Growing Tips: Spinach

Quick Reference:

Plant seed 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep. Germination 7 to 14 days. Seed spacing 1 to 2 inches apart. Space between plant in the garden, 6 inches. Shallow planting provides warmer soil for improved germination but soil MUST be kept moist at all times until plants emerge.

When and where to plant:

Spinach is a cold-hardy, short-day plant that is very sensitive to day length and bolts, goes to seed prematurely, when grown during the longest part of the summer in Alaska. To reduce bolting, spinach must be planted as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring to take advantage of the shorter days of early spring. To produce fresh spinach over a long season plant a second crop the middle of July when the days are starting to get shorter again. Plant only as much as can be harvested in a 3 to 5 day period. Choose a sunny location, spinach prefers a sandy or sandy loam soil with a pH that is near neutral, cultivate and enrich soil with plant food before each planting. Smooth the soil surface, plant seed, firm soil over seed and keep soil moist until seedlings emerge.

Care:

Thin seedlings so the plants are 3 inches apart, and as they start to grow together again thin so they are 6 inches apart, avoid crowding plants to help slow them from going to seed. When the plant leaves reach baby green size harvest every other plant. Use the tender baby leaves from the plants removed for both greens and a salad. Water regularly and apply plant food two weeks after the plants are up to promote rapid growth for best quality.

Harvest:

Because the harvest season is short begin cutting the entire plants as soon as the leaves are large enough to use. Start harvesting spinach when the the leaves reach baby green size. Spinach holds better in the refrigerator than in the garden.