If you’re looking for tips on how to get the best results from growing spinach, then this blog post is for you! Here, we’ll cover when, where, and how to grow spinach so that you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of this nutritious leafy green. So whether you’re a beginner gardener or an experienced one, read on to learn everything you need to know about growing spinach successfully.
How to Grow Spinach – Know the Basics.
Spinach is a cool-weather crop that can be grown in spring or fall. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade. Spinach comes in three types: savoy, semi-savoy, and flat-leaf. Savoy spinach has crinkly leaves and is more cold-tolerant than the other types. Semi-savoy has wrinkled leaves and is intermediate between savoy and flat-leaf in taste and texture. Flat-leaf spinach has smooth leaves and is the sweetest of the three types.
When is the Best Time to Plant Spinach?
In most areas, spinach can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in spring. Fall plantings should be made 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost date.
Where Can Spinach be Grown?
Spinach grows best in loose, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. It does not do well in compacted or waterlogged soils. If your soil is heavy, amend it with organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure before planting.
Preparing the Soil for Growing Spinach.
The best type of soil for growing spinach is rich, loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. The soil should be well-drained and high in organic matter.
Spinach can be grown in a wide range of soils, but it prefers a sandy loam or clay loam that is high in organic matter. The ideal soil pH for spinach is between 6.0 and 7.0.
To prepare the soil for planting, till the top 8 to 10 inches of soil to loosen it and remove any large clumps of dirt or rocks. Then, add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter such as compost or aged manure and mix it into the loosened topsoil.
Preparing the Soil for Planting.
After you have chosen an appropriate site and tested the soil, it is time to prepare the soil for planting. If you use raised beds, build them up to at least 8 inches tall so the plants have room to grow.
If you are not using raised beds, till the top 8 to 10 inches of soil to loosen it and remove any large clumps of dirt or rocks. Then, add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter such as compost or aged manure, and mix it into the loosened topsoil.
Rake the area smooth so you can create rows or furrows for planting seeds or transplants later on. Be sure to leave enough space between rows so you can comfortably walk around them when watering or weeding your spinach plants later on.
How to Fertilize the Soil for Spinach.
Organic matter is the best fertilizer for spinach plants because it improves drainage and aeration while also increasing the nutrient and water-holding capacity of the soil. However, if your soil is particularly poor, you can supplement it with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10.
To fertilize the soil, mix organic matter or a balanced fertilizer into the top 8 to 10 inches of loosened soil. If you are using compost, mix in 2 to 4 inches. If you are using aged manure, mix in 1 to 2 inches. If you are using a balanced fertilizer, follow the package directions for how much to use.
Planting Spinach – Tips and Techniques.
Spinach is a cool-season crop that can be planted in early spring or fall in most areas of the country. When choosing a planting site, look for an area that gets full sun to partial shade and has well-drained soil. Avoid planting spinach in an area where water tends to pool after rainstorms or where the soil is very sandy.
Proper Seeding Techniques.
Spinach seeds are small, so it is best to plant them using a seed drill or dibble stick. Make sure to plant the seeds at the correct depth – about 1/2 inch deep – and space them about 2 inches apart. Once the seeds have been planted, gently firm the soil around each one and water them well.
How to Care for Spinach Plants.
Once your spinach plants have germinated and begun to grow, you will need to thin them out so that they are spaced about 6 inches apart. This will give each plant enough room to grow properly. Be sure to keep the spinach plants watered, especially during dry spells or periods of hot weather. Fertilize the plants every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10.
Harvesting and Storing Spinach.
The best time to harvest spinach is in the morning after the dew has dried, but before the sun gets too hot. The leaves will be at their most nutritious and crisp at this time. To harvest, cut the leaves about an inch above the soil line using a sharp knife or scissors.
For baby spinach leaves, cut them closer to the soil line. For mature spinach leaves, cut them further up the stem. If you want to harvest the entire plant, cut it off at ground level.
You can start harvesting spinach as soon as the plants have enough leaves to eat (about 3-4 weeks after planting). Baby spinach can be harvested sooner than mature spinach. You can keep harvesting spinach until it starts to bolt (send up a flower stalk). At this point, the leaves will become tough and bitter.
How to Store Spinach.
Spinach is best eaten fresh, but it can also be stored for later use. If you need to store spinach, put it in a plastic bag or container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze spinach for longer storage. First, wash the leaves and remove any stems or bad leaves. Then blanch the spinach by boiling it for 1 minute or steaming it for 2 minutes. After blanching, immediately plunge the spinach into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain off any excess water and put the spinach in a freezer bag or container and store it in the freezer for up to 8 months.
To use frozen spinach, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or in a microwave-safe dish in the microwave on the defrost setting. You can also cook frozen spinach without thawing it first. Just add it to whatever recipe you’re using and cook it for an extra minute or two.
Food Preservation Tips.
If you have more spinach than you can eat fresh or stored, you can preserve it by canning or pickling. Canning is a great way to preserve spinach because it can be stored for up to a year and still retain its nutrients and flavor. To can spinach, wash the leaves and remove any stems or bad leaves. Blanch the spinach by boiling it for 1 minute or steaming it for 2 minutes. After blanching, immediately plunge the spinach into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain off any excess water and pack the spinach into jars, leaving 1-inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Add boiling water (or pickling brine) to cover the leaves, leaving 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jar. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth and screw on the lid. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes at altitudes over 6,000 feet).
Pickled spinach is another great option for preserving this leafy green vegetable. Pickled spinach has a slightly sweet and sour flavor that pairs well with meats and other vegetables. To pickled spinach, wash the leaves and remove any stems or bad leaves. Blanch the spinach by boiling it for 1 minute or steaming for 2 minutes. After blanching, immediately plunge the spinach into ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain off any excess water and pack the spinach into jars, leaving 1-inch of headspace at the top of the jar. In a saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices to a boil. Pour the hot mixture over the spinach leaves, making sure to cover them completely. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth and screw on the lid. Process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (15 minutes at altitudes over 6,000 feet).
Both canned and pickled spinach will last for up to a year stored in a cool, dark place.
If you follow these simple tips on how to grow, prepare, and plant spinach, you will be well on your way to harvesting a bountiful crop. With a little bit of care and attention, you can enjoy fresh spinach all season long. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start growing!