Spinach is an extremely fast growing and easy crop for early, cool spring weather. It can be one of your first home-grown greens to lead off salad season.
When to Plant
The nice thing about spinach is the seed germinates better in cold ground (it prefers soil temperatures of 4C over the high temperatures of later in the spring or summer)
Later sowings will sprout faster but with a reduced germination rate. This means you’ll get the seedlings earlier but fewer of them for the amount of seed you sow.
Generally as soon as you can walk on your garden soil, you can plant spinach seed. Figure early April in zone 4 to 5 – or as soon as the frost is out of it. Sow a short row every week until the middle of June for a reliable supply. Don’t bother sowing after that or when the weather gets really warm as spinach doesn’t stay in “leaf” form but bolts up into flower and produces unusable leaves. Whether it is the warm temperatures or the long days with increasing sunlight, spinach doesn’t do well in the heat.
Where to Plant
Full sun in early spring, can be a light shade in late spring or early summer to see if you can extend your harvest. Slightly shaded areas will be cooler longer in the summer. Use any garden soil except heavy clay for this vegetable.
How to Plant
Sow your seed 1.2 cm deep and about 1 seed to the centimeter. You’re going to thin excess plants so the mature spinach plants are 20 cm apart. or just touching leaves. Keep harvesting and using the thinnings as you thin plants to the 20 centimeter spacing. After that, harvest as many of the outer leaves as you need. If you’ve sown too many plants for use, harvest the entire plant and use those very tender inner leaves.
You can resow again in early September for later crops and you’ll find spinach to be reasonably frost hardy giving you fresh greens right up until a very hard freeze. You’ll find you get a first harvest about 45 days after sowing.
Care & Maintenance
You’re not going to let spinach plants get fully mature so while a mature plant will get larger than 30 cm tall, by the time it is ready to do so, you’re already moving onto other greens and pulling these spinach plants out, When it gets mature, it will be ready to “bolt” and set seed.
Not too many pests bother spinach although you may find a few aphids trying to hitch a ride. A quick jet of water takes care of this problem.
Spinach is the darker leafed vegetable on the left before what appears to be grass.
(all numbers rounded out)
1/4 inch = .6 cm
1/2 inch = 1.3 cm
1 inch = 2.5 cm
6 inch = 15 cm
12 inch = 30 cm
18 inch = 45 cm
36 inch = 91 cm
Want other organic vegetable gardening tips? Click here