Growing Spinach

I often prefer a spinach salad to a lettuce salad. It is also very tasty in other cooked dishes, sauteed with vegetables or in soup. It is very good as part of your base in smoothies and shakes. However, conventional spinach is high in pesticides, so if you buy it -always purchase organic. But why not grow it?

Spinach is such an easy crop to grow. I do find it a little slow to get started, so you want to give it plenty of time. If you would like the harvest lettuce and spinach at the same time, plant the spinach a week or two before the lettuce.

It also grows very well in containers. You can fit several plants in a container depending on the size. Keep well watered.

Spinach is a cool season crop. That means it likes to grow in the spring and fall, but the summer heat makes it very unhappy. When the heat builds, spinach bolts. This means it goes to seed and often develops a bitter taste. It is frost hardy and can tolerate freezing temperatures when covered.

There are a few varieties of spinach to choose from. There are smooth leaves, savoyed (crinkly) ones and baby spinach. Then there’s spinach that’s not really spinach at all (New Zealand spinach, Malabar spinach). They are better choices for hot weather. My favorite variety is Bloomsdale Long Standing. Plan on planting many plants since you don’t get much from one plant.

Planting: If you grow spinach from seed it is best to soak the seed overnight for faster germination. IMG_2210

The seed leaves will be long, but the true leaves will look more like spinach.

Plant spinach in full sun to part shade.  Plant seeds directly in rich soil 2 inches apart, then thin to about 6″. If transplanting, plant 6 inches apart.IMG_2300

Fertilizing: Use an organic nitrogen fertilizer. Nitrogen is good for leaf production. Use only when necessary such as poor growth or yellow leaves.

Pests: I haven’t encounter many pests. If you have rabbits you may want to consider putting some protection around the plants. Flea beetles may create little holes in the spinach.

Below I planted spinach with strawberries and lettuce. These plants grow well together. The spinach was finished by the time the strawberries took over.

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Harvesting: Leaves can be harvested as soon as they are big enough to eat. Pick the leaves from the outside of the plant, they will keep growing in the center. Only pull out the whole plant to harvest if it is close to going to seed.

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Wash the leaves thoroughly to remove the sand that develops under the leaves. Soak in cool water a few minutes, then store in the refrigerator.

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7 thoughts on “Growing Spinach

      1. We’re growing our first garden this year. I was just wondering if there is a brand of fertilizer that you like best?

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      2. How exciting! Will you be growing conventional or organic? Since I grow organic, I like to stick with organic fertilizers. Cow manure, chicken manure, compost, bone meal, blood meal, etc. The brand is usually dependent on what the garden center carries. I mostly use Espoma “for organic gardening”. I also like Fox Farm, Happy Frog, Dr. Earth. There are some good online sources as well. Gardens Alive, Gardeners Supply, Grow Organic, etc. for organic supply. What have you decided to grow?

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      3. We started conventional, first time not knowing as much, but we want to use only organic fertilizers and bug repellents. We are growing broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes. We had an above ground pool in the yard since the kids have outgrown it we decided to use that spot for a garden, the only area in the yard that gets sun. So we figure this year will be a big learning year and we’ll see what grows. Thank you for your advice, I’ll let you know how everything grows 😊

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      4. Anytime! You can also use plants as bug repellents. The stinky marigolds around the tomatoes and broccoli deter cabbage worms and such. Other plants used as deterrents are oregano, thyme, onions, nasturtium, etc. They either have strong smells or are a preferred treat of the bugs so they leave the other plants alone. Don’t plant the potatoes and tomatoes near each other. Make sure you allow for crop rotation, especially with the tomatoes, so disease doesn’t become a problem down the road. Sounds great! I would love to see a before and after photo when the garden is complete! Let me know how the season grows. It’s very satisfying to cook up potatoes you just dug out of your yard. 😊

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      5. Great tips for bugs!
        I had a friend once give me some potatoes from her garden and they were so good! I hope we get some from our plants.

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