Vegetable Overview: Spinach


Discover how to grow Spinach with instructions on starting seed, transplanting, site selection, care and maintenance, water and fertilization requirements, pests and disease, and harvesting and storage.

Spinach Stats at a Glance

Soil Conditions:  Well-drained, fertile soil

Sun: Full sun/partial shade

Soil pH Conditions: 6.5-7.5

Planting Instructions

Can I Start Spinach from Seed?

Spinach does not transplant well and is most commonly seeded directly into the garden.  Sow the seeds as soon as the soil can be worked in rows that are 18” apart.  Thin the seedlings to 3-6”.

The length of time it takes the seeds to germinate will depend on the temperature of the soil.  The cooler the soil the longer the seeds will take to germinate, but the emergence rate will be higher.


When to Start Seeds: As soon as the soil can be worked in the spring.
Time to Germination: 6-10 days
Optimal Temp. for Germination: 50-60°F


When Do I Plant Spinach?

Spinach does not tolerate warm weather and must be grown and harvested when temperatures are cool.  Warm temperatures cause the plant to bolt.

Sow seeds as soon as the soil can be worked after the last frost. Seeds will germinate in soil that has reached at least 40°F.  Optimal soil temperature for successful seed germination is 50-60°F. Will germinate in temperatures up to 75°F but germination success rate drops dramatically as the soil temperature warms.  If you are planting in warmer soil, you can compensate by sowing additional seed.

You can sow additional seeds in the late summer for a fall harvest.  Seed germination success rate will be lower.

Soil Temperature: 50-60°F


Where Do I Plant Spinach?

Tomato plants perform best in loamy, well-drained soil high in organic matter but will grow in nearly any good garden soil that receives full sun and is well-drained. Spinach does not tolerate acidic soil.  Soil pH should be at least 6.0 but will perform better in soil that is 6.5-7.5. If acidic soils are not properly amended, spinach plants will realize very slow growth, browning of the roots, and yellowing or browning of the tips of the leaves.

Incorporating several inches of organic matter into the soil when preparing the bed will improve growth and development.

Spinach requires plenty of room to expand its deep tap root.  Prepare the bed at least 8-10” deep prior to planting.

Soil Type: Well-drained
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Soil pH: 6.5-7.5


How Far Apart Do I Plant Spinach?

Broadcast seeds one inch deep in rows that are 18” apart.  Thin plants to 3-6”.

Spinach Plant Care and Maintenance

How Often Should I Water Spinach?

The key to watering Spinach is to maintain a consistent moisture level.  This is especially important during development and as the season begins to warm. The soil should be moist to a depth of 6”.  Allowing the soil to dry out between watering will result in the plant prematurely going to seed.

Water the soil around the plant. Overhead watering will encourage disease.  Drip irrigation is best.

Mulch around the plant will help to lock in moisture.


Should I Fertilize Spinach?

Fertilizing decisions should be based on a soil test.  If a soil test cannot be obtained, Spinach generally performs well with a 10-10-10 fertilizer worked into the soil prior to planting.  Do not fertilize again unless the leaves are pale.

Fertilize the soil around the plant at least 6” from the plant base.

If your plants are stunted and you note dark roots and flattened yellow leaves, the plant is likely Boron deficient and may require supplementation.


Additional Care Instructions

Hand pull weeds that development in the garden as more aggressive cultivation could harm the plant roots.

At the end of the season, remove all spent plants from the garden to discourage mildew.

Spinach Diseases

The most common diseases associated with this plant include bacterial soft rot, Cercospora spot, cucumber mosaic virus, fusarium wilt, Heterosporium, and white rust.

Spinach Pests

The most common pests associated with this plant include leafminers, spinach aphids.

Harvesting and Storing Spinach

When Do I Harvest Spinach?

Spinach needs to be harvested prior to the development of seed-stalks.  They can be harvested at any time after they reach desirable size usually 6-8”.


How Do I Harvest Spinach?

You can individual spinach leaves as needed.  Harvest spinach in a bunch with a sterile knife or scissors below the crown.


How Do I Store Spinach?

Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to one week.

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