An Easy to Grow "Superfood"
Subspecies: Spinacia Oleracea
Spinach is a cool season crop, and the sight of it thriving in the garden patch is one of the earliest signs of true spring. Spinach plants can be grown for harvest in the spring and fall.
The curlier the leaf, the more likely it is to catch soil during a rainfall, accounting for spinach’s gritty reputation.
Plain, smooth leaved varieties can be planted to avoid the grittiness without extra time spent rinsing the plants.
Fairly precise conditions are necessary for growing spinach, but once you have that down it’s a great crop. Read on for a guide on how to grow spinach yourself.
Lets go over the specifics of growing spinach. Spinach seeds need to be planted directly in the ground. Soil needs to be around 40°–75°F for adequate germination to occur within 6 – 10 days.
Plant I seed per inch along the row. Cover lightly with ½ inch of soil. When seedlings reach 1 inch tall they should be thinned to distance of 2 – 4 inches. The rows should be about 12 inches apart, if weeds are managed regularly. If the entire plant is going to be harvested, rather than cutting leaves periodically, the plants can be grown closer together. In raised beds, spinach plants may be grown in a broadcast method with plants as close as 6 inches. This cuts down on cultivation as well.
If soil is dry, spinach needs to be planted earlier in the season, high temperatures and longer days encourage spinach bolting. Seeds planted later in the season can take advantage of the shade provided by other crops. Follow early harvests with warmer weather vegetables such as tomatoes or beans.
Make continuous plantings every week or two, until last frost. Plant again in mid to late summer for a fall harvest.
Spinach has shallow roots and needs constant moisture to make it through the growing season. Water moderately, soil should remain moist – but not be over saturated. Mulch should be applied once seedlings are established, in order to retain moisture and discourage weed growth.
Both Savoyed and semi-savoyed varieties have dark green, crinkled leaves. Both types are known for being particularly crisp in cooler weather. The Savoyed varieties are the best to grow, if planting for winter harvest.
Smooth leaved spinach is usually a paler shade of green when compared to the savoyed varieties. However, the plain leaves are easier to wash and gather less soil or grit while growing. Smooth leaved spinach can be harvested as baby greens or left to grow, and harvested when mature.
Bloomsdale is a crinkle leaf variety with dark and glossy leaves.
Winter Bloomsdale is cold tolerant and a good late fall, early winter variety. It can be grown in a cold frame, well into winter.
Indian Summer is a quick maturing spinach, it only takes 39 days, good for first plantings when successive plantings are planned.
Melody and Vienna varieties are both suitable for spring or fall planting.
Giant Noble is a reliable, large leafed variety with plain, non-crinkled leaves.
Row covers can be used to control Leaf Miners. Pick and destroy the damaged leaves.
The easiest method for keeping greens is to freeze them. Just blanch, cool, pat dry, and pack in plastic bags.