How to Care for Spinach
Spinach is typically ready for harvest between 6 and 7 weeks after planting. Cultivation of the soil directly around the spinach will prevent the growth of weeds, which will compete for moisture and nutrients. Any variety of mulch can be used, but bark chips and straw are especially effective.
Spinach is an annual flowering plant native to Asia, that can grow up to 12 inches in height. The flowers are extremely small, usually between 3 and 4 millimeters in diameter, and can be yellow or green in color. Spinach leaves are edible, and are commonly used in salads. They are very nutritious, containing high levels of both iron and calcium. Spinach can be easily grown in gardens and requires minimal upkeep.
Plant spinach in early spring, as soon as the ground is workable. Spinach seeds will germinate in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a well-drained location with high fertility and between 6 and 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Sow between 12 and 15 seeds for every square foot of soil. Bury them under 1/2 inch of soil, and keep consistently moist until the spinach has sprouted and shown considerable growth.
Water spinach three to four times a week, but do not allow the soil to become soggy. Increase the frequency of watering if the tips of the foliage begin to brown or the spinach wilts. Spread mulch around the stems of the spinach to conserve additional moisture.
Feed only if spinach is light green in color or if growth has slowed. Combine two parts of nitrogen fertilizer with one part Epsom salt to add sulfur content, which is vital to spinach. Apply following the instructions on the packaging.
Harvest spinach leaves when they are bright green and large enough to be used. Cut the leaves from the plant at soil level as early as possible, as the flavor diminishes as spinach ages. Harvest all spinach immediately if seed stalks begin to form, as the foliage deteriorates when flowering begins.
- Spinach is typically ready for harvest between 6 and 7 weeks after planting.
- Cultivation of the soil directly around the spinach will prevent the growth of weeds, which will compete for moisture and nutrients.
- Any variety of mulch can be used, but bark chips and straw are especially effective.
- Epsom salt
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Home Gardening Series: Spinach
- Watch Your Garden Grow: Spinach
- Book: 25 Vegetables Anyone Can Grow; Ann Roe Robbins; 1974