How To Plant, Care For & Harvest Spinach In Your Vegetable Garden
From starting spinach seeds to harvesting, we share the best tips for growing your own spinach. Whether you have raised garden beds or containers, growing spinach is easy and you can enjoy a successful spinach harvest with these expert tips.
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As far as greens go, spinach is probably the most versatile in recipes, in my opinion. It’s packed with nutrients and you can toss it in salads, blend it up in smoothies and easily add it to stir fries and soups. Garden spinach has an amazing fresh flavor in salads, but it also has a fairly mild taste, so you can sneak it in smoothies and other recipes to add nutrition for picky eaters.
Spinach is one of the earliest crops you can plant in your garden. Read more at When To Plant Seeds In Your Vegetable Garden.
Spinach is a cool weather crop that can tolerate some frost, but is not very tolerant of hot and dry conditions.
Prepare the soil by adding compost and organic fertilizer. Since you want to encourage leafy growth we recommend a fertilizer high in nitrogen (e.g. blood meal).
Seed You can direct seed spinach in your garden about 4 weeks before your average last frost. You can also start plants indoors, but spinach grows rapidly in the garden so we don’t bother to start them inside.
Maximize yields We don’t plant our spinach seeds in rows. Instead we broadcast seeds very densely over a designated section of our raised beds. You’ll see why in the video and harvest section below.
Spacing Final spacing for spinach should be 4-6 inches.
Tip We extend our spinach harvest by starting the first sowing in a hoop tunnel 6-7 weeks before last frost. We also plant a second crop about three weeks after the first in an area of the garden that receives a little bit of shade. The second crop never lasts as long as the first, but it does extend our harvest by a couple of weeks at least.
In the video below, Jeremy shows you our planting strategy for lettuce, but the same planting and harvesting strategy applies to spinach as well.
You have a few options for harvesting spinach. As explained in the video below, to maximize yields we thin by harvesting whole plants when they are at the size of baby greens. When plants are at final spacing, you can harvest outer leaves over a period of several weeks.
Spinach does not last long in summer heat, so once you start to see the first signs of bolting (the leaves change from oval to arrowhead shape, the plants grow taller and send up stalks with small clusters of flower buds) it’s best to harvest the entire plant. If you wait too long the leaves will become tough and taste bitter.
Our Favorite Spinach Varieties
All varieties we have tried have excellent flavor. The main important difference is how quickly the plants bolt. The best variety we have trialed in this regard is ‘Tyee’. We also plant ‘Space,’ which is delicious and almost as bolt resistant as ‘Tyee’. ‘Reflect’ is another variety of spinach with excellent flavor that doesn’t bolt as quickly as some of the other varieties we’ve tried.