Where to Grow Spinach
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.
Seeds should germinate in 7-10 days.
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.
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.
|Germination||45 - 75F|
|For growth||60 - 65 F|
|Soil and Water|
|Fertilizer||Heavy feeder, before planting apply compost.|
|Side-dressing||Apply 2-3 weeks after first planting|
|pH||6.0 - 7.5|
|Seed Planting Depth||1/2"|
|Root Depth||1', tap root to 5'|
|Height||4 - 6"|
|Width||6 - 8"|
|Space between plants|
|In Beds||6 - 12"|
|In Rows||6 - 12"|
|Space Between Rows||12 - 14"|
|Average plants per person||10 - 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|
|Companions||All beans, all brassicas, celery, onion, peas|
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.
|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.|
|32F||95 - 100%||10 - 14 days|
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.
Aphids may be troublesome. In mild climates, nasturtiums nearby will help draw the insects away. Or use pyrethrum or rotenone dust.
Blights: Grow the modern resistant varieties.