Sunlight Requirements (where to plant related to sun)
- Full Sun
- Full Sun or Partially Shade
Soil Type (type of soil plant needs)
- Soil with Good Drainage
- Soil with Drainage but Wet
Climate Type (how tollerant is to frost?)
- No Frost Tolerant
Fragrant Plant (do flowers have an aroma?)
- No Fragrant Flowers
Difficulty Level (how hard is to cultivate this plant?)
Showing Season (which months can we sow seeds)
How to grow Spinach
Spinach is an easy to grow vegetable. Rich in nutrients and iron. It can be cooked in many different ways.
Other names for spinach
Latin name: Spinacia oleraceae
Greek name: Σπανάκι (single), Σπανάκια (plural)
Tips for growing spinach
Start spinach from seeds
Start spinach by sowing the seeds directly into the garden soil. Spinach loves cool weather. Ideal soil temperatures are 7 to 20 degrees Celsius.
You can sow them in two ways.
Orderly arranged in rows. In each pit, put 3 to 4 seeds. The sowing depth should be about one centimeter. Each pit should be 10 to 15 cm apart. Each row should be 30 to 40 cm apart.
Disorderly. In the garden area you have chosen, drop the seed by hand. With a rake, stir the soil to cover the seeds with soil. When the seeds begin to germinate, thin the plants.
Depending on the variety and soil temperature, the seeds will germinate in 6 to 21 days.
Best soil for spinach
Spinach needs soil rich in nutrients. The ideal pH is between 6.2 and 6.9.
Make sure, especially in the beginning, that you water it regularly. The soil should drain well and not retain water.
PALIOS (old guy) notes on spinach in Greece
I am quoting here PALIOS’ post about home grown spinach in Greece.
Basically, there are two varieties of spinach grown in Greece.
The broad-leaved – spreading – short spinach and the thorny – prickly spinach. In professional cultivation, some hybrids may be used, such as a variety referred to as ‘yew spinach’!
I will not discuss the latter since the conditions for successful cultivation are rather beyond the usual practices of home cultivation.
Of the first two:
The broad-leaved spinach is the one which is generally marketed. The leaf is usually the most common type of spinach grown in the market. It grows low, and when fully grown it does not rise much above the ground. It is much more productive (compared to the clover), is more nutritious, has the ability to draw more water (especially if it is greased), but even the spinach pie you bake (spanakopita) can draw a lot of water! It is the commercial variety, but for housewives who know the alternative well, “it is heavier on the stomach”! The seed is round and smooth.
The thorny spinach comes from a spiny seed, like a thorn. Although this seed is commercially available (in Athens, Greece it is also referred to as Megareitiko (from Megara)), you will rarely find it sprouting in grocery stores or in farmers’ markets.
Its leaf is smaller than the broadleaf, scissor-shaped, with bays and lobes, narrower, pointed and thinner. At first, in its early stage, it spreads out on the ground, but then, in the course of its long growth, it rises high above the ground, developing as a branch, which may (in the development of its flower) exceed one meter, but is usually half a meter long.
Of these plants, in the season before flowering, some develop into ‘males’, flowering first and completing their cycle earlier, and others as ‘females’, more lively and with a longer life, which will feed their spiny seed.
There are two variations of the thorn: One, (the Megareitiko – from Megara), has a light-coloured trunk, stems and spines, in contrast to the other which has reddish stems and spines.
The main disadvantage of the clover spinach (compared to the broad-leaved spinach) is that it is not ‘commercial’. It is less ‘productive’, less productive in terms of leaf volume and, above all, much lighter in weight and stomach.
The advantages of thorns are: From a certain point of growth onwards, only its leaves, or branches, can be germinated and what remains can be thrown away. If, however, it is fooled by the warm autumn weather and lack of sufficient moisture and sheds its branches early, it tends to flower quickly.
It is much more hardy and hardy than the broadleaf. It can even grow on its own, from seeds sown in summer in uncultivated, but clean, soil. Its growth, however, requires (apart from sufficient moisture), freedom from weeds, i.e. weeding. It should be noted that because it does not have large, broad leaves to pin down the adjacent weeds, it is more easily choked by them.
Sowing – Cultivation
In order to understand and choose the time of sowing, it is necessary to know its weaknesses:
Spinach is essentially a hydrophilic plant, especially in its early stages. If it does not have sufficient and constant moisture from sowing to its growth like a palm, then much can be lost.
The second is that spinach needs relatively warm weather to germinate and grow quickly, not cold, but even then it remains susceptible to ice.
The consequences of these weaknesses for the grower’s orientation:
If it is sown early in hot weather and falls deeply, or if it does not have sufficient moisture, the growing grasses will choke it first.
If you sow it later with existing rains and moisture, it may take longer to germinate due to the cold and then grow longer, so again the issue of weeds arises.
Please note, however, that in cold weather, even if it is slow to develop, spinach, like all plants, takes root better. Also, in frost, the grasses are protective for spinach.
An old peasant recipe for weeds used to say: “water and plough the field with the moon in front of Leo. Whatever is to grow will grow. Till it again with the moon in Capricorn. The weeds will be destroyed, (at least they will be long delayed in coming up again), and sow your field.”
If you do not observe these days, at least work it twice.
In too much rain and in cold weather, spinach will turn yellow and rot the lower leaves. But its roots (if not burnt by the ice!) will work to spring up in the heat (and here, too, if not choked by the grasses!).
The villagers usually sow spinach in late September – early October, but always on the basis of: “when the weather cools down to allow for some growth”.
When sowing, the seed should not be sown deep at all, but just covered.
Watch out for the bumblebees, they’ll pick up all the seed that’s exposed!
It needs regular watering until it germinates, so it doesn’t dry out.
Spinach may grow best in a light soil, well worked with manure, but my estimate is that the most stable and effective for its growth is heavy soil, that which retains moisture. Also, spinach needs to be aerated (and not deeply turned, like tomatoes or watermelon). In the drained place, if the digested manure does not prevail, it will germinate and become better for panting, but it will not be able to cope with the ice, so it will not grow significantly further.
My personal experience of the success of sowing, germinating a large proportion and growing quickly, is rather confused. Perhaps this is due to, or aggravated by, the large fluctuations and the possibility of constant – sufficient moisture. But, I think the problem is more extensive.
Sometimes success is great, the expected. At other times, either only a small percentage germinates, and/or the one that did germinate is stunted. Other times it may have fallen deeper and not germinated, and other times it may have been superficially affected by rainwater, while what was carried away by water and soil … germinates … I have not come to any conclusions about the factors involved.
All I have found is that when sown early, with a margin of warm weather, and as long as it does not lack moisture (as long as it is spared from ants), it does well. Also, in most cases where I have scattered the seed (the thorny one) from the summer and watered it well in September, (or, when well wet), it germinates and grows better, as long as it is thinner and weeded. What I have not tried is what I do for myroni. I dig up (dry) the place, burn a lot of foliage, vines, …, sow it in the ashes and water it. I don’t know.
Plants intended for seed should be thinned out, not shut in by (deep-rooted) weeds, keep some grasses (with shallow roots) to keep them cool, and whatever watering you do, do it very early, before the flower develops. Also bear in mind that their seed is easily shaken, so that you can pick it up when it has died, but not so that it can become a toadstool.
Lubrication: If the soil is rich in digested manure, no fertilizer is needed. Nor if it’s unplanted and you’re not in a hurry. However, my estimate is that spinach is very much favored by fertilizations.
Eating: in various combinations, or ways, but I would say, as the most distinguished, raw salad with balsamic vinegar and stew with cuttlefish, for the gourmets.