Cool-Season Vegetables: How to Grow Spinach
Spinach is the ultimate cool-season crop; it bolts quickly once it encounters hot weather, which is anything above 75 degrees, or even if the days get too long. However, it’s great for spring, fall and even winter in mild climates. And there are some bolt-resistant varieties.
There are generally three types of spinach: the savoyed (crinkly) and semisavoyed types and the flat-leaf types. Baby spinach is flat-leaf spinach harvested just three or four weeks after the seedlings appear.
When to plant: Sow seeds up to two months before the last frost date in spring, then continue sowing every three weeks until just past the last frost date. In fall, sow seeds a month to six weeks before the first frost date; continue through winter in mild-winter climates.
Days to maturity: 40 to 150
Light requirement: Full sun to light shade, especially if afternoons will be somewhat hot
Water requirement:Provide consistent water but don’t overwater
Favorites: Bloomsdale Longstanding, Indian Summer, Marathon, Oriental Giant, Red Cardinal, Space, Tyee
Planting and care: Soil should be well drained and well amended. Sow seeds a half inch deep and an inch apart. Thin to 3 to 4 inches apart when seedlings appear (the best and most nutritious way to thin is to pick off the leaves and eat them). Set transplants to this spacing as well. Keep the soil continuously most but not overly wet, and be sure to weed carefully around the plants. Aphids, cabbage worms and leaf miners are the most troublesome pests.
Harvest: Either pick off leaves as you need them or harvest the entire plant. If you need the entire plant but don’t want to pull it out, cut off all leaves about an inch above the soil; the plant will regrow.