Spinach is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can eat. It is loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals that all doctors and nutritionists would recommend. So why not add this healthy tasty treat to your home vegetable garden? Besides its health benefits, spinach is easy to grow from seed and in many areas of the world and you can get many harvests from the same plant as well as planting during the spring and winter months.
As long as temperatures are cool to moderate, you will be able to grow spinach. Don’t fear if you live in climates where it gets very cold, you can always add in a cold frame to protect your plants from the frigid winds. However if it gets too hot, 85 degrees or above, you are going to have issues with keeping the plants going if the temperatures remain at that level.
Make sure you pick a spot where it gets at least 5 hours of sunlight daily. More would be better, but many varieties tolerate light shade as well, which makes spinach a perfect fall crop when the days are shorter.
Plant your spinach seeds no deeper than a half inch. Any deeper and they may have trouble during the germination process. Plant multiple seeds together, then once they germinate thin out the plants to one plant per every six inches. If you find that you germinated more then your space allows, be sure to toss the extras into your next salad. They taste great!
When the outer leaves on your spinach plants reach six to eight inches in length they are ready to harvest. Simply cut them off with a sharp pair of scissors. Do not pull out the entire plant as it will keep producing as long as you only harvest the leaves. This allows those with limited space to yield plenty of spinach from just a few plants.
Expect your spinach plants, when you grow them directly from seed to take anywhere from 45 to 70 days to fully mature. Sometimes sooner under optimal conditions.
Spinach is a great source of calcium, iron, vitamins A, B and Niacin. If you were looking to get more of these nutrients into your healthy eating plan, be sure to grow some spinach from seeds right in your backyard.
On a final note. If you do not have a compost pile, be sure you start one right away. The amount of nutrients you can add back into your soil with home made compost, is amazing.
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us. Be sure to join Mike`s vegetable seeds mailing list
Photo. Aswini Kumar P