Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
Maturity: 40-60 days
Height: 6 to 12 inches
Spacing: 3 to 4 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows
Containing large amounts of vitamins A and B-2 and rich in iron and calcium, spinach is one of the first short-season, cold-tolerant greens ready to harvest in spring. It’s a gardener’s mainstay for spring and fall since warm temperatures and longer days will quickly trigger spinach to go to seed (bolt).
Fun Fact: Several components of this palate pleasing superfood — potassium, folate and various antioxidants — provide neurological benefits to people who regularly consume them.
Mineral-rich and a Vitamin C powerhouse, spinach can be sown early in the season.View all
- Plant seeds in early spring
- Will tolerate cold temps, but hates heat
- Direct seed into well-nourished soil located in full sun to partial shade
- Harvest by cutting off leaves when mature, around 40-60 days
- Pests and diseases include flea beetles, aphids, downy mildew and mosaic virus
Spinach requires full sun and regular water and should be planted in rich, loose soil. Before planting, work in 10-15 pounds of organic compost per 100 sq. ft. to a depth of 8 inches. Work the soil thoroughly, taking care to break up any large clumps. Rocks should be removed from the planting area. Add a source of organic nitrogen, such as blood meal or alfalfa meal, to promote rapid growth.
How to Plant
Sow seed directly into the ground, 1/2 inch deep in early spring or late fall. Thin seedlings to 6 inches apart when they are 4 to 5 inches tall. Spinach likes water, so keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Constant moisture promotes rapid growth and helps prevents bolting. Mulching with compost will help deter weeds and prevent moisture loss. Fertilize with fish emulsion or other organic fertilizer when plants have four true leaves.
Harvest young plants or allow plants to mature and harvest outer leaves. Spinach will reach maturity 40 to 60 days after planting from seed. Harvest young, tender leaves for the best flavor. Summer heat will cause bitter leaves and bolting. Cover with shade cloth and water frequently if temperatures exceed 80˚F.
Tip: Plant in late summer or early fall in a cold frame. Cover, and you can harvest greens into the fall!
Insects and Diseases
Floating row cover can be used when temperatures are cool to protect plants from many caterpillar and beetle species. Remove covers as soon as temperatures begin to warm. Keep an eye out for flea beetles early in the gardening season. They are small (1/10 inch long), shiny, dark brown or black beetles that damage plants by chewing numerous small holes in the leaves. Occasional aphids may attack, however this will typically occur later in the season when the plant is less appealing.
Seed Saving Instructions
Spinach will cross-pollinate with wind-blown pollen from other spinach varieties. Commercial seed crops are separated by 5 to 10 miles to ensure purity, but home gardeners can reduce that distance. Harvest seeds when they are completely dry on the plant. It may be necessary to wear garden gloves because the seed can be very prickly.
Provides organic matter and natural nutrients for flowers and vegetables.
Sup'r Green (3-2-2)
Sup'r Green provides over 5 times more plant food value than steer manure.
Alfalfa Meal (Organic)
Derived from sun-cured, non-genetically modified alfalfa that is freshly milled.
Alaska Fish (5-1-1)
An all-purpose, deodorized fish emulsion for use on all indoor and outdoor plants.