Spinach, a super–cold-hardy leafy green, is a popular crop that can be planted in very early spring, as well as in fall and even winter in some areas.
Similar growing conditions and requirements as lettuce, but it is more versatile in both its nutrition and its ability to be eaten raw or cooked. It is higher in iron, calcium, and vitamins than most cultivated greens, and one of the best sources of vitamins A, B, and C.
Smooth-leaf Spinach is also a favorite for Tower Gardeners but can be a bit challenging to germinate and sometimes grow.
Spinach is sensitive to acidity; pH should be at least 6.0, preferably 6.5-7.5 and prefers cool temps (70s) in early spring and fall. It’s a quick-growing and low-maintenance cool weather plant for outside. As temperatures turn colder, it produces a compound that allows the plant to survive frosts and freezes. It can also grow inside in cooler environments.
Note: In zone 7 and higher it may be too hot to plant until mid-September… We cannot guarantee health of spinach in these zones until cooler weather arrives. Plant spinach outside about eight weeks before your first frost date. Lookup your first and last freeze/frost dates by zip code
- Keep an eye on your plants. Harvest when leaves reach the desired size.
- Don’t wait too long to harvest or wait for larger leaves; bitterness will set in quickly after maturity.
- The whole plant can be harvested at once, and cut at the base, or leaves may be picked off plants one layer at a time, giving inner layers more time to develop.
- For baby leaf, harvest with a knife when leaves reach desired size in 3-5 weeks, depending on time of year and speed of growth, making sure to cut above the basal plate for cut-and-come-again harvests. A second cut is possible.
- For full size: Harvest with a knife by cutting the long stems just above the basal plate, or, for whole-plant harvest, cutting just below the basal plate. When growing winter spinach, harvest largest leaves and allow the smaller ones to size up for later harvests.
Triple-rinse leaves, sort out cut and broken leaves, and package. Store at 32°F and 95% relative humidity for 10–14 days.
DID YOU KNOW?
- A pinch of baking soda in the cooking water keeps spinach greener.
- Spinach boosts your brainpower, but it can hinder iron absorption. For better absorption of iron, eat spinach with orange slices.
Joe Gardener: How Do I Grow Spinach? (for dirt gardens but great info!)
LATIN NAME: Spinacia oleracea
RECOMMENDED SEED: Auroch (F1) Spinach Seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Want to grow spinach in the summer? Check out Red Malabar Spinach a vine spinach perfect for warm temps.