Originated in Persia (now Iran), spinach has become one of the top superfoods popular around the globe for its richness in nutrients.
Whether you’re a natural food enthusiast or if your love for spinach is inspired by Popeye, growing your own spinach can take your spinach love to a whole new level.
You can easily grow spinach in a planter in your backyard. Spinach should be planted in early spring or autumn. While some varieties like New Zealand and Malabar grow in the summer, it is essentially a cool-season crop.
With spinach, it’s more like the earlier you plant, the more yield you’ll get. Spinach doesn’t require a whole lot of fertilizers. Usually treating the soil with abundant compost beforehand provides all the nutrients your spinach will need.
Full sun or even partial shade combined with plentiful and consistent moisture in slightly alkaline soil is all you need to ensure a good crop. There are various ways to incorporate spinach in your diet – added to salads or soups, sautéed or stewed.
Culinary versatility is only one of its many features. An abundance of vitamin K in spinach enhances bone health. It is also rich in vitamin A, manganese, iron, copper and folate. Vitamins B, E and C as well as calcium, some fiber and potassium are also present in spinach.
It also provides antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits.
Steps to Grow Organic Spinach
Things you’ll need:
- Vermicompost or any other organic compost
- Fertile soil
- A few stones
- Garden pressure spray pump
- Hand trowel
- Garden label
Step 1. Prepare the soil
Start by preparing the soil for planting. Combine 2 parts soil and 3 parts vermicompost. You may use any other organic compost in place of vermicompost. Ensure that the compost is properly aged.
Work out the lumps in the soil by hand. A light, aerated soil provides better air circulation than clumpy soil. Spinach prefers a slightly alkaline soil (6.5 to 7.5 pH) with a high organic content. Add lime to counter acidity in the soil, if required.
Select a planter that will allow good drainage. Cover the holes in the bottom with a couple of stones to improve drainage. Remember that spinach prefers a well-draining soil.
Step 3. Fill the planter with soil
Fill the planter with the readied soil. Be sure not to fill the planter up to the brim, as it will make the planter flood the soil on watering. Leave a space of about 1 to 2 inches from the top.
Step 4. Sow the seeds
Spread the spinach seeds evenly over the entire surface of the soil. Then, cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
To get a long harvest, sow the seeds as early as possible.
Direct plantation works better for home-grown delicate greens. Germinating the seeds and transplanting the seedlings later may be done, but it reduces their chances of survival.
Step 5. Water the soil
Water the soil with a garden pressure pump. Spinach prefers plentiful and consistent moisture in order to produce a delicately flavored yield.
Step 6. Track the growth of the plants
Water the plants regularly to keep the soil consistently moist. If possible, keep the planter in full sun, though spinach can tolerate partial shade.
A temperature rise can make the leaves strong in flavor and bitter. Hot weather and lack of moisture may also give way to bolting in the plants.
Thin out the plants as they grow to prevent crowding. Crowded plants produce smaller leaves.
Being a cool-season plant, spinach does not need much protection from pests. Flea beetles, spider mites and aphids are occasional culprits, which can be easily washed off with a harsh water spray.
Downy mildew, which occurs during cold and moist weather, and white rust are the diseases that may affect the plant.
White rust is characterized by white spots on the leaves, while downy mildew produces yellow spots on the upper surface and a moldy growth on the underside of the leaves. Affected leaves can be easily handpicked and destroyed.
Step 7. Collect the tender greens
Spinach leaves become suitable for harvest in about 8 weeks. When you can see 4 to 6 mature leaves on a plant, consider the lot suitable for picking. We have harvested our leaves on Day 70.
When the plants show any sign of bolting or blooming, harvest immediately as spinach leaves become bitter and strong-flavored upon blooming.
Pick individual leaves by pinching at the stem. You can also harvest mature leaves using garden scissors. This promotes fresh growth in the plant as well as delays bolting.
For the last harvest of the season, you can also pull the plants out by their roots. Spinach is very easy to pull out. Cut the leaves with garden scissors at the base of the stem.
- If planting in the ground, work the soil loose at least 1-foot deep.
- Make a barrier of crushed eggshells around young plants to deter slugs.
- Instead of pulling out weeds, which can harm the roots of the adjacent plants, use mulch to suppress weeds.
- Spinach leaves can also be stored for winters. A good yield can easily be steam blanched and frozen.
- Rinse spinach leaves thoroughly with plenty of water to remove dirt and external impurities. Remove blighted or spoiled leaves. Store the healthy spinach wrapped in paper towels. Spinach leaves can be stored in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks.
Summary of How to Grow Organic Spinach:
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