Introduction to growing organic Spinach at Home
Spinach is one of the first short-season, cold-tolerant salad greens to show in the home vegetable garden. It is an easy to grow green leafy vegetable which is rich in nutrients. It does not need much space and extra care to grow. Growing Spinach organically in the home garden can be a good way of enjoying this great vegetable. Spinach is a cold-hardy vegetable and it is mainly grown for its tender green leaves. If you are a beginner home gardener and prefer home vegetable gardening, growing Spinach organically is a great addition. In this article we also discuss below topics;
- Tips for growing Spinach plants
- Growing Spinach plant problems
- How do you grow Spinach indoors
- How long does Spinach take to grow
- Spinach indoor care
- Why has my Spinach stopped growing
- Spinach Growing Cycle
- Does Spinach grow better in the sun or shade
- Is Spinach easy to grow
- Growing organic Spinach in water
- Why is my Spinach not growing
- Organic fertilizer for Spinach
- Does Spinach need lots of water
- How do you harvest Spinach without killing the plant
A step by step guide to growing organic Spinach indoors at home
Basic requirements for growing organic Spinach at home
- Soil Type – well-drained soil rich in organic matter such as compost or composted manure; the pH level of 6.5 to 7.
- Spinach germination temperature -10°C – 22°C.
- Sunlight – Sun to partial shade.
- Water – Spinach grows best in cold weather, avoid over-watering.
Different varieties of Spinach
The important varieties of Spinach are Savoy Spinach, Bloomsdale, Tyee, Regiment, Indian summer, Catalina, Space Spinach, Red Carnival, New Zealand, and Malabar Spinach
Savoyed and semi-savoyed types have dark green leaves and that is puckered or crinkled and become especially crisp in cold weather. Many of the best plant varieties for growing through winter have savoyed leaves.
Smooth-leafed Spinach is a lighter shade of green compared to savoyed Spinach, but the leaves are easier to wash and the plants tend to grow upright. Fast and easy to grow, smooth-leafed Spinach can be gathered as baby greens, or you can let the plants produce to mature size.
Growing organic Spinach in trays at home
Growing a tray of tender Spinach plant provides a solution for small gardening spaces. Growing organic Spinach in trays is easy and it needs some care. Use 2-3 Spinach seeds for each cup of the seed tray. In case the temperate is low then it will be good to keep the seed tray inside a paper box (a shoebox works well) and place it in a warm area. When your seeds are of good quality and the temperature level and moisture is ideal seeds should germinate within 3-6 days. When seeds have germinated, transfer the tray to a place where the seedlings can get at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight.
Prepare the Tray – Fill a tray with potting soil to within 1 inch of the rim and water the soil until it’s moist. Use a tray with bottom drainage holes and then set it inside a solid tray to catch any water that drains from the soil. If using flowerpots, the recommended Spinach container size is 8 inches for 1 plant.
Slide the tray into a plastic bag and then seal it closed, or cover the tray with plastic wrap. This prevents the soil from drying out so the plants won’t need watering until after the seeds germinate. Then, place the tray in a warm area to sprout.
Remove the bag or plastic wrap once Spinach seedlings emerge. Then, move the tray to a sunny location and water the soil when the surface feels dry. If growing Spinach indoors, suspend grow or fluorescent lights a few inches above the plant leaves. Move the tray to a sheltered, partial shade location if growing Spinach in the summer season.
Growing organic Spinach without soil at home
How to grow organic Spinach in water without soil means Spinach growing hydroponically. Hydroponic Spinach is grown faster indoors at home. Through this method, you can grow Spinach plants in a small apartment, bedrooms, or kitchen as long as you have some space. Then, this means you can grow your plants closer and consequently with huge space savings. This process is water saving in which plants will take up only the required amount of water. So, there is less water loss in the hydroponics system.
Growing organic Spinach in water is known as hydroponics and is where the Spinach plants get the nutrients they need from the water instead of from soil. The hydroponic Spinach plants clean the water. It is one of the most grown plants in a hydroponic system. To grow the Spinach plant well, submerge the roots in the nutrient solution and the nutrient solution can be made from one gallon of water, 1 tablespoon Epsom salts, and 2 tablespoon fertilizer. Many different types of hydroponic systems can work well for growing organic Spinach. Hydroponic Spinach is most grown using a raft and NFT hydroponic systems.
Spinach growing season and growing period
Spinach is a hot season leafy vegetable grown across all India and this can be grown in back yards as well as open fields commercially. Spinach is sown throughout the year. For the winter season, the best time for seed sowing is from September to October. For spring season complete seed sowing from Mid-February to April. Use row to row spacing of about 25-30 cm and plant to plant spacing of 5-10 cm.
Starting Spinach seeds indoors just before fall are a good way to get a leg up on the cool growing season. Though, Spinach seed germinates easily so many people just plant them directly into the garden bed without any problems.
Most varieties of Spinach plants get mature enough to be harvested within 45 days. However, in some cases, it could take up to 60 days.
Growing spinach from seeds organically
Spinach is a fast-growing, low maintenance vegetable that is easy to grow from seed.
Seed Germination for Spinach – Spinach seeds can vary extensively in how long they will last. Some varieties will only last a year or two while others can make it for 5 years before their germination rate is affected, so read up on your plant varieties and store your seeds carefully for the best results. If you have problems getting your Spinach seeds to grow, their age is the likely cause, so buy some new ones and start over. When the weather is chilly but not freezing, seeds will germinate within a week of being planted.
Loosen up the soil, and then remove any weeds, or large rocks and sticks. Amend poor soil with compost or worm castings, and then mix an organic granular fertilizer into it before seed sowing. You can either space the seeds 2 inches apart, or then thin them later. Or space them 4-6 inches apart if you don’t want to thin the seedlings.
Spinach does not need any special care and using a soil conditioner like Amrut Jal once every 10 to 5 days will keep the soil healthy and happy. Then, this will ensure that the probability of any pest or disease attack is minimized. Using good quality Spinach seeds and keeping the soil healthy are the only things you need to do for disease and pest management when you are growing Spinach at home. It is just that simple. But in case you still get some pests just remove them manually and move your Spinach plant to a place where it can get full sunlight.
Growing organic Spinach in aquaponics at home
The best way to do this is from an Aquaponics system where fish and plants are both grown from the same organic system. No soil gardening and growing Spinach in water with fish is called an aquaponics system. The best form of no soil gardening is an aquaponics system. Where an aquaponics combines growing Spinach in water with fish.
Aquaponics system is an ideal home-grow system that combines raising fish (aquaculture) and growing plants (in this case Spinach) without soil (hydroponics). For your aquaponics Spinach to survive and thrive, you need to prepare the system to allow the best growing conditions for the vegetables.
Bluegill is one fish type to consider when growing aquaponics Spinach because they adapt well to a wide range of temperature levels, and they are considered a hardy fish. Then, they mostly prefer cold water, but they can do just fine in warm waters. Though, they shouldn’t be placed in hot waters.
Growing organic Spinach without seeds in the home garden
Spinach can be grown without seeds by using transplants of seedlings or stem bottoms that still have the roots attached. Simply plant the roots into soil and water to grow and then establish new Spinach plants.
Growing organic Spinach in the shade at home
Spinach is one of the leafy greens that provide more nutrients than any other food. Organic Spinach is low in calories and also high in vitamins and minerals. Organic Spinach can grow even in shade.
Spinach requires full sun and regular water and must be planted in rich, loose soil. Before planting, work in 10 to 15 pounds of organic compost per 100 sq. ft. to a depth of 8 inches. Work the soil thoroughly, and taking care to break up any large clumps. Rocks must be removed from the planting area. Add a source of organic nitrogen, such as blood meal or alfalfa meal to develop large, deep green plant leaves.
For the summertime, bolt-resistant Spinach varieties like ‘Tyee’, ‘Bloomsdale Long Standing’ or ‘Space’ will last the longest, especially if planted in the partial shade. For extra success during seed germination, be sure to plant these seeds down deeply (about an inch) so that they don’t get too warm.
Growing organic Spinach on the terrace of home garden
Growing organic Spinach in the terrace is easy. Place the soaked Spinach seeds on a paper towel to remove excess water, so that it does not stick to your fingers when you sow them. If you are growing organic Spinach in a container then use a good potting mix. If you are growing Spinach outdoors then make sure you have added good quality compost to the soil.
Plant your container-grown Spinach that is 6-12 inches across in soil amended with compost to aid in water retention and place in full sun. The soil pH should be around 6.5 to 7.0. Sow seeds 1 inch.
Sow Spinach seeds directly into the ground, 1/2 inch deep in early spring or late fall. Thin seedlings to about 6 inches apart when they are 4 to 5 inches tall. Spinach plants like water, so keep the soil evenly moist, but not wet. Constant moisture promotes rapid plant growth and helps prevents bolting. Mulching with compost will help deter weeds and prevent moisture loss. Fertilize with fish emulsion or other organic fertilizer for spinach plants. To speed germination, soak seeds for 15 to 20 minutes in a liquid kelp solution or compost tea.
Growing organic Spinach in the backyard of home garden
You may also like this: How to Make Compost at Home.
While growing Spinach in containers avoid water stagnation because it will lead to the development of rot and several fungal diseases. Also, avoid wetting the foliage and keep the soil moist but not soggy or wet. It is necessary to take care of good drainage in the container.
First, gather your Spinach seeds, gardening tools and let’s head out into the home garden. Ensure that the area where you are planning to plant the Spinach seeds is a balance of light and shade. Also, make sure that the soil is well-drained with a pH level of 6.5 to 7. You can also make the soil extra rich by additional nutrients in the form of compost and manure. Pre-prep the soil with aged manure at least a week before planting the Spinach seeds. It is advisable to sow the seeds half an inch deep into the soil with at least 3 – 4 inches of space between each seed. This will give the plants room to grow and expand the plant roots.
During the seed germination process, ensure that the soil is moist to accelerate the process. As soon as the seedlings reach a height of 2 inches, thin the plants to about 2 to 3 inches. Always monitor the amount of water you are giving your Spinach plants. You have to ensure that the soil remains moist and do not overwater them. It is advisable to water early in the morning so that the Spinach plants can absorb the water throughout the day. Provide proper nutrition by adding compost or vermicompost or organic fertilizers once in every week or at least once in 10 days. Keep the Spinach plants healthy with proper nutrition to avoid pests and diseases.
Gardening tips for growing organic spianch in the home garden
- Spinach does best when growing in moist and nitrogen-rich soil. Spinach forms a deep taproot; for best growth, loosen the soil at least 1 foot deep before planting.
- Space rows 12 to 14 inches apart and Spinach seed will germinate in 5 to 9 days. Germination will take longer if the soil is cooler, about 21 days at 10°C.
- Fertilize only if necessary due to slow growth, or use as a supplement if your soil pH level is inadequate.
- Space Spinach plants 12 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.
- Start the growing season right by mixing in several inches of aged compost and other rich organic matter into your native soil.
- Soak Spinach seeds in compost tea for 20 minutes before sowing to speed germination process.
- Spinach plant grows best in sun to partial shade and sows Spinach in light soil that is well-drained. Prepare planting beds by working-aged compost to a depth of about 4 inches; remove clumps of soil or organic matter before sowing.
- Start harvesting Spinach when plants have at least 6 leaves that are 3 inches long. Pick the outside leaves first and the inner leaves will continue to grow or cut the entire plant just below the soil level with a knife.
Growing organic Spinach in containers of home garden
If you are growing Spinach plant in a container then use a good potting mix. If you want to become a container gardener, Spinach plant is a perfect candidate. You can grow it in tiny pots, so long as your plants get enough sunlight and water to stay happy. Simply plant your Spinach seeds a half-inch deep into a container filled with a high-quality potting mix, and once the true leaves start to form, thin the plants out to 3 inches apart. Then, this gives them the space to grow into tender baby greens. If the greens start to turn pale green colour, add extra nitrogen fertilizer to perk them back up.
Containers or planter boxes used to grow Spinach should be around 6-8 inches deep and preferably wide. Sow the seeds about 1/2 inches deep directly in containers or in a seedling tray having the potting mix that is porous, rich in organic matter and well-draining. Provide each Spinach plant with a space of about 3 inches, if you want to pick large leaves to give more space to each plant, about 5 inches. Seeds will germinate in about 5 to 7 days. If you have sown the seeds in a seedling tray, wait until 2 to 3 true leaves appear in each plant and then transplant them into the containers.
When conditions are cool and sunny, Spinach plant will grow without much help, but you can keep your plants in peak form by watering them regularly and deeply, about an inch a week. Hand pulling weeds near Spinach causes unwanted damage to the taproot, so a better strategy is to use a mulch of grass clipping or straw to suppress weeds instead.
Spinach growing problems and solutions
- Spinach growing problems are related to growing Spinach in the wrong season. Weather conditions may also be to blame for growing Spinach. If the weather is too hot, seeds won’t germinate, and if it’s too cold, they could germinate much more slowly. Finally, keep soil evenly moist, as too little or too much water can also stop germination.
- To prevent bolting of Spinach, know when to plant each variety of Spinach seed. You can use these seeds 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost in fall. In cooler climates, you can plant a seed in a cold frame in fall and cover late-season plants with hay.
- If it looks like your Spinach plants are wilting, increases you’re watering slightly, and see how the plants respond. To help retain moisture in the soil, lay a light layer of mulch around the plants.
- Leaves are faded yellow and that is because of nitrogen deficiency. Spinach is sensitive to inadequate nitrogen and side-dress with compost tea every 10 to 15 days. And, add aged compost to planting beds twice each year.
Organic fertilizers for growing Spinach at home
A fertilizer high in nitrogen, the first number on the fertilizer package, will help produce dark, healthy plant leaves. Fish emulsion and soy meal are good organic choices for Spinach plant.
Additional fertilization is not required if you have already prepared the soil by adding several organic materials. Additional fertilizing is required if you notice slow growth. You can fertilize the Spinach plants with organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion or compost tea when the plants have at least 4 true leaves.
Use fish emulsion and well-rotted manure to amend the soil before planting. Then, side dress with any organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen during the growing season. Composts work well for organic feeding and can be applied once or twice per growing season. Any water-soluble balanced and nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer will work just fine. Spinach plant harvesting can benefit from the use of organic fertilizer. If using organic fertilizer for growing Spinach, blood and cottonseed meals, alfalfa pellets and fish emulsions are the best options.
One of the best organic fertilizers for Spinach plant is blood meal. The needs of the Spinach and the content of the blood meal is an ideal fit. Many people turn to blood meal first, and before considering any other product. A blood meal is the best source of nitrogen on organic fertilizer for growing Spinach. And, seaweed fertilizer is par with blood meal for being the best sources of iron. Then seaweed doesn’t have as much nitrogen, however, it is not as optimal for growing and harvesting Spinach.
Organic pests and diseases control in Spinach plants
Healthy Spinach plants are not usually infested by pests and diseases. Among insect pests, leaf miners and aphids are very important which can be efficiently managed by organic pest control.
Downy mildew and mosaic virus are two common foliar diseases affected by Spinach plants. Choose resistant varieties to provide plenty of air circulation, and water in the morning to help prevent fungal problems.
The damping-off disease causes Spinach seedlings to fall over and die soon after they emerge. Plant quality seeds and then avoid overwatering to help prevent the disease. Process compost thoroughly in a hot pile before adding it to the soil. Because Spinach plant grows so early in the year it tends to be done for the season before the worst pests and diseases become a problem. Though, there are a few regular issues that most Spinach growers will have to face.
Flea Beetles – Equally tiny, flea beetles come out early in the growing season and like to chew small holes in Spinach plant leaves, weakening them until they shrivel. If you get an infestation, row cover is the best defence, or possibly planting something that they love to eat even more (such as eggplant) to distract them from your Spinach plant.
Spinach blight – This fungus is spread by aphids and will turn Spinach plant leaves yellow and stunt them. Keeping ladybugs around your garden as a natural aphid predator can help keep these pests in check, as can planting disease-resistant varieties such as ‘Indian Summer’ or waiting until your plants are completely dry before touching them to stop the spread of fungus spores.
When to harvest Spinach
Harvest Spinach when leaves are young or allow maturing and harvesting outer leaves. 6 to 8 weeks after being planted, Spinach should be ready for harvesting, though the leaves can be harvested at any size. You can harvest the leaves by carefully cutting off the outer leaves or by cutting off the entire crop about an inch from the soil. Spinach plants will reach maturity 40 to 60 days after direct seeding. Harvest young, tender plant leaves before it gets too hot. Summer heat will cause bitter plant leaves and bolting. Cover with shade cloth and water frequently if temperatures exceed 26°C.
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