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How to Grow Spinach

Spinach Growing Guide

 Spinach is one of the healthiest green vegetables you can grow. It’s packed with iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, various B-complex vitamins, and a variety of other nutrients, all in a leaf that tastes delicious in sandwiches, salads, and as a cooked side. Spinach loves cool weather, making it a garden favorite for early spring and late fall.

When to Sow: Early spring, or fall before ground freezes

Sun/Part Shade: Part shade

Seed Spacing: 1 inch

Row Spacing: 12-18 inches

Planting Depth: 1/4 inch

Days to Germinate: 7-21 days

Days to Maturity: 43-60 days

Soil

It’s best to have your soil tested before planting, so you know what nutrients and pH adjustments may be needed to support your crop. For a thorough soil test, consult your local county extension office.

Spinach favors loamy, fertile soil with a loose texture and a high percentage of organic matter (compost works well), with a pH of 5.5-6.8.

Planting

Air temperatures of 50-70° F, with soil temperatures between 35 and 45° F, make the best conditions for spinach. If the temperature rises above 80˚ or the days get longer than 14 hours, spinach will bolt (flower) and become bitter.

Sow spinach seeds directly in the garden, as spinach doesn’t take to transplanting. You can still get an early start in spring, however, by planting up to eight weeks before the last frost. Late September to mid-October are the best times for fall sowing, possibly even a bit later in the deep South.

A place where the plants are shaded during the hottest part of the day is ideal. If you grow spinach in containers, be sure to move them into the shade as necessary.

When you thin your spinach seedlings, keep the culled plants. The tender leaves are tasty in salads.

Watering

Give your plants about one inch of water once a week if you don’t get enough rain. Be sure not to overwater, or you may run into problems with disease. A layer of mulch around the plants will help them conserve water.

 Harvesting & Storing

Mature spinach presents a rosette of 5-6 leaves. Unlike plants like collards or turnips, however, the leaves will not grow back when you pick them, so harvest the entire plant at once.

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For soil testing or other questions specific to your growing climate, please contact your local county extension office. Visit https://nifa.usda.gov/partners-and-extension-map to find the office nearest you.

 

 

 

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Starting Seeds Indoors

Whether you are from the Northwest, Midwest or East Coast, the time has come to step into your greenhouse. Dust off your cold frame and clean up your seedling trays! Even though you may look outside and there is a blanket of snow on the ground it is not too early to get some seeds started. There are many vegetable seeds to start indoors and transplant later in spring. If you don’t have a greenhouse, that’s okay a warm window will do the trick!  Starting seeds indoors is a fun early garden project with big rewards! Read on to find out how simple and fun starting seeds indoors is.

Seed starting supplies

Fill your containers with pre-moistened seed starting mix. You can use cell-packs, peat pots, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled newspaper pots. Gently press the mix into them leaving ¼ inch space at the top to allow air circulation.

Using a dibble (pointed stick or pencil), make a hole in the center of the potting mix about ¼ inch deep, place 2-3 seeds and cover with potting mix.

Remember to label each container with the variety name and planting date. Water lightly with a fine spray. Once the seeds are planted, cover the containers with plastic domes or plastic wrap. They will create a miniature greenhouse, which will keep the medium from drying out and a warm environment for your seed to germinate.

Place containers in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and away from drafts.  On top of the refrigerator is ideal, or you can apply bottom heat with an electric heat mat.  Seed germination should occur in about 5-14 days depending on the variety.

Be sure to check your containers every day. When the first green shoots appear, move them into direct sunlight. Remove the plastic covering and water or mist as needed. Turn the plants daily to keep them from bending to the light.

 

Check your Irish Eyes garden planner to help with exact dates to plant certain vegetables. Here is a list of seeds that do best when started indoors.