Gardening | 31 January 2017How to Plant and Grow Spinach Share article facebook twitter google pinterest When you hear the word spinach, what image pops into your mind? From salads to Popeye’s muscles and everything in between, versatility is the key word when talking about spinach. It can be eaten raw, steamed, added to pasta dishes, and used in dips. Once you get few of the details down it’s easy to grow, and a few rows a can feed a family of four without much work. In addition to using it in the vegetable garden, its wrinkled, emerald-black leaves work well as a border plant in the landscape or as a filler plant in a mixed container of bedding plants and perennials. Robert Bowden, author of Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening, shares tips for planting and growing this all-around garden champ. Spinach / Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening When to Plant Spinach Spinach is a cool-weather plant and bolts, or goes to flower, when the weather turns warm. Most spinach is planted in the fall and it will continue to grow until warm weather returns. In North and Central Florida plant spinach from October through November and in South Florida plant spinach from October through January. If you plant successive crops of spinach every three weeks you’ll be able to harvest a continuous crop. Where to Plant Spinach If you ever need to improve your garden soil with compost or manures, spinach would be the crop to do it. Rich, deep loamy soil that drains well will produce crisp green leaves for harvesting. Full sun is a must and so is moist, but not wet, soil. Spinach prefers locations with good air circulation. If that’s not possible in your garden, try growing spinach in aboveground containers or in raised beds. How to Plant Spinach Spinach can be direct sown into the garden or started from seed indoors four weeks before planting in the garden. Soak in warm water overnight before planting. For transplants, plant the seed ½ inch deep in biodegradable containers and keep the soil moist for good germination. Transplants can be planted out when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall. When planting seed outdoors directly into the garden, plant seeds 3 to 4 inches apart. Later, thin to 6 inches apart in rows that are 14 inches wide. Spinach lends itself to wide row plantings. Care and Maintenance Spinach likes to be fed a little bit at frequent intervals. Fertilize with a general 12-0-12 fertilizer every two to three weeks, and keep the soil moist. An occasional liquid feed of 20-20-20 wouldn’t hurt, either. Remove weeds often to reduce the competition for food and water. Harvest the single, outside leaves of spinach or cut the entire plant for cooking. Mulching with hay around the plants will reduce weeds, conserve water, and reduce the amount of dirt and grit that splashes up on the plants during rainstorms. As the weather begins to warm up watch for flower stalks and harvest immediately, otherwise the foliage becomes very bitter quite quickly. After it has been washed, fresh spinach can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. Additional Information Spinach is rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin A, and there are several different types. Of the crinkled leaf varieties ‘Bloomsdale Longstanding’ performs well in Florida. Good medium savoyed varieties include ‘Melody’ and ‘Vienna’. ‘Tyee’ is a good, slightly savoyed spinach with very upright leaves that help it stay cleaner than most others. Good plain-leaf varieties for Florida include ‘Giant Nobel’, ‘Space’, and ‘Olympia’. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, grow, and harvest the best edibles for your garden! Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening is an easy-to-use guide to growing edibles in the Sunshine State. Full-color images illustrate the more than 25 fruits and berries featured, and there are also more than 35 recommendations for the best vegetables to grow in this sometimes challenging climate. Helpful growing tips, icons, charts, and maps assist gardeners in planting the right edibles for their exact Florida location. This is the perfect book for longtime Florida gardeners as well as newcomers to the state with its enviable twelve-month growing season. This updated edition of the original Guide to Florida Fruit & Vegetable Gardening (Cool Springs Press, 2010) includes new specimens and cultivars as well as updated information on the outbreak of citrus greening disease that has ravaged orange groves throughout the state, with recommendations on safe practices gardeners should follow. Make your garden healthy and happy with tips from expert gardener and horticulturalist Robert Bowden. Expert gardener and horticulturalist Robert Bowden is the executive director of Orlando’s beautiful Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens. He is a frequent guest on local and national television shows for gardeners. He travels extensively in the United States and Caribbean talking about growing vegetables, perennials, tropical and sub-tropical plants, and flowering vines, trees and shrubs. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.