We've said it time and again, there is absolutely no need for a large yard to build a garden. Growing different types of vegetables will only require a small space. If you’d like to start your own vegetable garden but you are unsure what vegetables to grow, you cannot go wrong with spinach. Spinach is loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants. This is the perfect crop to grow if you’d like to try growing your own food. This vegetable is high in vitamin A and C, which minimizes the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. What's more, spinach is a versatile vegetable; it can be prepared in many ways.
When it comes to growing spinach, this crop is easy to sow and fast to mature. You don’t have to wait too long before harvesting spinach. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor within a few short weeks! Best of all, spinach does not grow too big. It will thrive in a pot, which is perfect if you are short on garden space. Below is a step by step guide on how to plant spinach in pots:
Growing Spinach from Seeds
There are two ways to grow spinach, you can sow the seeds or regrow the crop from roots. If you are growing the spinach from seeds, you can either plant the seeds directly into the pot or use a seed tray first. Choose a wide-mouthed pot that is about 6 to 8 inches deep. You can also use a garden box, wooden box, even a crate as a planter for the spinach.
Sow the seeds in ½-inch deep soil. After planting the seeds, they should germinate within 5 to 14 days. However, the time it takes to germinate the spinach seeds will depend on the growing conditions and the variety of the crop.
If you are using a seed tray, you have to wait until 2 to 3 days until the crop’s true leaves grow. Once the true leaves have grown, the spinach is ready for transplanting. Spinach loves bright light although it will do well in partial shade too. To avoid burning, protect the spinach from the afternoon sun.
We recommend growing spinach from seeds early in the summer season because it is a fast-growing plant. This way, you can simply re-plant the spinach seedlings with the rest of your heat-loving hardy crops. Spinach will grow in different types of soil but it prefers moist, well-draining loamy soil that’s enriched with organic compost.
Spinach in Pots: Caring and Growing Tips
Spacing the crops is important because you want to give the spinach enough room to grow. Since the spinach has larger leaves, you want to give each plant about 3 to 5 inches of space in between. Of course, you can leave a smaller space if you prefer to harvest the spinach at a young age. If you are planning on an early harvest, you can go ahead and plant the spinach along with other vegetables in a single planter. Spinach will not require much room to grow.
If you planted spinach in the autumn season, you want to set the plant in a sunny spot. In mild climates, the days are shorter and the sunlight is less intense so the bright light won’t burn the spinach. On the other hand, if you planted the spinach in the spring or summer season, you want to set the plant in a partially shady spot.
Since the spinach is planted in a pot, you can move the vegetable around easily. You can also set the potted spinach in a sunny spot in the mornings and then set it in a shady spot during the afternoons. In a subtropical or tropical climate, place the potted spinach in a semi-shady spot.
Enriching the soil with organic compost is equally important when growing spinach. The texture of the soil should remain loamy and crumbly. Spinach hates dense soil that is waterlogged so use well-draining soil for optimal growth. Keep the soil moist, never wet. To maintain the soil’s moistness and protect the spinach from excessive heat, add mulching. This goes even for spinach that’s grown in pots. Use organic matter for the mulch.
When it comes to watering potted spinach, do not wet the leaves. Water only the soil because wetting the foliage could cause rot or fungal disease to set in. Make sure the planters you are using drain water well because spinach hates standing water. Water the spinach regularly using the light shower setting. This goes especially for newly planted seedlings or seeds, a strong setting could wash the planted seeds away.
Generally, spinach seeds germinate in temperatures below 40 Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius. This vegetable will also germinate in high temperatures but excessive heat could lead to burning. The ideal soil temperature to germinate spinach seeds is between 50 to 80 Fahrenheit or 10 to 27 Celsius.
Spinach is surprisingly resilient, it can withstand frost. Mature spinach leaves will not freeze until the temperature drops to 20 Fahrenheit. If the temperature reaches beyond 80 Fahrenheit, spinach will need protection from the heat. You can also add mulch to bring the soil temperature down during the summer season.
Ideal Soil pH
The pH of the soil should be neutral or from 6 to 7. If the soil pH is below 6, the spinach leaves will wilt and turn yellow. A soil pH that’s above 7.5 may lead to slow growth.
Growing spinach loves nitrogen so enrich your soil with this nutrient before sowing the seeds. Just mix organic compost or well-rotted manure with the potting soil. You can also use time-based fertilizer or liquid fertilizer; just make sure the nutrient is released slowly into the soil. In the middle of the spinach’s growth, enrich your soil with fish emulsion, cottonseed meal, organic compost, or manure tea.
If you’re using time-based or liquid fertilizer, add the fertilizer at regular intervals to ensure steady growth. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the spinach then work the fertilizer gently into the soil. Do this carefully because spinach has shallow roots. Disturbing the soil may cause damage to the delicate root system that could lead to die-offs.
Harvesting Spinach in Pots
37 to 50 days after germination, the spinach is ready for harvest. Generally, as long as the spinach has grown at least 4 inches in height and have at least 6 healthy leaves, you can start harvesting. You can harvest the leaves using a pair of scissors. Cut the outer leaves first and leave the new inner leaves alone to grow some more. You can also cut the whole plant from the base. The plant will re-grow again.
You want to start harvesting the spinach leaves before the plant starts growing flowers or the leaves will become too bitter to be eaten. Flowers are likely to sprout when the weather is hot and humid. The spinach plant will develop an erect stem that sprouts yellow or green flowers. As the spinach grows flowers, the leaves will thicken and it will develop a bitter taste. This is called bolting.
As you can see, growing spinach in pots is surprisingly easy. But to enjoy a bountiful yield, keep all the gardening tips we’ve outlined above in mind. For more gardening tips and resources, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter!