When to plant spinach

If you live in a milder climate (little or no snow in winter) you can probably plant your spinach almost all year round. However, spinach actually does best in cool weather. Hot dry conditions can cause it to go to seed. Use the following advice as a guide, working out what works best in your area.

  • In warmer climates get your spinach established in late summer or Autumn. It should provide you with a supply of fresh leaves right through into spring. You may be able to grow spinach in summer but you are likely to find it goes to seed too quickly.
  • In colder climates your spinach may grow best if planted in spring for a summer crop. You could probably also plant an autumn crop. Mulch with straw or hay before it starts to snow in winter and your spinach may over winter well enough for you to continue harvesting a limited supply until spring.

How to grow spinach

Spinach is an annual, which means it needs to be replanted at least once a year (usually more often for a continuous supply).

Prepare the soil, incorporating plenty of organic matter. Be careful though as too much fertilizer or manure can lead to an abundance of poorer-quality leafy growth.

You can start your spinach plants in trays or containers indoors and then plant out when conditions are right. Make sure you plant out within 2-3 weeks as spinach grows quickly and will out grow its pots fast.

Alternatively plant directly into the soil if temperatures are comfortably above freezing. Make sure the seed bed doesn't dry out.

Harvesting spinach

Spinach grows quickly, and in good conditions will be ready to begin harvesting within 4-6 weeks.

The leaves and stems are edible, but usually only the tender leaves are used. Harvest young leaves for salads and use larger leaves in cooking.

Only pick up to half the leaves at a time, and the plant should continually replace them. This will give you an ongoing supply of leaves over the life of the plant.

A plant can live for several months under the right conditions.

Wash your spinach well in cold water before using as soil and bugs can cling to the leaves.