Spinach Growing Guide

Spinach Growing Guide

Spinach doesn’t like to be surrounded by moisture, so make sure you grow your greens in a well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes

How to plant:

  • Propagate by seed
  • Germination temperature: 40 F to 75 F - May fail to germinate in warm soils.
  • Days to emergence: 6 to 10 - About 3 weeks at 50 F. About 5 days at 77 F, but germination drops to about 30 percent .
  • Seed can be saved 2 years.

Maintenance and care:

  • As soon as you can work the soil in spring, sow seed ½ inch deep, 1 inch apart in rows 12 to 18 inches apart (or broadcast seed across a wider area). Thin to 2- to 6-inch spacings. Closer spacings can stress plants and cause them to go to seed (bolt) sooner.
  • Early planting is critical as dry soil, heat and lengthening days also encourage bolting. Later plantings benefit from some light shade from other crops. Follow early plantings with warm-season crops such as tomatoes or beans.
  • Make succession plantings every week or two until average last frost date. Use bolt-resistant varieties for later plantings. Sow again in mid- to late summer for fall harvest. Seeds do not germinate well in warm soil, so increase seeding rate to compensate. Or pre-germinate seeds by placing them between sheets of moist paper towel in a plastic bag and refrigerating until they sprout.
  • Spinach seedlings are difficult to transplant. For spring crops, start inside only if your garden stays too wet in spring to allow direct seeding. Start transplants inside about 3 to 6 weeks before last frost.
  • Spinach is shallow-rooted and requires consistent moisture to prevent bolting. Water to keep soil moist. Mulch after plants are well established to maintain moisture and suppress weeks. Use floating row covers to prevent insect damage.
  • Do not overfertilize with nitrogen. Only apply supplemental fertilizer if leaves are pale green. Add lime to make sure pH is at least 6.0. You should suspect that your soil is too acid if germination is poor and leaf tips and margins are yellow or brown.
  • Plant in fall and mulch heavily for early spring crop.