Growing Spinach: In Containers Indoors + Outdoors
Growing Spinach - Facts
Seven Steps to Growing Spinach
Growing spinach in pots at home is easy & how to grow them in the ground, just follow these steps.
Introduction to Spinach
Spinach is a nutritious, dark-green vegetable used for making smoothies and salads. It was first grown in Iran and overtime; it has gained popularity all around the world.
Growing spinach in your backyard is very easy. By the time you’re done reading step-by-step guide, you will know everything you need to know to get yourself the healthiest spinach in the block.
Like other cool weather vegetables, spinach grows healthily in well-drained fertile soils loaded with organic matter. For fertility, choose soil rich in compost manure. If you can’t find this type of soil around, you can improve the fertility of your own garden soil. All you will need do is to mix at least 2 inches of compost with your garden topsoil.
The perfect soil pH
Spinach plants thrive in slightly alkaline conditions. Loamy soils with a pH range of 7.0 to 9.0 will serve your plants perfectly. If you have sandy soil in your garden, neutralize its acidity with some lime. Also be sure to test the resultant pH of your soil before planting the seeds.
Once you have ensured that you have the perfect soil for your vegetables, you can now proceed to seeding. When buying spinach seeds, I would advise you to stick to the requirements written on the seeds’ packet. However, consider the following specifications for an average spinach seed:
Spacing and depth: Plant the spinach seeds leaving some space of about 15 to 20 inches in between them. This is because they grow to become very leafy and with this spacing, each plant would be exposed to sufficient sunlight. More so, this spacing would latter give you an easier time while harvesting. The seeds should be planted 0.5 inches beneath the soil.
Temperature for planting
Spinach seeds react very sensitively to temperature. Temperature will affect the rate of seeds’ germination.70 degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal soil temperature for spinach seed germination.
Months to plant
For rapid germination, you should plant your seeds during the last days of summer. Between September and October, soil temperatures go below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Planting them during this time would also prevent delayed germination. However, check out for frost it can destroy your seedlings.
I would recommend that you directly plant your seeds in the garden to avoid transplanting. Transplanting can destroy your seedlings if not done well. However, if you have already planted them on your seed bed, I will tell you how and when to transplant them properly. It will take 5 to 9 days for the seeds to fully germinate into seedlings.
Once they have matured into seedlings, transplant them into pots. Transplant them in the early morning hours (6-7 a.m.) and in the evening (6 p.m.). When transplanting the seedlings into a pot, try not to damage their tender roots.
Lift the entire root-soil cluster with a small shovel and transfer it into a pot. The pot should be about 7 inches deep. You can use a wider pot as an alternative since spinach tap roots don’t go deep into the soil.
Before transferring the seedlings into your garden, prepare your ground first. First-and-foremost, dig planting holes wider and deeper than your spinach root balls. Dig them 10 inches apart (rows) and 20 inches apart (columns ).
Secondly, place the seedlings without squeezing them. Finally, top-dress the seedlings with one teaspoon of a nitrogenous fertilizer like C.A.N. With this your seedlings would be ready to grow.
Water the seedlings regulating the amount of soil moisture with your index finger. Gently insert your index finger into the soil while watering. The soil shouldn’t feel wet nor soggy. Spinach plants are water lovers.
However, they might develop rot if the soil is waterlogged. As mentioned before, the soil should be well-drained. Fast-draining soil will ensure minimal water retention. With this in mind, water regularly to keep the soil from drying. In the cold season you’ll only need to water it in the morning in the evening hours on a daily basis. One, 1liter jug of water per plant should be enough.
How much sunlight is needed?
Spinach plants store their food on the leaves. If you want a leafy plant, expose your pot to direct sunlight. However, if you have planted during midsummer place it in a partial shade since too much sunlight triggers bolting (flowering seed production).
Spinach is one of the most commonly found vegetables in our gardens. This is because it is a low maintenance vegetable. However, this does not mean that it requires no attention at all. There are some things you will have to check on in order for you to get healthy-looking spinach leaves during harvest time.
When dealing with spinach stick on using organic fertilizers. Spinach plants are very receptive to fertile soil and they would not need any extra supplement. Once you have top-dressed your soil use organic compost.
You can also get them fish emulsion which is loaded with N.P.K. This fertilizer is also rich in micronutrients like iron and sulphur. You can also use commercial liquid compost concentrate. However, use it once your plant has started to produce true leaves. Other organic fertilizers that you might also want to consider are:
- Liquid kelp
- compost tea bags
- compost tea concentrate
You will notice the deficiency of an important macronutrient by the pigmentation of the leaves. Yellow leaves are a sign of nitrogen deficiency. If you see, this try adding aged compost to restore fertility to the soil.
Weeding & Pests
Weed regularly to prevent the infestation of pests like cutworms. Cutworms are the main pests that attack spinach plants. When dealing with cutworms, sprinkle some wood ash at the base of your spinach plants. With regular weeding and application of relevant insecticides, your spinach plant would be a step closer to successful harvesting.
There is no specific time for harvesting. Harvesting can start as soon as your plants begin to yield true leaves. Pluck out the largest leaf of each plant. You can do this repeatedly.
However, it is advisable that you begin harvesting when your plants have enough leaves. Harvesting can go on and on as long as the plant has not yet bolted. When bolting begins, uproot the entire plant as a harvest.
Freeze the spinach leaves to preserve them. Once frozen, they can be packed and transported to the grocery store. If they are for your family consumption, you can have your fridge stocked as they will serve you and your family for the entire cold season.
Benefits of spinach
Spinach has tons of health benefits. One spinach smoothie is packed with more than 40 calories. It is also, loaded with the following nutrients.
It also contains calcium which strengthens our bones. Spinach regulates protein levels in our blood stream keeping high blood pressure at bay.
Nutritionists have found out that spinach to be by far, the most nutritious vegetable on planet Earth. No wonder it is Popeye’s as favourite snack. Having spinach in your home will save you the cost of getting them in a grocery store. More so, you will know how they were planted doing away with the risk of any poisoning. Now that you know how grow it on your backyard, what are you waiting for!