Growing spinach in pots
Today, we discuss the topic of growing spinach in pots. Spinach is a leafy vegetable whose scientific name is Spinaciaoleracea. This belongs to the family of amaranth and has a relation with quinoa and beets. The native of spinach is Persia, but now most of the production of Spinach takes place in the United States and China. It has a lot of nutrients and Antioxidants and it is considered to be a healthy diet. Taking spinach as a part of your diet will improve the health of your eyes, decreases the stress and prevents cancer, decreases the levels of blood pressure.
There are lot many ways for the preparation of Spinach. You can buy it fresh or it is also available in a canned way. It can be eaten raw or cooked. It is very delicious and can be mixed with other vegetables too for the purpose of consumption. What are we waiting for? Let’s get into the details of growing spinach in pots.
Spinach is termed as Palakura in Telugu, PasalaiKeerai in Tamil, Palakcheera in Malayalam, Palak in Hindi, KempuBaayiBasale in Kannada, Palang in Bengali, Palak in Gujarati, Bhajji in Konkani, Sag in Marathi, Poi or Palak in Oriya, Palak in Punjabi
Spinach is considered to be a great alternative while adding in salads, sauces, soups and also stir-fries. It is a crop which can be grown in cool climates and also grows very well in pots. These can be kept in balconies with shade and in the areas which have low temperatures. Growing spinach in pots is a good idea as it will give you lots of time for the harvest of leaves before the pests attack them. The complete process will include preparation of pot, sowing seeds and harvesting the spinach plants. In this article, we will learn how to grow spinach in pots and the tips for growing spinach.
Spinach varieties for pot growing:
- Savoy spinach
- Semi-savoy spinach
- Indian summer
- Smooth-leafed spinach
- Red cardinal
Preparation of pot for growing spinach in pots:
- Buy a pot which has sufficient width and depth for your seeds. Raising spinach ins a pot will need a depth of at least 6 inches and a width of at least 14 inches. A pot which has a diameter of 14 inches can hold 4 plants of spinach.
- Select a pot which is made up of wood, glazed ceramic or concrete. These are the material which will allow the best growth of food. Make sure that you are avoiding porous materials such as unfired clay and terracotta as these are the ones which can leech the chemicals which are soluble in water across their surface.
- Always remember not to make use of the pots which are contaminated with asbestos or lead. For instance, the pots which are old will be coated with paint which is lead-based. Before the year 1970, the paints used to have high concentrations of lead.
- You can buy the potting soil if you do not want to mix it on your own. This is an easier choice, but you will not have complete control over the ingredients. You should use the potting mix which is of high quality i.e., which has a high content of organic matter. The perfect texture of the soil is loamy and crumbly.
- Do not use the soil which will clog the drainage. The soil which drains well is very important for increasing the spinach growth in pots.
Read: How to Grow Brinjal in Pots.
Preparation of potting mix for growing spinach in pots:
- If you are interested to prepare potting mix on your own, you can make use of the ⅓ drainage material such as perlite, composted bark, ⅓ rd of the material which can hold water such as peat, coir, vermiculite and ⅓ rd of organic matter which has been rotten down such as worm castings, manure, compost.
- In the first place, you will need to sprinkle half cup of nitrogen sources which are organic such as a meal of soya or alfalfa into the middle of the pot and scratch it into the soil’s bottom. Then top the soil with at least 3 inches of potting mix or potting medium.
- You can also consider adding amendments which are animal-based like fish meal, manure which is composted, feather meal, worm castings.
- After that, consider adding a ¼ cup of bat guano to the potting medium in order to provide it with nutrients which are of high quality.
- If you have several pots to fill, it is generally less expensive to mix the potting soil on your own than going with a potting soil which is a commercial one.
Soil pH test for growing spinach in pots:
- Now, it is time to test the soil pH. Spinach will survive in the soil which is alkaline in a slight manner. It will need the soil whose pH is between 6 to 7.5. If the acidity of the soil goes below 6, the leaves and stems of the spinach plant will turn into a yellow color. You will need to add some amount of limestone to the potting soil to adjust the level of soil pH in a manual way.
- If the potting soil is very low in magnesium, you can consider adding dolomitic limestone for increasing the pH. If the soil has high magnesium levels, then you can consider adding limestone to increase the pH.
- For the adjustment of pH, you can also consider adding the egg shells which are crushed in a fine manner or even wood ashes.
The soil has to be loosened before the plantation of your spinach seeds. You can make use of a small shovel which is generally used for gardening and dig the soil for about 10 inches before you start sowing the seeds of spinach. This space can be filled with potting soil and amendments which are organic like manures, leaves from deciduous trees and yard trimmings. This will help in the creation of air pockets which will in turn help in the facilitation of air and penetration of water.
Read: How To Setup A Raised Garden.
Sowing the seeds of spinach:
- In order to get the best results, you can plant your spinach at the time before summer and winter. For the spinach plants which are grown in the autumn season, make sure that you are keeping your spinach plant in a place where it can receive a lot of sunlight. As the days will be short and the intensity of the sun will be less, you will need your spinach plant to take the rays as much as possible. For the plantation which takes place in spring, the spinach plants have to be placed in a location where they can receive some amount of shade.
- If you are raising the spinach at the time of summer, select varieties which are resistant to bolt such as Tyee. The pots have to be placed in the locations where the plants can receive shade partially from other types of structures of vegetables and harvest them prior to the length of the day will reach 14 hours.
- If you are in the regions which have a tropical or subtropical climate, then you will need to keep your pots in complete shade.
- Now start punching your spinach seeds into the potting soil. You will always need to punch them for a depth of at least ½ inch. After that, you should cover them with soil lightly.
- Now, consider adding a ½ inch of fine mulch after the seeds are sown to help the seeds with the retention of moisture.
- Growing spinach indoors will allow the seeds to undergo the process of germination. Hence, allow them to grow in their pots by leaving them in the indoor locations for at least 21 days before bringing them into the outdoor locations.
- As an alternative, you can also place the pots in the outdoor locations after seeding is finished as long as the ground is warm. Though you are not planning to plant the spinach on the ground, it is a very good indication that your spinach can grow in outdoor locations. Spinach will have the ability to survive in the temperatures which are as low as −10 °C.
- The best temperature required for the soil in order to grow spinach is 11 to 27°C.
- There should be space in between the seeds of the spinach so that there would be proper growth. The seeds have to be planted about 1 inch distant from each other. Once they start growing, trim them by making use of scissors or garden shears so that they are at least 3 inches distant to each other.
- Retain the seedlings which are strong and cut the sprouts which are weaker to the ground.
- Your spinach plants have to be watered frequently for the prevention of soil from getting dried out. Spinach will do its best with a rainfall of at least 1 inch in a week. If there is no good rain, you will need to provide them with 4 soakings in a week. The plants which are growing in pots will need abundant water. Always make sure that the soil is not dry.
- The soil must be kept damp on a regular basis, but it should not be soggy. Over moisture will cause damage to the growth.
- You should never allow your spinach plants to get dried out at the time of summer as this will give rise to bolting and will cause harm to the growth.
- Spinach which is bolted can be eaten. Anyways, it is difficult and has a bitter taste.
- The soil of the spinach plant has to be fertilized on a regular basis. The spinach plants can be grown by fertilizing them by making use of liquid fertilizer or plant food. You can also make use of products which consist of nitrogen in high quantities. You will need to use a slow-release fertilizer. Cottonseed meal or organic fish emulsion are two options which can be used as an alternative.
- The temperature of the soil has to be monitored by making use of soil thermometer. After the spinach plants are kept in their desired position, you will need to monitor the temperature of soil by making use of a thermometer. The seeds of spinach will undergo the process of germination in low temperatures like 4°C, though the perfect range is between 11 to 27°C. The absolute minimum temperature is -8°C and the maximum temperature is 33°C.
- Spinach is very sensitive towards heat. When the temperature of the soil is above 24°C, you will need to move the spinach into the shade so that it would be safe.
- The maintenance of spinach has to be done throughout winter for the early crop in the next year. The temperature of the soil has to be monitored in a proper way.
- Always remember that whenever the temperature of the soil is low, there is limited nitrogen. Give your spinach plants plant food which is soluble in water when you see new growth at the end of winter.
Harvesting the spinach plants:
- The leaves of spinach plant have to be cut-off early if you are growing baby spinach. You can harvest your plants when they are just 2-3 inches in terms of length. You can also pinch off the spinach leaves at the stems by making use of your fingernails. You can also make use of scissors or garden shears for the leaves which are tougher. It is always suggested to harvest the leaves which are fully grown with a tiny stem. The leaves which do not have stems will get rot rapidly.
- If you want to have adult spinach, then you should remove the leaves of spinach after 1 and a ½ month. In order to harvest the adult spinach plants, make sure that they have a minimum of seven leaves which are having a length of 4 inches. Make use of the garden shears to cut the leaves which are outside and make sure that the plant continues its production in the pot. Once it has produced a flower stalk which is tall, you can harvest the plant by removing the main stem.
- Bolting will take place when the plants of spinach send up a seed stalk that flowers gradually. Flowering will make the leaves inedible and also bitter at the taste. If the plants which are mature start growing taller in less time period, it is an indication of spinach bolting. If this happens, you will need to pull up the entire plant and harvest the leaves.
Storage of spinach:
You can store the spinach leaves which you harvested in the refrigerator. If you are not going to use the spinach right away after harvesting, store the spinach leaves which are unwashed in a plastic bag for about 1 week. If you are storing the spinach in your freezer at 0°C, it can last for about a year.
Common pests of spinach:
There are several insects which will attack the plants of spinach. Anyways, the spinach pests which are most common are:
Aphids: Aphids are considered to be the most common pests of spinach. The enemies which are present in nature will monitor them carefully. If you still want to be careful, you can make use of neem oil.
Cutworms and wireworms:
Cutworms will cut the seedlings which are young at the level of the ground and the wireworms will depend on the roots and foliage for food. The transplants which are older will not attract these insects. These insects will always get attracted to the seedlings which are tender. In order to trap the wireworms, you can start the plantation of the carrots which are grown completely in the pot. Pull the carrots from the soil for every 2 days and take off the wireworms which are trapped. Cutworms will mostly respond to spinosad spray.
Flea beetles: These are the insects which will feed on the foliage which is young. The damage caused by flea beetles can be seen through several small holes which leave the leaf to look as if it is been hit by a shotgun. The leaves affected by flea beetles will sometimes have pitted areas too. These insects will be so tiny that they will not even be visible to the eye. You can make use of mulch which is reflective under the plants.
Snails and slugs: These also will cause holes on the leaves of spinach. The holes caused by these will be larger than the ones created by flea beetles. You can make use of traps and baits to control these insects in the best way.
Leaf miners: These insects will leave tan trails on the spinach leaves. As they will be feeding on the leaves internally, the contact insecticides will not work in an effective way. The leaves which are infested should be removed and should be destroyed before the larvae get matured.
Common diseases of spinach:
Downy mildew: This disease will cause light green or yellow colored spots on the top layer of the spinach leaves along with white colored fungus on the beneath the layer of the leaf. There is no cure to this disease and the only option is to remove the spinach plants which are infected by this disease. You can prevent this disease by placing the plants at appropriate distances so that there would be good air circulation and water has to be applied directly to the soil so that the foliage will be dry.
Damping off: This disease will cause the seedlings to fall off and die as soon as they start emerging. You will need to plant the seeds which are of good quality and also avoid too much watering so that you can at least prevent the disease to some extent. The compost has to be processed in a thorough way in a hot pile prior to adding it to the soil in the pot.
That’s all folks about growing spinach in pots. You can apply the above information for growing spinach from seed, growing spinach from cuttings, growing spinach in balcony, growing spinach in cotainers, growing spinach in backyards, palak growing tips, growing spinach in summer, growing spinach in winter, planting palak in pots, growing spinach from scraps, growing spinach indoors under lights, growing spinach in polyhouse, how to grow spinach indoors, and growing spinach in greenhouse. You migh be interested in Bamboo Rice Farming.