Spinach, a super–cold-hardy leafy green, is a popular crop that can be planted in very early spring, as well as in fall and even winter in some areas. Learn more about planting and growing nutritious spinach in your home garden.
How to Plant
– Sow seeds 1/2 of an inch deep every 2 inches and cover with 1/2 inch of soil.
– Plant in rows 12 to 18 inches apart or sprinkle over a wide row or bed.
– Sow every couple of weeks during early spring for a continuous harvest.
– Water spinach to keep soil constantly moist.
– Use row covers to maintain cool soil and deter pests.
– When seedlings sprout to about 2 inches, thin them to 3-4 inches apart. You can eat the thinnings.
– Beyond thinning, no cultivation is necessary. Roots are shallow and easily damaged. Water regularly and mulch to retain moisture.
– When plants reach one-third of their growth, side-dress with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, as needed. Nutrient deficiencies may appear as yellow or pale leaves, stunted or distorted growth, a purpling or bronzing of leaves, leaves dropping early, or other symptoms.
– In early spring and late fall: Spinach can tolerate the cold; it can survive a frost and temps down to 15ºF (-9°C). (See local frost dates) Young spinach is more tender; cover if cold temps are in the forecast.
– Harvest a few outer leaves from each plant (so that inner leaves can develop) when leaves reach desired size, or harvest the entire plant, cutting the stem at the base.
– Don’t wait too long to harvest or wait for larger leaves. Bitterness will set in quickly after maturity. Be aware of day length and heat: Increasing daylight (about 14 hours or longer) and warmer seasonal temperatures can cause spinach to bolt (develop a large stalk with narrower leaves and buds/flowers/seeds), which turns leaf taste bitter.
– If spinach starts to bolt, pull the plant and use the leaves. Or try to slow the bolting: Pinch off the flower/seed heads, keep the soil moist, and provide shade.
How to Store Spinach
– Fresh spinach leaves are good up to a week. Too much moisture hastens its demise. So store fresh spinach unwashed and don’t wash until ready to use. Pat dry with a paper towel and put in a freezer bag with the towel to absorb moisture.
– Given its short shelf life, spinach is perfect for freezing. Wash, trim off ends and yellowing leaves, blanch, and pack into freezer bags.
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Video source: Garden Answer