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Spinach Growing and Harvest Information

by chuck.mcmullan

Where to Grow Spinach

Where there is at least a month and a half of cool growing weather. Spinach is a cool-season crop, hardy to frosts and light freezes.

Recommended Varieties of Spinach

Winter Blomsdale; America; Viking. For hot weather “spinach” there are several substitutes: New Zealand “spinach” a plant discovered in New Zealand by Captain Cook, is grown as a summer crop. It has short, arrowhead-shaped leaves with good flavor. Malabar and Tampala are also succulent leaved summer “spinach.

For a heat tolerant alternative try: Amaranth

Soil for Growing Spinach

Spinach should have very fertile, well-drained soil that holds moisture readily. This will assure the fast growth needed for crisp, tender leaves. The pH should be close to neutral 6.5-7. Acid-type soils should be limed.

Planting Spinach

Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.

When –

Spinach can be grown as soon as the ground is workable. The ground can be prepared in the fall and covered with plastic mulch so that it is ready early in the season. In some instances, a fall-sown spinach crop, well mulched will winter over and start growing again in spring. Fall crops usually taste better and suffer no leaf miners or bolting. Also, if you plant a late fall crop and mulch it, a very early crop will come up in spring.

How –

In rows 12 inches apart, space seedlings 3 inches apart. After thinning, cover the plants with row covers to keep the pests away. (New Zealand spinach is a large growing plant and needs 2-foot rows, 1 foot between plants. Soak seeds overnight before planting because it germinates slowly.)

How Spinach Grows

Clusters of heavy, deep green leaves, deeply crumpled or savored, from a central crown. Spinach bolts when there’s 14-16 hours of light, regardless of the temperature, although warmer temperatures will cause it to bolt faster. The exceptions are New Zealand and Basella Malabar “spinach,” which thrive in warm weather. They aren’t true spinach, but when cooked they taste like the real thing. Malabar is also a pretty ornamental vine that is easily grown on arbors where it provides summer shade and a constant supply of summer greens.

Germination45 - 75F
For growth60 - 65 F
Soil and Water
FertilizerHeavy feeder, before planting apply compost.
Side-dressingApply 2-3 weeks after first planting
pH6.0 - 7.5
Seed Planting Depth1/2"
Root Depth1', tap root to 5'
Height4 - 6"
Width6 - 8"
Space between plants
In Beds6 - 12"
In Rows6 - 12"
Space Between Rows12 - 14"
Average plants per person10 - 20
Cut individual leaves when they're large enough to eat. Continual harvest prevents bolting. When the weather warms, cut the plant to ground level. It's leaves will grow back. For the best nutrition, harvest leaves in the morning.
First Seed Starting Date: 56 - 64 days before last frost date
Last Seed Starting Date: 59 - 69 Days before first frost date
CompanionsAll beans, all brassicas, celery, onion, peas
Spinach plant growing

Cultivating Spinach

Be sure the rows are kept moist if spring or fall is dry, and side-dress with a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as blood meal or fish emulsion when seedlings are 3 inches tall.

Storage Requirements
For freezing and drying, cut the leaves into thick strips. Blanch for 2 minutes before freezing. Its best to use only the smallest and most tender leaves for freezing.
TemperatureHumidityStorage Life
32F95 - 100%10 - 14 days
MethodTasteShelf Life
CannedGood12+ months
FrozenGood8 months

Harvesting Spinach

45 days. Cut spinach plant off at the base when the leaves are fully developed. Once cut, they will not come back like chard and lettuce. New Zealand spinach sprawls vigorously; when the stems are about 8 inches long, the tip ends should be cut back several inches to keep it under control. Cook or use as leaf lettuce mixed in salads.

Spinach Pests

Aphids may be troublesome. In mild climates, nasturtiums nearby will help draw the insects away. Or use pyrethrum or rotenone dust.

Spinach Diseases

Blights: Grow the modern resistant varieties.

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1 comment

Harsha vardhan January 5, 2021 - 6:34 pm

Very much informative that can be easily understandable….