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How to Grow Spinach, Growing Spinach Plants

A generation ago, kids were threatened with a variety of punishments if you do not "eat your spinach". We don't push spinach as much today, as our parents did. From a nutrition standpoint, perhaps we should. Whether our parents knew it or not, spinach truly is good for you. It is packed with vitamins and minerals. Even Popeye knew the benefits of this healthy food.

When we speak of spinach, most people still think about cooked spinach leaves, which is boiled into an often mushy, green vegetable. It is amazing how many people have never tried the mild flavored spinach in a salad. Fewer still, think about where they can use spinach. These greens mix well in many recipes, and can be found in places like stuffed shells, lasagna, and soups.

Spinach is a hardy, cool weather crop. It grows best spring and fall, and survives frosts and even freezes.

Garden Tip: For an early crop when prices in the stores are still high, try growing spinach in a container on your deck, in a sunroom, or inside a coldframe.

Did you Know? Spinach is an ingredient of one of the most popular tomato  vegetable juices? That's right, without Spinach, V8 would only be V7.

Spinach is a vegetable to celebrate. You can do just that on March 26th. It's National Spinach Day.

Varieties of Spinach:

  • Smooth leaves

  • Savoyed or crumpled leaves

  • Bloomsdale Longstanding is the most common variety.

  • New Zealand Spinach - not  a true spinach, grows well in warm weather

Days to Maturity:

45 to 50 days. Plants produce vigorous, healthy greens for 2-3 weeks. Succession planting will allow successive crops to reach maturity, as older plants lose their vigor or bolt.

Sowing Seeds:

Start plants as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring.

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.

How to Grow Spinach Plants:

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 weeks. This will provide fresh greens for most of the year.

When using succession planting, as the plants age and lose their vigor, the next crop is ready to harvest.

Spinach plants do not like summer's heat and humidity. Plant a fall crop as soon as the weather begins to cool, and you will have spinach all the way up to the first frost. For warmer summer weather, try New Zealand Spinach.

Also See:

Plant Problems

Soil Temperatures - Ideal germination temperature by vegetable

Ideal Soil pH - by vegetable

Insects and Pests:

Regardless of whether people like spinach, it is certain that insects and some animals do...especially bunnies. For the bunnies, a rabbit fence is in your future. For insects, there are insecticides which can be applied, but require several days before you can harvest eat the spinach. We like to avoid insecticides on leafy vegetables wherever possible.

We suggest organic sprays, and a willingness to give up some of the harvest to insects, over using pesticides. After all, one of the reasons most of us have gardens is to avoid the pesticides.


Spinach plants are fairly resistant to most plant diseases. However, it will wilt and rot in hot, humid weather. The plant will also bolt, or go to the seed stage, in high when the weather gets hot.

Plant Problems - Diagnosis, causes and cures for many common plant problems.


Like most leafy vegetables, Spinach plants thrive in cooler weather, with moderate moisture. It does not like mid-summer heat, and dry conditions. However, you will find some varieties that are slow to bolt. Many gardeners plant a crop for spring and early summer harvest and leave the mid summer months to heat loving tomatoes and corn. Then, as the late summer heat begins to wane, they plant a crop for late fall harvest.

Plants survive a light frosts, and even freezes.

Garden Recipes:

Spinach and Mushroom Recipe

Spinach Soufflé

More of our Garden Recipes


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