Spinach, whose scientific name is Spinace oleracea. It’s one of the most appreciated vegetables in the world. The consumption of this rich vegetable brings enormous benefits to our body. Spinach contains large amounts of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are important for skin, hair and bones, in addition to providing protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.
Possible health benefits of spinach consumption include improved blood glucose control in people with diabetes, decreased risk of cancer, reduced blood pressure, improved bone health, decreased risk of developing asthma among several others.
Spinach is a vegetable from Iran, and it has been one of the most cultivated vegetable for centuries due to its great nutritional attributes and it’s easy adaptation to any climate and soil. It’s good for health in reasonable amounts. With proper planning you can have spinach throughout the year. It’s much tastier and more nutritious if we take it fresh from our garden. So learning how to grow spinach can be one of the best thins we do for our health.
Spinach are great to accompany so many dishes. It can be used to make salads, but also to make crushed or soups. Together with garlic, can be tremendously tasty. Spinach is loaded with nutrients among which we can highlight:
- Laxative, refreshing and anti-anemic properties.
- Vitamins A, C, B1, B2, PP and K.
- Calcium, copper, iron, iodine, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and sulfur.
One cup of raw spinach contains 27 calories, 0.86 grams of protein, 30 milligrams of calcium, 0.81 grams of iron, 24 milligrams of magnesium, 167 milligrams of potassium, 2.813 IU of vitamin A and 58 micro grams of folic acid. Most of the calories in spinach come from protein.
The best time to plant the different varieties of spinach is in early spring, although you can also plant it in late summer, but it’s best to plant it in early spring, since it is a plant that needs little heat to grow. Now if you want to sow spinach in summer, you can look for some varieties that are more resistant to heat.
We are lucky that we don’t need much to sow spinach. It’s adaptable to many climates, although it prefers humid areas and like the freshness in the environment. Spinach don’t freeze easily. Most varieties of spinach withstand frost well.
On the other hand lack of moisture and droughts cause spinach to become bitter easily. We need spinach to be very exposed to sunlight throughout the year, except in summer for very hot climates, such as the Mediterranean. The reason is that spinach requires a lot of moisture and in summer it is easy to dry. Hence we prefer shaded areas.
The spinach plant can grow perfectly without much sun. This make it ideal for putting it or planting it in places that have a lot of shade during the day. It also tolerates to be in full sun but you have to be careful that it is not in how places or spaces.
A fun fact about spinach, is that due to an error in a laboratory, for many years the advertising agencies believed and reported that spinach had much more iron than real. This is because some chemists were wrong to write drown the amount of iron per gram of spinach.
How do we need the soil to grow spinach
One of the most important things for sow spinach is the earth. Spinach prefers moist and rich soils, but if the soil has enough organic matter, it can be sown in any soil. Spinach requires well-worked land where the soil is loose and fluffy. Like other plants such as chard and saffron require manure and compost, but very decomposed. Does not tolerate poorly decomposed manure well.
Therefore, it is ideal to take advantage of areas where we have planted other more demanding vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbages or eggplants. In case of fertilize the soil because it is very low in nutrients, we should do it at least a month before sowing spinach.
Spinach will not grow well if the soil has a P.H. higher than 6.7 but the values of P.H. It has to be between 6 and 6.5 to have a good growth. If the soil has this problem, what you can do is add a little lime and it will improve the acidity of the soil.
We need a soil that is rich in humus, hold the moisture well and clayey.
How to sow spinach
First of all we have to collect spinach seeds, seeds that are healthy and also have a high germination rate. Once we have stockpiled spinach seeds we go to planting. Spinach seeds are sown directly in the garden on separate lines about 30 cm and depositing 4-5 seeds every 10 cm. Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings begin to develop, thinning is done to leave only one plant every 10 cms.
As tip do not sow all spinach seeds in a single run, It is much more interesting to save the seeds and make the sowing staggered. This way we can have a constant supply of spinach.
Since spinach grows very fast we can sow it with many other vegetables like:
- Green peas.
- Broad beans.
How to irrigate spinach
The irrigation in spinach cultivation have to be constant but short. Spinach requires a lot of water since it is a very fast crop but you have to always provide water without water logging. Excess water rots the roots. Therefore, we will try to keep the soil watered daily and in small doses.
For this and as most times, the drip option is ideal. In the case of spinach it is interesting to do it daily. It is recommended to water the spinach every time the soil is being dried and do it for about 30 minutes. Depending on the climatic zone in which we are, the drought and the heat it is doing.
Watering the crop frequently can yield good yields and plants rich in fleshy leaves, being especially important in crops that are collected late in spring. Summer spinach is difficult to grow, unless you give it a rich and moist soil in a place that has shade to avoid the sun’s rays so that it does not develop excessively fast.
How to harvest spinach
Approximately the time for the leaves to reach a good size is varied, but ranges from give to seven weeks after sowing the spinach seeds. As you can see it is a very fast crop.
With a clean scissor or carefully with your fingers, remove the leaves that are ready. For the collection of spinach, it is not necessary to tear the entire plant, since it is enough to take out the 5 or 6 outer leaves. This you will do so that the small inner leaves grow back quickly and can be collected later. A spinach plant allows a leaf to be cut up to five times. Then, we will cut or tear off the entire plant.
One proposal that we make so that you can have fresh spinach all season is that you sow the seeds in a staggered manner (every 15 days) in this way you will be able to harvest tender spinach leaves for a long time.
How to store and preserve spinach
Proper spinach storage is something that you should make into a habit, because that way you will retain its freshness and nutritional value for longer.
- Cut the spinach leaves just when the laves start, this trick will help you keep the spinach much longer. If there are leaves in the lower part of plant do not worry, cut them too.
- Clean the spinach leaves with tap water and let them soak in your kitchen sink, soak them in water for a few minutes. Then dry them on a cloth or paper towel.
- Wrap the spinach in absorbent paper towels or a tissue, squeeze it a little so that it takes out the air and put the spinach wrapped in a tightly closed tupper or plastic box so that it is not in contact with the air.
- It is done! Every time you want to use fresh spinach for any meal, open the plastic canister, you take out the leaves you want to use and close again. Remember to store it in the fridge.
You can keep the spinach for 10 or 12 days and it will keep the properties intact, after these days we recommended that you do not use it.
How to grow spinach at home
To grow spinach in pots you just have to learn to manage some key factors to succeed: when to sow, watering, daylight hours, temperature, etc.
So go ahead and grow spinach at home because it is worth it and it is not a complicated crop even if you are staring in organic gardening and do not have much experience.
To sow and to stimulate the germination of spinach seeds, let them soak in water 8 hours before sowing. Then drain them well and sow them at a depth of no more than 3 cm. If sowing deeper than 3 cm may have difficulty germinating. Within two weeks it will have germinated and the seedling will be growing.
At the time of sowing the spinach leaves a space of between 7 and 10 cm^2 for each seed because when the plant develops it will need it. Do not over crow the planters. Sow spinach seeds at any time of the year, but keep in mind that to germinate it need to have an approximate temperature of 20C.
Pot of cultivation table, whether you are going to sow spinach in pots or on a cultivation table, it should have a minimum depth of 30 cm. Spinach has a slightly branched root, so it is not necessary to provide large containers for cultivation. Of course, make sure that the pots have holes in the base so that irrigation water can flow out if we water too much. Try to avoid pots and soft plastic containers. Opt for more natural and less polluting materials such as unglazed mud, geotextile, etc.
How to prepare the soil in a pot to grow spinach
- In the first layer, which would go to the base of the pot, put 4 to 6 stones to favor the drainage of excess water. Do not cover the holes where the water should come out.
- Then we add a layer of about 4 or 5 cm of sand.
- On top, place another layer of 15 cm of ecological soil for the cultivation of horticultural plants.
- Add another layer of earthworm humus or 3 cm of compost.
- Complete the rest of the pot with ecological soil.
If you place it in a space that receives several hours of direct sun a day it will grow much better and faster than if it is in semi-shade. It’s optimal development temperature would be between 15 and 25C, although it will depend on the type of variety you are going to grow.
When spinach is several days with a high temperature (more than 30C) the plant can spike. This means that it is no longer as suitable for eating because it is more fibrous and because it starts to pour seeds. Therefore, if you are going to want to save your own spinach seeds for the next season or want to exchange it with other gardeners, let some plant spike and you already have a supply of seeds from your own garden.
Basic tips for how to grow spinach
- Spinach plant does not like heat. Too much heat causes it to bloom prematurely and makes it bitter..
- We must be very careful of not over water the plants.
- It is advisable to plant several spinach batches with 2-week lags. This will provide us with a constant source of spinach.
- There are different varieties of spinach, we must choose the variety depending on when we want to plant it.
- Weed removal can be done manually, with the appropriate tools.