crop.
Step Three – Harvest
As soon as the spinach leaves are 3-4 inches in length, usually around 6-8 weeks after planting, they are ready to be harvested. Spinach should be harvested regularly to increase the amount it produces; pick the outer leaves off first. As you cut off leaves, the plant will focus its energy on producing more. This is where the abundance of spinach really comes through. You can harvest it for weeks if you keep trimming it on a regular basis.
The harvest will end when the plants bolt, which happens during long days of heat in the summer.
Step Four – Plant More Spinach
6-8 weeks before the first fall frost, plant more rows of spinach. This will generally be mid-late August. Follow the same planting instructions, as mentioned above. This spinach will be ready to harvest mid-late October. Spinach plants can withstand temperatures down to -5C.
Try our Spinach Varieties
- Corvair Spinach: Produces oval, dark green leaves. Great tasting spinach with a slightly sweet flavour. This spinach is fast-growing and produces a heavy yield, making it an excellent choice for growing at home. Corvair is a cold-hardy variety and does best in the spring or fall. Very resistant to downy mildew. Matures in 40 days
- Bloomsdale Spinach: Produces large and thick, dark green leaves. Richly flavoured spinach and tastes great in salads, soups, or steamed. Bloomsdale spinach matures in 43 days.