Grow Spinach

How To Grow Spinach: Culture Guide And The Best Tips

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Growing spinach is easy and also promising for beginners. We reveal what you should consider when growing spinach in terms of time, location and procedure. We also give tips on care and wintering.

Those who grow fresh spinach ( Spinacia oleracea ) in their own garden are not only doing something good for their health but are also rewarded with good yields thanks to the easy-care cultivation. The annual leaf vegetable from the foxtail family ( Amaranthaceae ) is a typical no-till vegetable. This article will tell you what varieties there are, how exactly growing spinach works and how to properly care for it.

Growing spinach: how to do it

When is spinach best grown? Where is the ideal location for spinach? And what is the best way to go about sowing? We answer these questions in the following section.

When is spinach grown?

Spinach can be grown at different times of the year, typically in spring and autumn. In principle, year-round cultivation outdoors is also feasible if the spinach is cultivated in sheltered locations over the winter. Above all, choosing the right variety is crucial for successful cultivation. Which variety is the right one depends on the climatic conditions of the respective season? For example, if you want to sow and harvest spinach in summer, you should use particularly bullet-resistant varieties. This means that these strains will not start to flower as quickly in the warm summer temperatures. But they are more sensitive to the cold.

Tip: Originally, spinach had either male or female plants. However, thanks to new breeding, there are now varieties of spinach that have both male and female flowers. This change can have a positive effect on successful pollination and variety stability.

If you would like to harvest your first spinach before the start of summer, sowing takes place from the end of February through to April. Since cold spells in the garden occur more often at this time, it is advisable to cover the young plants with a fleece. Since spinach generally only tolerates light frosts, a protective layer of brushwood, fleece, or even snow is essential for survival for winter spinach. The following table shows the interval at which the harvest follows the sowing.

sowing harvest
Spring spinach Late February – early April May June
Summer spinach April – end of June June August
Autumn spinach July September September – December
Winter spinach Late September – early October April
Tip: Due to its deep roots, spinach is also perfect as green manure for loosening the soil. Over the winter, he can thus prepare the soil for the next planting season.

The ideal location for spinach

Spinach likes to be in sunny to partially shaded locations. Depending on the variety, however, the ideal location for the leafy vegetables varies. For example, summer spinach should be in light shade, while winter spinach prefers a sunny location. Since spinach forms tap roots up to 1.20 meters deep, a loosened soil is important. The substrate should also be rich in humus, well-drained, and have a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. You can achieve a humus vegetable patch, for example, through well-thought-out humus management and the regular use of mainly organic fertilizers. Organic soil activator can be worked into the soil before sowing. It ensures more soil fertility and increases the humus content.

Spinach grows best in soils rich in humus

Where to grow spinach

  • Sunny to a partially shaded location
  • Loose, well-drained soil
  • Soil rich in humus and nutrients
  • Ideal pH value: 6.5 – 7.5
Tip: Due to its deep roots, spinach is also perfect as green manure for loosening the soil. Over the winter, he can thus prepare the soil for the next planting season.

This is how you grow spinach outdoors

The sowing of spinach takes place directly in the field. There it is sown in rows, otherwise, the spinach has little chance against weeds. Important maintenance tasks such as hoeing can also be carried out much more easily between the rows. Before you start sowing, loosen the soil a little and clear it of weeds. To offer the spinach the best conditions for growth, prepare the soil optimally.

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Spinach needs loose, well-drained soil with a good water supply. To achieve this, you can lean soil that is too heavy with organic vegetable soil or sand. Too light, sandy soils are upgraded with organic vegetable soil. To provide the plant with sufficient nutrients right from the start, basic fertilization of the soil is recommended before sowing. To do this, work organic universal fertilizer with organic long-term effects or compost into the soil. If the soil is too acidic to grow spinach, the pH value can be adjusted using lime or alternative fertilizers such as eggshells or wood ash.

The seeds are then pressed 2 to 3 centimeters deep into the soil at a planting distance of 8 to 12 centimeters. The distance between the rows is 20 to 30 centimeters. Spinach germinates and grows even at very low temperatures, but if there is a risk of frost it should be covered with fleece. After sowing, pound the soil firmly and water it carefully. After six to eight weeks, the spinach can finally be harvested.

Spinach should be sown with a row spacing of 20-30 cm

Tip: If you want to continuously harvest fresh spinach in your garden, it is worth re-sowing the spinach at regular intervals.

Growing spinach summary:

  • Soil preparation: Promote humus, loose soil, eg with soil activator
  • Enrich the soil with nutrients, for example, 70 – 150 g / m² organic universal fertilizer or compost
  • If necessary, raise the pH value by lime or fertilization with wood ash or eggshells
  • Place seeds 2 – 3 cm deep
  • Plant spacing: 8 – 12 cm
  • Row spacing: 20 – 30 cm
  • Ideal germination temperature: 10 – 20 ° C
  • Cover with fleece if there is a risk of frost
  • Harvest after 6 – 8 weeks

This is how you grow spinach in a pot

Even if you do not have a suitable bedding area, you can grow spinach yourself, because the versatile leafy vegetables can also grow in the smallest area in the pot on the balcony or terrace. It should be noted that the container has a minimum depth of 30 to 40 centimeters so that the spinach can form its deep roots.

Tip: In order to grow well in the pot, spinach needs a good, adapted substrate. Organic tomato and vegetable soil have everything your spinach needs to grow: It is permeable, ensures a good water supply, and has the ideal pH value for spinach above 6.5.

Maintain spinach

Spinach is one of the medium-consuming plants. To meet the nutritional needs of the plant, you should apply a primarily organic fertilizer or your own compost. Organic universal fertilizer is ideal for this, as it is completely animal-free and provides your plants with all the important nutrients throughout the gardening season. On the other hand, you should avoid excessive nitrogen fertilization due to the accumulation of nitrates in the leaves.

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Spinach is a frugal plant, but regular watering is necessary. The soil should be moist, but the plant cannot tolerate waterlogging. It is best to water more often in small amounts. Regular raking and weed clearance have also proven their worth in cultivation, as the spinach cannot establish itself in the event of excessive weed development and its growth is inhibited.

Care for spinach at a glance:

  • Mainly organic fertilization with organic universal fertilizer or compost
  • Water regularly
  • Remove weeds and rake
Tip: If you’re growing spinach in summer, it’s best to water early in the morning or late in the afternoon. In this way, the amount of evaporation is reduced and you save water.Gardender

Hibernate spinach

If you want to harvest spinach very early in the New Year, you can sow the spinach in the previous year – from September to October. The plant then hibernates outdoors. The small plants survive the cold best when they have already developed two to four leaves. If there is frost outside, it is important to cover the spinach. Bald frost means it freezes without an insulating layer of snow. This can quickly lead to cold damage, especially in the young plants.

Spinach can be grown without any major problems, only sometimes it is afflicted by downy mildew

Diseases and pests in spinach

Spinach is quite easy to grow, but downy mildew can sometimes cause problems. In the meantime, however, there are enough new varieties that have good to very good resistance to the fungal disease. Regular ventilation should be ensured, especially when growing in polytunnels. In the open field, it is advisable to water the plants as close to the roots as possible so that downy mildew has less attack surface because the fungus depends on the leaves being wet.

If the plants are already infested, there is unfortunately not much that can be saved. Then it is advisable to chop off the culture and dispose of it in the residual waste. This drastic measure is appropriate because there is a risk that the fungus will survive in the compost and that its spores will spread throughout the garden. The leaf spot disease is known from the cucumber ( Cucumis sativus ) also occurs occasionally. Pests rarely visit the spinach, but the black bean louse ( Aphis fabae ) can cause problems for the spinach. In contrast, in early summer the plants can be covered with a net until harvest.

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