Spinach is a powerhouse vegetable so learning how to grow spinach in your garden will prove its value to you tenfold. This plant is packed with vitamins and it adds the right amount of crunch and texture to all kinds of recipes. In our home, I add it to our salads, soups, sandwiches, veggie burgers, wraps, tacos, and smoothies – we can never get enough of it! I used to grab bunches of this cool-weather crop whenever I made a trip to the grocery store.
However, I recently learned that non-organic spinach contains a frightening amount of toxins. Yikes! I’d rather not consume those toxins if I can avoid it.
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While buying organic spinach from the grocery store is an option, it can be an expensive one. Plus, this leafy green actually loses most of its nutritional value before you even sit down to enjoy it – that’s a sobering fact.
This is why I think you should make room in your garden design for a few spinach plants! Since this dark leafy green is packed with essential vitamins, iron, and calcium, it’s absolutely worth the effort to grow it yourself.
The perfect time to plant spinach is at the end of Summer for Fall harvest. Planting in early Spring after the last frost date is another option. Spinach is a cool-weather plant so it performs best when the temperature stays below 80 degrees. If you sow your seeds in late Spring or during Summer, your plant will bolt and flower, which will leave you with tiny leaves that are bitter and barely edible. This is why some people are hesitant about growing spinach – they’ve made the mistake of sowing their seeds during the wrong season and then they’re left frustrated with the lackluster results- so don’t make this mistake!
When you plant spinach, you can expect to start harvesting your crop in about six to eight weeks – it’s a fast grower. If you know your growing zone’s first frost date – you can plant your seeds accordingly, usually after the hot temperatures of August have subsided.
Now let’s talk about how to grow this amazing leafy green in your garden!
How to Grow and Harvest Spinach
WHEN TO PLANT
Remember, spinach is a cool-weather crop that will shoot up too quickly and begin to reproduce (start seeding) if planted in temperatures above 80 degrees. That’s something you want to avoid because you won’t get the leaves your looking for. Spinach will not perform well outdoors during those months where long days (14 hours of sunlight) are the norm, you’ll just end up with tiny leaves. This is why Fall and early Spring is the ideal time to sow your spinach seeds.
You’ll want to sow your organic seeds 8 – 10 weeks before your zone’s first frost date. (Click here to learn your first frost date.) This will ensure that you get a strong Fall harvest with large, tasty leaves. If you miss this date, (usually the first 3 weeks of August for colder zones), you can still plant your spinach seeds up to 6 weeks before your first hard frost date. I’m in zone 9, so this means I can keep sowing spinach leaves through mid-October!
SOWING YOUR SEEDS
Your spinach cannot thrive without these 4 things: full sun, soil with a pH level of 7 (no lower than pH 6.0), organic matter, and moisture.
When you’ve picked out the perfect full-sun or part-shade planting spot, make sure to loosen up your soil and mix in some compost and organic fertilizer. (Never loosen your soil when it’s moist).
Once you’ve loosed your soil and sprinkled in some fertilizer, grab your organic spinach seeds and sow them into the soil about ½ an inch deep into the ground. Space each seed about 2 – 4 inches apart from each other so that their roots have enough room to grow.
Next, spread soil on top of the seeds to cover them up, and then water the soil to moisten it, making sure not to overwater.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Spinach is fast-growing, so you’ll begin to see growth about a week after planting (this is referred to as seed germination).
You’ll also find that spinach is a low-maintenance crop. Spinach needs moist soil but it cannot handle being in soggy soil that is not well-drained. The trick is to never let the soil dry out. If the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
Spinach is a heavy feeder since it grows quickly, so have your organic fertilizer on-hand! You should always use organic fertilizer when growing your vegetables, otherwise, you’ll be left with chemical-laced plants. I’m vegan – so I recommend vegan fertilizer – they work well in flower and vegetable gardens and you can be certain that no animals were harmed in the production process. (You can head to my Shop section to see all my recommended products.)
As mentioned earlier, you’ll want to work some fertilizer into your soil before you sow your seeds. After that, you can switch to a liquid fertilizer. Plenty of gardeners prefer using liquid fertilizers after germination because liquid fertilizer penetrates the soil faster and delivers nutrients to the plant when it needs it most. (I like this kelp seaweed fertilizer .)
Harvesting spinach is easy, but be gentle with your plant! When you notice large leaves growing from the stems, simply take your garden pruners and snip off the leaf, leaving the stem and smaller leaves intact so they can continue to grow.
Spinach can be frozen and stored after harvesting, so if you sow enough seeds, you can enjoy spinach throughout the year.
If you read through this post – you’re ready to grow your own spinach. Remember that the trick is to plant when the weather is cool – in early Spring after the last frost date and early Fall. Once you understand that, the rest is easy. Now go and get your spinach seeds!