As summer’s heat arrives, lettuce and spinach begin to wilt under the sun. Smart gardeners begin growing New Zealand Spinach. This green actually prefers warm weather. If you’ve never grown it before, it’s time to learn how to grow New Zealand Spinach and try your first crop. Then, purchase some New Zealand Spinach seeds and get growing. You won’t be disappointed.
Does it surprise you to know that New Zealand Spinach is not “true” spinach? It shares many of the characteristics of true spinach varieties. Also, there are some differences. With that said, it’s perfectly fine, if you refer to these salad greens like spinach.
The two big differences are:
Regular spinach is a cool-weather crop. New Zealand Spinach prefers warm weather.
Regular spinach is hardy, surviving frosts and even freezes. New Zealand spinach is a tender annual and is killed by frost.
In addition, it requires a longer growing period, about 70 days to harvest, versus just 45 to 50 days for regular spinach.
Aside from the differences above, grow New Zealand spinach just like any other true spinach variety. You can use it in the same type of recipes, too.
Start plants after the last frost date in your area.
Sow New Zealand Spinach seeds directly into your garden. Plant seeds in rows. Sow seeds 1/2″ to 1″ apart. Cover very lightly, 1/2″ deep, with soil. Final spacing of the plants should be 2″ to 3″ apart. Water lightly and daily for three to five days. Heavy watering can wash the seeds out of the soil or wash them too deeply into the soil. Provide 12″ between rows.
Grow plants in full sun. The plants like cool weather and lots of moisture in rich, well-drained soil.
Growing spinach at a fast pace produces the most flavorful, and tender leaves. That means plenty of water and a healthy dose of fertilizer. Keep plants well weeded, too.
TIP: Use succession planting, by sowing a row or partial row every two to three weeks.
When using succession planting, as the plants age and lose their vigor, the next crop is ready to harvest.
Ideal Soil pH: 6.0 – 7.5
Soil Temperatures – Ideal germination temperature by vegetable
Ideal Soil pH – for all vegetables.
A variety of insects, and some animals, including rabbits, like spinach. Use a rabbit fence to keep critters out.
For insects, some insecticides can be applied but require several days before you can harvest eat the spinach leaves. We try to avoid insecticides on leafy vegetables wherever possible.
Try organic sprays, and a willingness to give up some of the harvest to insects, overusing pesticides. One reason most of us have gardens is to avoid the potentially harmful pesticides.
Days to Harvest: About 70 days.
Begin to harvest the leaves as soon as they are big enough to use.
New Zealand Spinach is killed by frost.