Excellent food, spinach is our ally health, rich in vitamins, iron and low in calories. Best of all, it’s enough easy to grow and allows bountiful harvests if given the little care it needs from sowing to harvest. This is what we will see here.
The ideal is to grow summer spinach and winter spinach so that you can consume this green vegetable throughout the year. It is from the month of April and until June that we carry out the spring sowing while the fall sowing take place from the second half of August to mid-October.
It should however be noted that in the regions of the South, the land dries up quickly, which considerably impacts the productivity of spinach, all the more so if it is grown in full sun. It is recommended, in these geographical areas, to sow spinach before the arrival of May. However, in general, it is advisable to rather sow from late August to October in order to avoid a too rapid rise in seed because of the summer heat.
If you want to sow your spinach at the very end of winter, it is better to do it in a tunnel.
Sow spinach in place
Broadcast sowing is avoided as this can complicate the maintenance of the plants as well as the picking of the leaves. The correct method of sowing spinach is as follows.
- Digging furrows 2 cm deep at most in order to sow in a row and space the rows 25 to 30 cm.
- Sow clear by placing a seed every 2 cm, preferably with a hand seeder,
- Cover the seeds with the garden soil by bringing it back to the furrows with a rake,
- Tamp so that the soil is sufficiently compact,
- Sprinkle in rain.
Lighten as soon as the seedlings have formed between 4 and 6 leaves, ie a good fortnight after sowing. Only one spinach plant is kept every 12 cm. Finish the thinning session with a fine rain watering.
Sow spinach in cells
Sowing spinach in honeycomb plates is possible, at the rate of two or three seeds per cell to then keep only the most vigorous, then transplant the selected young plants into the ground under the same conditions as when sowing in place.
Of course, spinach does not like to be transplanted. It tends to go to seed too quickly due to the stress that this entails. This is the reason why we recommend the use of honeycomb plates if it is not possible to sow in place because at the time of transplanting it is all the clod that you are transplanting and not a bare root seedling. Thus, the young plants are little disturbed.
This annual vegetable plant likes cool, loose, slightly clayey soils rich in organic matter. The so-called autumn and winter varieties are grown preferably in a sunny situation and those in summer in a partially shaded area of the garden.
It’s important to prepare the ground well upstream. It is therefore necessary to plow, remove the stones and the roots of weeds, break up the clods of earth by scratching them then add well decomposed manure. It is only then that one digs the furrows which will receive the seedlings.
Spinach needs a boost fertilizer at the time of thinning. To do this, we first perform a hoeing then we bring a nitrogen-rich fertilizer because it promotes leaf growth. Some gardeners amend the soil with a fertilizer made from crushed horn or dried blood which diffuses quickly. This last solution is among the best.
Watering spinach is essential for it to produce abundantly because the earth must always be cool including before sowing. The soil should benefit from even more sustained irrigation during the 15 days preceding the harvest. It is therefore throughout its growth that spinach needs water. There is therefore no question of forgetting it in a corner because the lack of water leads to a rise in seeds, slows down the development of plants and impacts the nutritional quality of this leafy vegetable.
Ideally, we sprinkle the spinach with the rainwater collected because it does not like hard water too much, nor for that matter very cold water. Another precaution to take: it is preferable to water the base so as not to wet the leaves.
Finally, let us specify that even if spinach likes water, excess is never beneficial when the water stagnates and drowns the roots.
It is essential to regularly hoe its rows of spinach throughout their cultivation and to weed unwanted grasses as they develop.
Lay a mulch
If you want to space out the hoeing sessions that some gardeners consider laborious and time-consuming, it is best to install a mulch that limits the growth of weeds. This also helps to keep the feet cool during the hottest period. We can for example install a mulch ofcocoa bark or from linen sequins.
Parasites and diseases
The beet fly, the moth and aphids are parasites that attack spinach, causing various damage to the leaves. You can treat your crops in a natural way with a decoction of pyrethrum.
After a good rain, snails and slugs tend to show up. These gastropods love the tender leaves of spinach which they are able to devour quickly. It is therefore necessary either to collect them one by one manually, or to deposit slug traps.
Finally, spinach is sometimes the target of cryptogamic diseases since the high humidity favors the appearance of fungi. This can lead to root necrosis or seedling dieback, black foot disease or damping-off. As a preventive measure, we can incorporate charcoal to the land in which we intend to plant spinach.
The main fears are the mildew that we no longer present and the spinach disease due to the fungus Heterosporium variabile. In these two cases of figure, one proceeds to curative actions but also preventive. For example, we can use the Bordeaux mixture or better still to sodium bicarbonate sprays on all the spinach plants for two months at the rate of one spraying every 8 days and following heavy rains.
It is generally 8 weeks after sowing that you can harvest spinach. The formation of new leaves is highly stimulated by the successive pickings.
Depending on the period of establishment, spinach can be harvested until March or April. This is the case with winter varieties, the first picking of which is in December. The plants will then produce again to allow a second harvest during the last days of April. This is why it is important not to tear off the feet after the first picked leaves if you want to see others grow.
To harvest the spinach, take a pair of scissors and cut the leaves that are all around the foot, taking care not to damage the heart of the tuft since other leaves will develop and can be eaten less than a month later. Note that if the spinach goes to seed, it is no longer possible to harvest its leaves. We must therefore prevent this phenomenon from occurring too quickly. Unfortunately, this is what happens when this vegetable plant suffers from the heat.