Growing Spinach-Everything You Need To Know

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Growing spinach is really easy to do. There are so many different varieties you can choose from when you start shopping for spinach seeds. Be sure and check with your local seed company regarding which one(s) will work in your area. I only buy certified organic seeds. Growing spinach in a well-drained soil rich in nutrients, such as organic compost or composted manure with a pH of 6.5 to 7, will reap a large bounty. You may be wondering what is this pH stuff all about? I have you covered.

The soil we use to grow our vegetables and fruits in will depend on the area we live in and the nutrients in the ground or the nutrients we add. Is it guesswork? Sometimes it is. I write down every year in a journal what I added to my raised garden beds each year. I modify the ingredients (nutrients) the following year depending on the harvest results of the previous year.

Some vegetables prefer an acidic soil. Some thrive in an alkaline soil. Here is the one pH tool I have used to help me figure out the pH of my soil. Wallfire pH Soil Meter You may know that I live in Southern Utah, where the soil is dark orange or red clay. We must add several layers of good soil to grow vegetables, fruits or flowers here based on what I’ve experienced in my location, others may have done better in their neighborhood.

Alkaline soils are typically clay soils or poor soil. The pH will be over 8.5 with a poor soil structure. This is when you will add organic matter, sphagnum peat, adding acidifying nitrogen, iron sulfate to name a few. Alkaline soils are usually found in low rainfall areas.

Acidic soils are typically below a pH of 7. You may still need to add nutrients to your soil if the number is too low. You can always take a bucket of soil to your local state extension service to test your soil. Please call ahead to see if they offer this service. Remember your different raised garden beds or different areas of your in-ground garden may have different pH levels. You may want to take a few samples of soil to have tested from various areas of your garden.

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I call it a little trial and error. If I can adjust the pH level just right for the various things I plant, life is good. All you do is stick the tool into moist soil and it will register the pH of that garden spot or raised garden beds. Adjust the nutrients as needed.

Tips for Growing Spinach

When to Plant

I always use seeds, I don’t bother with seedlings. The seeds work really well. You can plant the seeds about 4-6 weeks after the last frost in the spring. If you plant some seeds every two weeks you will have spinach for weeks, if not months. I have had spinach sprout in the winter if we have a somewhat mild season.

You will need to thin the spinach seedlings if you spread a few too many seeds when planting. They need about 12 inches between each row. There is nothing more exciting than when you watch for that first sprout. I love it!

The plants like the temperatures between 35-75 degrees. Once the heat hits here in my area, my planting days are over until late August or early September. Then I start a new batch every two weeks. This vegetable does well in full sun or partial shade. The seeds I buy mature in 40 days.

Pots work really well if you use the Miracle Grow Potting mix, they are great for apartments or very small yards.

Fertilizer

I use Miracle Grow Brand (TM) potting mix when I fill my grow boxes because it comes with fertilizer included in the mix ready to feed my new seeds or plants like tomatoes. I also fertilize my spinach with Miracle Grow Feed and Shake as needed.

Bugs/Insects/Diseases

Here are the pests that love your growing spinach: aphids (you will see sticky leaves), spider mites, and flea beetles. The diseases are downy mildew and white rust. The mildew looks like a powdery mildew and the rust looks like white spots on the leaves. You can hose them off or pick them off. If I see mildew or rust, I destroy the plants. Then I let the soil dry out and plant additional seeds in a different garden bed.

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Typically if you have strong plants you may not have to worry about the pests or diseases.

How To Harvest Spinach

Once the spinach is about eight inches tall, it’s ready to pull, or just pinch a few leaves for tonight’s dinner salad. Scissors work great as well.  Once the plants have “bolted,” meaning they have flowers, they are ready to pull and start another row of seeds, if the weather is acceptable. Pick outer leaves first and then the inner leaves.

Picking Spinach

Preserving Spinach

You can freeze it in plastic bags, its great for smoothies. Freezing by Linda

You can also dehydrate it like I do in my Excalibur Dehydrator by placing the freshly washed leaves evenly across the trays. My dehydrator suggests a temperature of 125degreesF/52degreesC. The leaves should be crisp and crumble when touched. Dehydrating by Linda  My spinach took about three hours. The time will vary depending on the humidity in the room and how many leaves you have on the trays.

You can air dry the leaves as well outside on screens. Place the washed leaves on screens and let Mother Nature dry them. Cover with another screen to keep the bugs out.

Store the freshly washed leaves in a dry bag and they will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days. Let me know if you are growing spinach, I love to hear from you.

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Copyrighted pictures:

Spinach: AdobeStock_71723946 by Lecic

Picking Spinach: AdobeStock_115212320 by Deyan Georgiev

 

 

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