Favorite of Popeye, despised by children everywhere, spinach seems to be one of those “love it or hate it” types of vegetables. But, I’d wager that the people who don’t like spinach have never had flavorful, sweet baby spinach, harvested at the peak of flavor right from their very own garden. Because once you’ve had that kind of spinach, it’s almost impossible to hate this nutritious, delectable green.
Where to Grow Spinach
The best time to plant spinach in most of the areas is spring because it grows well in a cool atmosphere. For mild climate areas, it should be planted during the winter. Spinach requires some shade as the weather gets hot, and usually four to five hours sun is enough for it.
Spinach can easily grow in a container, traditional garden, or raised bed. For container gardening, you need to bring at least 6 inches deep pot for the spinach. Spinach is considered as perfect companion of summer crops like eggplant and tomatoes. Anyway, let’s take a look at planting of spinach.
For sowing spinach, there are two options, either you can sow them directly in outdoor garden on the last frost date or you can plant them indoors until the last frost date and then you can place them in the garden.
Dig nearly one and half inches before putting in the seed and keep them 6 inches apart from each other. Make sure that soil is evenly moisted until the seed germinates. Now, it is the time to add a couple of inches mulch as soon as the seed germinates. You can use grass clippings, straws, and leaves as mulch. It’s purpose is to conserve the moisture.
Spinach is actually pretty easy to grow. Make sure the plants get at least an inch of water per week; don’t let the soil dry out or your spinach will taste bitter. Fertilize once per month with fish emulsion to keep the plant growing strong. Keep the surrounding area free of weeds, as the compete with the spinach for water and nutrients.
Spinach Pests and Problems
Spinach doesn’t really have many pest or disease issues. The biggest problem you’ll deal with is bolting, and there’s not a lot you can do to prevent that. You can try to prolong the season by keeping the soil moist and cool, and by providing shade from the hot afternoon sun. However, when the ambient temperature is regularly into the 80s (F), the plant will start to bolt regardless of what you do.
Snails and slugs can sometimes be a problem in very damp weather. You can try sprinkling diatomaceous earth around the plants to deter these pests, or, if they are a big problem, consider installing copper edging around the area to keep them out.
Recommended Spinach Varieties
There are several tasty spinach varieties to try in your garden:
‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’ is an heirloom variety that is fairly bolt-resistant. It has a good, mild spinach flavor and thick, crinkled, dark green leaves.
‘Tyee’ is another bolt-resistant variety. This hybrid spinach has medium-green, savoyed leaves, and is a fairly vigorous grower.
‘Summer Perfection’ is a Dutch variety that maintains good flavor even as the weather heats up. Its leaves are thick and crisp in texture.