Everything About Spinach and How to Plant it
Are you thinking of having an addition to your vegetable garden? If you are, you need to consider having spinach in your garden. This vegetable plant is loaded with nutrients. Therefore, you will get some health benefits when the spinach leaves are ready to harvest. Moreover, growing this vegetable is pretty easy if you know how to plant spinach.
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What You Must Know about Spinach
Before you start the process of how to plant spinach, it is essential for you to know more about this plant. With this knowledge, you will be able to grow this vegetable plant easier and more successfully. These are some facts about spinach.
1. Origin and History of Spinach
Spinach is considered to be originated from Persia and its surrounding areas. Later on, this vegetable was brought to India. Indians then spread it to China via Nepal in about 600 AD. Then, during the Muslim conquests in Europe, Muslim warriors introduced this leafy vegetable to Sicily in about 800 AD. From this point, spinach was spread throughout Europe.
2. General Characteristics of Spinach
Spinacia oleracea or spinach is an annual plant from the amaranth family. Therefore, it is no wonder that you will see some resemblance between the spinach leaf, beet greens, and chard. It is because they come from one family.
The leaves are oval. Each of them grows on a single stem that can reach up to 30 cm long. Moreover, they can grow pretty large, about 15 cm wide.
Spinach is a cold-hardy plant. As a result, it is widely cultivated in the U.S and European countries. Moreover, it is also widely cultivated in many temperate regions in Asia, such as China, Japan, and Iran.
This plant is suitable for USDA hardiness zones 2 to 9. Therefore, before you start the steps of how to plant spinach, you must make sure that you live in one of these zones.
To grow this vegetable, you need to meet its requirements. First of all, this plant must be planted in an area that is partially shaded or exposed to full sun.
Moreover, the soil must be rich with nutrients and well-drained. Besides, it must be loamy with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5 or neutral to alkaline.
Growing spinach does not take a long time. This plant usually will mature in about 37 to 45 days. However, it is recommended for you to harvest the leaves before the plant is matured.
Harvesting at this stage will allow you to have tasty and tender spinach leaves. You can harvest them when this rosette-shaped plant has five or six leaves with.
A matured spinach plant usually tastes bitter. Moreover, too matured leaves are usually tougher. The changes in the taste and texture happen because the plant starts flowering and forming seeds.
In consequence, the energy of the plant is not for developing the leaves. But, it is used for developing spinach flowers and seeds.
3. Best Time to Grow Spinach
If you want to be successful in how to plant spinach, you need to plant it at the right time. Since this vegetable plant is a cold-hardy plant, you need to plant it when the temperature is cool, less than 21o C. Therefore, the best time to grow spinach is in the fall or the spring.
If you want to plant spinach seeds in the fall, you must make sure that the temperature is cool enough. Besides, you need to make sure that it is at least 6 weeks before the first frost. Therefore, your plant will be matured right before winter.
If you want to plant this vegetable in the spring, you had better start it as soon as you can work the soil. If you are late in planting it, you will get a higher risk of bolting.
Bolting is when the spinach is flowering and developing seeds too soon. It usually happens because the climate is too warm for the spinach.
Spinach can also be planted in winter. However, you need to add thick mulch on the soil to protect it from the frost. However, this plant cannot stand the heat. Therefore, you will not be able to plant it in mid-summer.
4. Spinach Flowers
Spinach flowers are very small. They don’t have any petals. These flowers usually bloom when the plant is mature enough. However, warmer temperatures and long daylengths can cause this vegetable plant to bloom early.
Generally, spinach flowers are not self-fertile. You need to have plants with female flowers and plants with male flowers to pollinate the flowers.
After the pollination occurs, the plants will develop seeds. When the seeds are fully developed, you can keep them and plant them in the fall or the spring. Plants that have bloomed and developed seeds usually will die.
5. Spinach Leaves: Nutritional Value and Uses
Spinach leaves are tasty and tender when they are younger. That’s why many people prefer baby spinach. This vegetable is a very excellent source of vitamin K.
If you eat 100 g of spinach, you will get four times your daily need of vitamin K. Besides, it is a great source of vitamin A, manganese, dietary fiber, folate, Vitamin C, B2, and B6, iron, and magnesium.
As a result, eating lots of spinach leaves will give you many health benefits. To get the benefits, you can make it into salads. Moreover, you can also use this vegetable as one of the ingredients of lasagna, pasta, soups, and scrambled eggs.
Spinach can be stored in a fridge for about a week. If you want to keep it longer, you can store it in the freezer. Frozen spinach can last for about eight months. Another way to store this vegetable for a long time is by canning them.
However, storing will affect spinach’s nutritional value. Storing it for a long time will decrease the amount of nutrients in this vegetable. Therefore, it is better for you to eat spinach within a few days of harvesting.
6. Varieties of Spinach
There are varieties of spinach that you can plant. Each of them requires different environments or conditions to grow. Moreover, they also have certain different characteristics.
Therefore, you need to know how to plant spinach varieties if you want to have a nice harvest. These are some spinach varieties that you can grow.
This spinach variety takes about 44 days to mature. It loves to grow in a sunny spot or partially shaded spot. Avon Hybrid can grow up to 30 cm in height and spread to 10 cm in width.
The best time to plant it is in the spring or the fall. Avon hybrid will give you large, dark green, tender, slightly crinkled, and delicious leaves.
This particular spinach is one of the favorites of gardeners. It takes about 40 to 45 days to mature. Similar to other spinach varieties, Giant Nobel can live well in shaded to sunny areas.
This spinach variety can grow up to 25 inches in height. Besides, it has large leaves that taste delicious. These leave may be large, but they are tender.
This spinach variety is perfect for you who live in an area with a warmer climate. It is because they are more heat tolerant. Therefore, you will not experience early bolting when planting them.
This particular vegetable is actually not spinach. However, its leaf shape is similar to the common spinach. Moreover, it also has a similar taste to spinach when it is cooked.
Malabar spinach is a climbing plant. Therefore, you must put a stake or trellis for the plant to grow. It takes about 70 days to mature.
This variety of spinach takes 47 days to mature. It is best planted in the fall. Winter Bloomsdale is perfect for beginners in gardening.
It is because the plant is resistant to various diseases, such as blight, mosaic, and blue mold. Therefore, it is easier to care for. This plant has dark green, crinkled, and delicious leaves.
This plant is not from the amaranth family. However, its leaves are slightly similar to spinach in shape and color. It is perfect for you who live in an area with a warm climate. Moreover, it takes about 60 days to mature. The best time to grow this plant is in June.
This type of spinach is not too cold hardy. Therefore, you can minimize the risk of bolting when planting it. It has excellent resistance to downy mildew. Besides, it requires 42 days to mature. To have thriving Tyee spinach plants, you must plant them in an area with full sun.
Learn more about how to grow asparagus.
How to Plant Spinach
Spinach is a great addition to your vegetable garden in the fall or the spring. Planting it is not difficult, especially if you know how to plant spinach.
Farmers and gardeners usually plant it from seeds. Moreover, they also prefer to plant the seeds directly in the ground. However, you can also germinate them in a seedling tray. And after that, you can transplant the seedlings in containers.
However, transplanting those seedlings is not easy. If you want to increase your chance of success in planting this vegetable, you had better plant it directly to the ground or directly in bigger containers. These are the steps of how to plant spinach
1. Preparing The Planting Site
Before you start planting the spinach seeds, you need to prepare the planting site first.
- First of all, you must choose an area with enough sun for your spinach.
- Mix the soil in this spot with aged manure. Do it a week before planting.
- Check the acidity of the soil and be sure that it has the right pH level for the spinach to grow.
- Make sure that the soil is well-drained. If it is not, you can create a raised bed.
2. Germination Process
The germination process must be done carefully so that all the seeds germinate successfully. These are some of the things you need to do in this process.
- Create holes about an inch deep. The holes must be 3 inches apart.
- Place a seed in each hole.
- Cover the seeds with soil.
- Moist the soil
3. How to Care for the Spinach Plants
In about a week, the spinach seeds will germinate. Then, they will grow into seedlings. At this stage of how to plant spinach, you must take care of them properly. These are some tips for caring for spinach plants.
- Water the plants regularly. However, you must not cause the soil to be soggy. Spinach loves moist soil. Therefore, you may need to add mulch on the ground.
- Thinning may be needed if your seedlings grow too closely. This method will allow your spinach plants to thrive well and produce larger leaves.
- Some several pests and diseases may attack your spinach plants. Some of them are downy mildew, caterpillars, leaf miners, aphids, and blight. To fight pests, you can use organic pesticide and fungicide. But, if they are affected by diseases, you will not able to do much, except discarding the affected ones.
- If you don’t have much time to fight the pests and diseases on your spinach plants, you had better choose spinach variety that are more resistant to diseases. Moreover, you also need to consider rotating your plant. It is not recommended to plant spinach in the same spot for two years in a row.
Your spinach plants will likely get matured in six to seven weeks. And once they are matured, their leaves will taste different. Therefore, you need to harvest them when they are younger. Snip the leaves when they have reached the size of 3 inches or 5 inches.
You can harvest all the leaves of a plant at once. In order to do it, you need to use sharp scissors. However, you can also harvest the leaves periodically.
In other words, you can snip a layer of the leaves at a time. In doing it, you must choose the leaves at the outer layer. They usually have a bigger size. Moreover, doing it will help the smaller inner leaves to grow bigger.
All in all, the steps of how to plant spinach is not too complicated. As long as you have the right soil and spot, you will likely be successful in growing this vegetable.
Besides, you don’t need to fertilize the plants during its growing season. Therefore, it is perfect for you who don’t have much time to take care of your vegetable plants.
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