Spinach Planting

Spinach seedlings1
Spinach planted seedlings
Spinach Planting: Sow spinach in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date. It’s a fast crop and can be harvested in 35 to 50 days,

Plant spinach in cool weather. It is well suited for the spring and autumn gardens.

Spinach can be planted in soil as chilly as 35ºF (2ºC). Sow spinach seed in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date.

Spinach is a fast crop and can be harvested in 35 to 50 days, so is well-suited for planting and harvest in the cool weather of early fall as well.

Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. The dark green leaves of fresh spinach will add color to a lettuce salad. Spinach can be pan-steamed in the water it is rinsed with.

Site for Planting Spinach. Spinach grows well in full sun in cool regions or partial shade in warm regions. Spinach is hardy and will withstand moderate frost.

Soil. Spinach prefers moist, humus-rich, fertile soil, thoroughly worked with plenty of organic matter added. Light sandy soils with good drainage are best in regions of high rainfall.

Spinach Planting. Sow spinach seed ¼ inch (6 mm) deep and 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Thin successful plants to 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) apart. Clip small leaves in 3-5 weeks, depending on time of year and speed of growth.

Spinach Watering. Keep the soil moist, without wetting leaves, unless the plant will dry quickly before nightfall.

Spinach Feeding. Prepare the soil with plenty of organic matter. Apply fish emulsion or 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of blood meal mixed in 1 gallon (4.5 liters) of water every 3 or 4 weeks.

Companions. Plant spinach with beans, members of the cabbage family, celery, legumes, lettuce, onions, peas, radishes, and strawberries. Plant successive crops of spinach every 2-3 weeks in early spring until the temperatures rise above 65°F (18ºC) and the days lengthen.

Spinach Pests. Hand remove snail and slugs that attack spinach, and spray away aphids with a steady stream of water.

Spinach Diseases. Spinach is susceptible to some soil-borne diseases. Plant disease resistant varieties.

Spinach Harvest. Harvest spinach when leaves are 4-7 inches (10-18 cm) long on heads with 6-8 leaves; thin leaves from the outside to allow central growth bud to continue producing leaves.

Smooth-leaf spinach varieties. Choose ‘Olympia’ which grows well in cool weather. ‘Nordic’ grows well in cold weather.

Semi-savoyed spinach varieties. Try ‘Tyee’, ‘Space’, and ‘Melody’.

Savoyed spinach varieties. Choose ‘Winter Bloomsdale’ for autumn and winter growing.

Warm weather spinach substitutes. Malabar spinach (Basella alba ‘Rubra’) is heat- and drought-tolerant. New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa) is heat-tolerant.

The botanical name of spinach is Spinacea oleracea.

More tips at How to Grow Spinach.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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