Spinach is a fast growing plant that is grown for its highly nurtrious leaves (just ask Popeye). The leaves can be flat or wrinkled depending on what make and model you choose. The leaves can be cooked or eaten raw.
Spinach is very rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It also contains high levels of iron and calcium which we all know is good for us.
Spinach is fairly easy to grow and does best in cooler, moist conditions. Warm whether tends to encourage the older varieties of plants (Savoy) to produce seed at an early stage, so you may want to go for one of the newer varieties like Bloomsdale.
How long from sowing to harvest?
5 to 10 weeks.
Where to Plant and Soil Prep.
Spinach prefers slight shade in hot weather. That and the fact that it crows quickly makes it an ideal crop to grow in between slower maturing crops. I personally grow in a good existing soil but you can add a low fertility soil improver if you want.
If you have poor soil then add in a medium fertility improver.
Sowing and Planting Spinach from Seed.
You need to sow Spinach seeds at intervals of about 10-14 days from early spring until early autumn. The later sowings will be OK over winter in more milder climates, otherwise you will need to cover with cloches.
An important point to remember is that the seeds will not germinate above 30 deg C (89 F).
You will need to start off in modules on the windowsill and plant out under cloches in early spring. If you’re going to grow outside sow thinly in shallow drills (push a stick to make a small hole).
Spacing should be about 15cm (6in) apart with seedlings. Seeds can be sown closer but you may need to thin out as they grow.
Caring for Spinach.
Nothing special here. Water well in very dry weather and keep down the weeds.
Problems you may encounter when growing spinach form seed.
The speed in which spinach grows in regards to other green leafed vegetables means it is fairly trouble free but slugs do like a nibble and also be aware of downy mildew.
Harvesting & Storage.
Now comes the good part. When they are around 5cm (2in) tall you can start picking individual leaves. When they reach 15-20 cm tall (6-8ins) you need to cut the whole plant so that you have about 2.5cm (1ins) left above ground level and they may re-sprout.
You can eat them raw, cooked or freeze them for later.
Spinach is very popular in smoothies for anyone interested in a food combining diet.