Growing English Spinach

Turbocharge your diet with homegrown spinach, a superfood that tastes great and grows all winter

Handyman Magazine, Garden, How to Grow Spinach, DIY
Grow this fast-cropping vegie from seed for a supply of fresh greens all winter long 

Famous for giving Popeye his bulging muscles, most of the iron in spinach is not easily absorbed by the body but this leafy annual is still a nutritional powerhouse.
 
It’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. It’s also rich in B group vitamins like folate, plus protein and magnesium.
 
Like many vegetables, spinach loses some of its nutritional value in cooking, so just wilt the leaves when boiling or steaming.
 
Spinach grows best in a cool climate as in warm areas it is likely to bolt to seed. Grow in full to part sun in soil that is rich in nitrogen.
 
Turn the soil over before planting so the taproot has a clear path for strong growth, and add well rotted compost. Good drainage is essential so the roots don’t rot.
 
Spinach is a hungry and thirsty plant, which explains its juicy, deep green leaves. Water regularly and apply a liquid fertiliser every two weeks to encourage fast growth. If the plant is slow to grow it can taste bitter.
 
If you have more spinach than you can eat, trim the stalks, wash and drain the leaves then blanch them for two minutes in small batches.
 
When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess moisture, pack into containers and freeze for use in soups and stews.
 
TIP Cultivate spinach alongside strawberries, broad beans and cauliflower for healthier plants.
 

Choosing a variety

Viking

  • Tasty dark green leaves
  • Grows best in a shady spot
  • Slow to bolt to seed 
Handyman Magazine, Garden, Growing Spinach, Viking Spinach,
Viking spinach has dark green leaves and grows best in shady spots 


Bloomsdale

  • Heirloom variety
  • Large, crinkled, rich green leaves
  • Compact growing plant
Handyman Magazine, Spinach, Garden, Bloomsdale spinach
Bloomsdale spinach is an heirloom variety and is a compact growing plant  

Medania

  • Thick, rounded, dark green leaves
  • Sweet and earthy flavour
  • Reliable cropper
Handyman Magazine, Garden, Medania Spinach,
Medania spinach has a sweet and earthy flavour and is a reliable cropper 


Growing Tips 

A fast-cropping winter green, spinach is ready to harvest about 10 to 12 weeks after sowing.
 
SOW SEEDS into beds 100mm apart for picking leaves regularly or 200mm apart to harvest mature plants. Keep the soil moist but not wet and don’t let plants dry out or they’ll bolt to seed. Sow seeds every six weeks for a constant supply, soaking them in cold water overnight to speed up germination.
 
HARVEST the outside leaves with a sharp knife when the plant has at least six leaves, each about 100mm long. If the plant looks like it is about to bolt, cut it at the base just below the soil surface and remove it.
 
WATCH FOR downy mildew during prolonged periods of damp. Remove the worst affected leaves and spray with a mixture of 100ml full cream milk, 900ml water and a pinch of bicarb soda.
 
Cucumber mosaic virus can be spread by aphids. Remove and burn stunted leaves with yellow mottling and spray aphids with white oil.
 
Pick off caterpillars by hand and destroy or sprinkle with derris dust.

Handyman Magazine, Garden, Growing Spinach, Spinach Seedling

 Spinach is ready to harvest 10 to 12 weeks after sowing 

 

Vote It Up: 

See also

How To Grow Kale
Known as a superfood and a nutritional powerhouse, kale is often referred to as the queen of greens. It deserves the...
How To Grow Organic Garlic
Garlic has a rich history of being used for its healing qualities. There is evidence to suggest it was given to the pyramid...
How To Grow An Avocado Tree From Seed
While avocados grow easily from seed, don’t expect any fruit for 7-15 years.  Even if you don’t get fruit, an avocado tree...
How To Grow Avocado

Learn how to grow this delicious fruit. Image: Alamy

Weight for weight, avocados contain more potassium than bananas and are also packed with vitamins, meaning they’re full of...
 Winter Crops To Plant In Autumn

It’s time to start growing delicious seasonal vegetables. Image: Alamy 

The cool autumn weather provides ideal working conditions for gardening.  The soil is still warm for planting and the time is...
6 Ways To Prepare Garden Beds For Winter Vegetables

Get the vegie patch ready for winter gardening 

Early autumn is the changeover time when it comes to growing vegetables, so it’s time to pick the last of the summer produce and...