Growing Several Spinach Crops a Year Successfully

Spinach is an extremely fast growing and easy crop for early, cool spring weather.

It can be one of your first home-grown greens to lead off salad season.

Germinates Cold

The nice thing about this vegetable is the seed germinates better in cold ground (it prefers soil temperatures of 40F over the high temperatures of later in the spring or summer) Later sowings will sprout faster but with a reduced germination rate. This means you'll get the seedlings earlier but fewer of them for the amount of seed you sow.

Generally as soon as you can walk on your garden soil, you can plant seed. Figure early April in USDA zone 4 – or as soon as the frost is out of it. Sow a short row every week until the middle of June for a reliable supply. Don't bother sowing after that or when the weather gets really warm as it doesn't stay in "leaf" form but bolts up into flower and produces unusable leaves. Whether it is the warm temperatures or the long days with increasing sunlight, this vegetable doesn't do well in the heat.

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Spinach 'Bloomsdale' Snip the blooms off with your fingers to prolong leaf production (you can the flower just starting on this plant)

Planting Spinach

Sow your seed one half inch deep and about two seeds to the inch. You're going to want to thin plants so the mature plants are eight inches apart. or just touching leaves.

Remember you're not going to let them get fully mature so while a mature plant will get larger than this, by the time it is ready to do so, you're already moving onto other greens and pulling these spinach plants out).

Keep harvesting and using the thinnings as you thin plants to the eight inch spacing.

After that, harvest as many of the outer leaves as you need. If you've sown too many plants for use, harvest the entire plant and use those very tender inner leaves.

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You can resow again in early September for later crops and you'll find spinach to be reasonably frost hardy giving you fresh greens right up until a very hard freeze. You'll find you get a first harvest about 45 days after sowing.

Not too many pests bother spinach although you may find a few aphids trying to hitch a ride. A quick jet of water takes care of this problem.

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