4 Benefits of Growing Spinach in Your Home Garden - Backyard Boss
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4 Benefits of Growing Spinach in Your Home Garden

Spinach, it’s the leafy green that gives the famous character Popeye his strength, and the one mentioned in every health-focused conversation. But is spinach actually worth growing yourself?

When it comes to picking vegetables that thrive in the garden, spinach is an excellent choice. It is easily attainable and a vegetable that beginner gardeners can succeed at. Growing your own spinach is a great way to produce your own food and offer your home plenty of benefits!

Wondering if you should plant this superfood? Discover these amazing benefits of growing spinach in your own home garden, and why you should plant it as soon as possible!

Health benefits

Bowl of salad with spinach and other healthy ingredients
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When it comes to eating healthy, spinach is one of the vegetables commonly suggested to put on your plate. This leafy green is packed full of nutrients like Vitamin K, C, E, and A. Spinach also contains iron, calcium, and magnesium!

What makes home grown spinach so appealing is having fresh and flavorful leaves at your disposal! Such easy access offers some amazing health benefits too. Spinach has the necessary components to improve the health of bones, eyes, hair, skin, and boost your immune system.

Not sure how to use your spinach? Throw some spinach into your smoothie, cook it up with your pasta, or make a salad. Whichever way you prefer to get your vitamins and nutrients, your own spinach garden will provide all you need!

Low-Maintenance Crop  

Garden sign that says spinach
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When it comes to growing spinach, it is not a crop that demands much from the gardener.

Spinach is grown both from seed and an established plant, and it isn’t overly picky with where it is grown. But, to ensure ultimate success of your spinach garden, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

First of all, spinach likes plenty of sun, yet it will also grow in areas with partial shade. As a full-sun plant, a sunny spot in the garden is ideal. However, in the hottest parts of the year when temperatures are high, this will cause your spinach to bolt. Direct sunlight will have the same effect. Bolting spinach is bitter to taste and not the best for cooking with.

Next, consider the soil! When planting, use soil that is well-draining and with a pH between 6.5 and 6.8. Raised garden beds are one method to ensure better drainage. It is also advantageous to add plenty of nutrients, like your own compost, to enrich the soil before planting.

Finally, water your plants regularly to ensure the soil stays moist, about one inch of water every week is optimal. If the soil gets too dry, it results in early bolting. Once you prep, plant, and water your garden, the seeds will germinate in eight to 10 days. Now all you have to do is decide how much spinach to harvest!

Pro Tip: To help your greens from common issues likes pests and disease, grow companion plants. These plants offer protection and benefits from their close proximity. For spinach, some helpful companion options are leeks, strawberries, and beans.

Versatile Planting

Close up image of spinach growing in a home garden next to other vegetables
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If you prefer to grow plants that produce at various times throughout the year, spinach fits the bill.

Plant spinach in early spring alongside other favorite early season vegetables or later in fall to have a winter harvest. But before you start planting, always consider the variety of spinach that you plant. Certain spinach varieties are hardier for the cold of winter, while others are more tolerable of the heat in summer. Whether you plan to sow in spring or fall, always ensure there are about six weeks of colder temperatures.

Spring Planting

When it comes to planting spinach in the spring, the time to sow the seeds will vary depending upon the region. For many, when the soil is loose enough to be worked (with soil temperatures at about 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit), spring planting may begin. This is roughly six weeks before the final frost to ensure that the spinach plant has access to cold temperatures.

Spring planting is possible as early as February for some. However, if living in a colder climate, use crop coverings like garden fleece to protect the plants. The most common planting dates for a summer harvest is between the months of March and May.

For those living in warmer climates, sow spinach that tolerates higher temperatures. It is key to plant a variety that handles the heat, as bolting occurs faster for other varieties if the weather is too hot. Some varieties to grow in summer and warmer climates include ‘Malabar,’ ‘New Zealand,’ and ‘Escalade’ spinach.

Fall Planting

In order to gather a winter harvest, the best time to plant cold hardy varieties is about six weeks before the first frost. This is usually in middle of fall (late August or September), and ensures that the soil is not too warm. To achieve success, aim for a soil temperature that is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If planting spinach in a warmer climate where summer heat extends beyond August and September, monitor the soil temperatures before sowing. Do this with the use of a soil thermometer! If you plant your spinach and there are unexpected temperature increases, use sunshade covers to protect your spinach from the heat.

For those living in cooler climates, it is best to seek out cold hardy varieties. These are types of spinach that do not succeed as much in the extreme sunlight and prefer the lower temperatures. Winter varieties are sometimes harvestable until as late as February. Some examples include ‘Medania,’ ‘Giant Winter,’ and ‘Auroch’ spinach varieties.

Harvest When Ready

Person harvesting spinach crop from garden
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Unlike some vegetables where you have to wait weeks to harvest, once spinach begins developing, it is ready to eat! Spinach is ready for harvest as early as five to six weeks, though may require longer for some regions.

Similar to other leafy plants grown in the garden, harvesting is an ongoing process. Early harvesting involves taking the smaller leaves, or baby spinach, from the plant. Baby spinach has a mild flavor in comparison to larger spinach leaves. Want a bigger bite? If you want the larger leaves, simply let the plant continue to grow to allow the leaves to mature.

When harvesting, pick the leaves from the outside first to allow the central ones to continue to flourish. Stagger out your harvest and take from multiple plants to allow time for additional production. Want a harvest that goes on throughout the seasons? Sow a variety of spinach plants that coincide with the correct season!

Pro Tip: Prevent your spinach from bolting in times of warmer temperatures by harvesting more often.

Benefits You Won’t ‘Be-Leaf’

When it comes to getting the most out of your garden, spinach has much to offer. Not only is it an easy plant to grow with the right care, it also has many benefits.

Grow spinach in the garden to access fresh ingredients throughout the year and celebrate the benefits it gives your body. Allocate a spot in your garden beds for this leafy green and find the variety that matches your climate. Then, give it the basic TLC over time, and you won’t ‘be-leaf’ how easy it was to do!

Are you planning out your garden for spring? Comment below with your favorite fruits and vegetables to plant in addition to spinach!