Winter is best time to grow spinach

Rene' Schmit
February 03, 2011 at 9:20 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

County Agent, LSU AgCenter

Research has shown that spinach is among the world’s healthiest vegetables.  It is a good source of vitamin A and is packed with protein, calcium and iron.

Spinach is in the beet and chard family.  It needs cool weather to grow and planting spinach in February and March will allow for a strong leafy production to occur well before the arrival of summer heat.

Proper fertilization is important to achieving a quick and healthy start and would involve incorporating 4 pounds of an 8-24-24 or an 8-8-8 fertilizer per 100-foot row.  After 3 or 4 weeks of growth, side dress with ammonium nitrate applying 3/4 to 1 pound per 100 foot row or applying 1 tablespoon per plant.

Prior to planting spinach seeds, soak the seeds for several hours or overnight.  Plant at a 1/4 inch depth and wait 1 to 1 1/2 weeks for the seeds to germinate.  Days to harvest is generally within 4 to 6 weeks.

There are several varieties of spinach to choose from.  There are smooth leaved type, savoyed (or crinkled) and in-betweens called semi-savoyed. Spinach leaves can be harvested from the same plant multiple times.  To accomplish a continued harvest, cut individual leaves starting with the older, outer leaves and letting the young inner leaves remain to grow for a later harvest.  For a larger harvest, cut all the leaves about an inch above the crown or base of the plant.  This will stimulate a new flush of leaves to develop for harvesting in 2 to 3 weeks.

If space is tight, consider growing spinach in containers.  Even a relatively small 10"-12" pot or container will do.  Plant as you would in the garden but be prepared to water more frequently.

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