To start, it is helpful to understand which companions are beneficial for your spinach plants and those to avoid.
Spinach is an easy vegetable to grow. Moreover, companion planting with other crops can boost its growth.
This technique can help keep away certain pests and encourage beneficial insects.
Good Companion Plants for Spinach
Here’s what to plant with spinach:
- Bok Choy
- Swiss Chard
What Not to Plant With Spinach
How to Grow Spinach
There are different types of spinach. All types can be grown outdoors and in pots on the patio or in the vegetable garden.
You can also set them among other vegetables in a raised bed. Overall, spinach is easy to grow. Moreover, you can harvest in 40 to 60 days from sowing.
When to Plant
Late winter or early spring is the best time to plant spinach to get a quick crop. Then again after the hottest temperatures are over, in late summer or early fall.
Some experts recommend sowing those 4-6 weeks before the last frosts in spring and again in fall 6-8 weeks before the first frosts.
Growing From Seed
Spinach needs ample supplies of calcium and magnesium to thrive, as well as cool temperatures and fertile soil.
It also needs nitrogen for darker leaves. And ensure there aren’t any weeds taking away its nutrients.
Prepare a fertile, well-drained spot in the vegetable patch. Next, loosen the soil to about a foot deep to allow for the mature plant’s long taproot. Afterward, add some compost to enrich the soil.
Finally, plant seeds about 1/12 to 2 inches deep and cover over lightly with another half-inch of soil. Keep rows 12-14 inches apart.
Spinach likes a lot of sunlight but will also tolerate partial shade. However, keep the soil moist and avoid very hot areas where the crop can bolt in high temperatures.
Use covers to provide some shade if necessary on really hot days or try out summer varieties like Malabar or New Zealand spinach .
Pots, Containers, and Raised Beds
You can grow spinach successfully in pots on a sunny windowsill. Growing spinach in this way gives the opportunity to provide the best soil and create good drainage for the plants to thrive.
Incorporate plenty of organic material into the potting soil to provide a good base for drainage.
Plant the seeds in much the same way as in the vegetable plot. So, keep some spaces and plant them 1/12 to 2 inches deep with a light covering of topsoil.
Additionally, keep them watered but avoid waterlogging. Avoid strong sunlight but put/move into position to get some hours of moderate sunlight daily.
Fertilize frequently with a suitable organic fertilizer. Place in full sun in the cold months or partial shade in the warm season.
Care and Maintenance
Additionally, a light mulch is beneficial in keeping weeds down. Straw, peat moss, dried leaves, or grass clippings are ideal.
Thin the leaves once the seedlings have sprouted to 2 inches. Overcrowding can sap the strength of the growing plants. Thinning to about 4 to 6 inches apart will encourage the saplings to thrive.
Furthermore, ensure the crop is kept moist and watered well in warm weather.
Pests and Diseases
As with all crops, diseases and pests can ruin a good harvest. Therefore, consider encouraging beneficial insects in the garden.
Also, some trap crops like radishes lure away leaf miners, plus there are many other natural means of controlling plant pests.
Cutworms, wireworms, slugs and snails, and flea beetles are other garden pests that affect spinach.
Downy mildew and most other plant diseases are best dealt with by simply removing the infected plant parts or plants.
Young and tender spinach leaves are sweeter and have a more delicate taste. Larger leaves can be very tasty and useful in full-flavored dishes like soups and stews. However, they can get bitter if left too long before harvesting.
Spinach is a quick-growing vegetable and harvesting can begin 6-8 weeks after planting. Moreover, you can cut the whole plant or individual leaves.
Pick outside leaves when ready and leave the inner to mature so the plant continues to grow.
For a whole plant, cut from the base. The young tender leaves are known as ‘baby spinach’ and are popularly used in salads and light dishes. However, harvest the entire plant before it gets close to the end of the season.
There are so many ways you can use spinach. The bright green color, tasty leaves, and nutritious value make this a satisfying vegetable to grow at home. Moreover, companion planting spinach with other crops can make for a more bountiful harvest.