An easy vegetable to grow, spinach is rich in many nutrients. Moreover, companion planting with other crops can boost its growth.
Good spinach companions can help combat insect pests and encourage beneficial insects. On the other hand, bad companion plants are just that – they do not thrive well next to each other.
To start, it’s helpful to understand which companion plants are beneficial and those that are best avoided.
What to Plant With Spinach
Below are some examples of plants that grow well with spinach.
- Runner Beans
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
What Not to Plant With Spinach
These are bad spinach companion plants:
How to Grow Spinach
There are different types of spinach, a variety of culinary uses, and more than one way to grow the plants.
All types can be grown indoors or outdoors in pots on the patio or in the vegetable garden. Baby spinach (small leaves) is ideal for small pots.
You can also set them among other vegetables in a raised bed. Overall, spinach is easy to grow. Harvest in as little as 6-8 weeks from sowing.
When to Plant
There are summer and winter cultivars of spinach. Therefore, two-season plantings can provide the kitchen with this vegetable all year round.
‘Cut and come again’ will give delicious leaves for salads, pasta, casseroles, and soups and help the crop to continue thriving.
Spinach is a cool climate plant so sow seeds in autumn and winter. However, you can plant the “slow bolt” heat-resistant varieties  in warmer climates. Some experts recommend sowing those 4-6 weeks before the last frosts in spring and again 6-8 weeks before the first frosts of fall.
Winter crops require a sunny position but summer crops can do well in atrial shade.
Growing From Seed
This bright green nutritious vegetable needs ample supplies of calcium and magnesium to thrive and cool temperature.
Spinach plants will also need nitrogen for darker leaves and fertile soil. Therefore, ensure there aren’t any weeds or crops sapping the nutrients.
Firstly, prepare a fertile, well-drained spot in the vegetable patch. Loosen the soil to about a foot deep to allow for the taproot. Next, add some good compost to enrich the soil.
Finally, plant seeds directly in the ground as spinach does not transplant easily. Plant them 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. However, avoid very hot areas where the crop can bolt in high temperatures and keep the soil moist.
Use covers to provide some shade if necessary on really hot days or try out hot-weather varieties like Malabar or New Zealand spinach .
Pots, Containers, and Raised Beds
Spinach can be raised 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. Therefore, keep some spaces and plant them 1/12 to 2 inches deep with a light covering of topsoil.
Additionally, keep 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 product. Place in full sun in the cold months or partial shade in the warm season.
Care and Maintenance
Some general organic fertilizer in the soil before planting helps increase vigorous growth.
Also, spinach does best in soil having a pH of 6.5 to 8 . Therefore, keep testing and amend the soil with garden lime if needed. Plus, enrich the soil every 3-4 weeks with good water-soluble plant food.
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 water 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.
Moreover, some trap crops like radishes lure away leaf miners and there are many other natural means of controlling insect pests.
Cutworms, wireworms, slugs and snails, and flea beetles are other insect pests that affect spinach.
Downy mildew and fungus plant diseases are best dealt with by simply removing the infected leaves or plants. Preparing and maintaining healthy crops is the basis for combatting these problems.
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 the leaves grow too big and get bitter.
There are so many ways you can use spinach. The bright green color, tasty leaves, and nutritious value make this an easy and satisfying vegetable to grow at home. Moreover, companion planting spinach with other crops can make for a more bountiful harvest.