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Growing Spinach

How to grow spinach in containers, garden beds and allotments

 

Leaf Beet and Swiss Chard

Family/Latin Name

Chenopodiaceae - Beta vulgaris var. cicla

Type of Plant

Leaf - Crop Rotation Group = Others

Suitable for

Garden Beds, containers and Allotments


Pests & Diseases    Companion Plants    In the Kitchen

See also:-  Vegetable Growing Glossary  |    Container Growing  | Buying Seeds & Plants

 

Plant Dimensions

Height up to 30cm/12"  - Spread up to 20cm/8"

Yield per 1.5cm/5ft row 1.8kg/4lb

Time between sowing and harvesting

8-12 weeks

Where to Sow

Outdoors -  in open ground or in containers

Sowing time

Outdoors late March to May  - temperature   +10C/50F. 

How to Sow

2.5cm/1" deep - thinly  in rows 30cm/12" apart or in groups/blocks

After Germination

When the seedlings are large enough to handle,  thin to  7.5cm/3" apart. Throw away the thinnings as these do not transplant well.

Growing on - 

in Pots

Once the plants have reached 15cm/6" high, thin again by  removing alternate plants. Do not delay thinning. These thinnings can be used in cooking. Keep very well watered and avoid dry spells.

Growing on -

in open ground

As above

Aftercare

Keep the plants well watered and weed free.

Winter varieties may need protection from frosts.

Harvesting

Start picking young when the leaves have reached 5-7.5cm/2-3", starting with the outer leaves. Only pick a few leaves from each plant (no more than half the total leaves per plant at any one time).

 

Pick regularly to encourage new growth and prolong the cropping season. Crops over 16-20 weeks.


Pests and Diseases

Companion Plants

Downy Mildew
Indications Yellow patches on leaves with a greyish mould underneath
Treatment Organic
Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic copper spray/dust to diseased and surrounding plants every 7-10 day
Chemical
 Remove the infected leaves and spray with Dithane at first sign of attack
Prevention  Avoid damp or humid sites and overcrowding. Practice crop rotation.
Leaf Spot
Indications Numerous small holes  with a central brown colour
Treatment Organic
Remove the infected leaves and apply an organic copper spray/dust to diseased and surrounding plants every 7-10 day
Chemical
 Remove the infected leaves and spray with Dithane at first sign of attack
Prevention Practice crop rotation. Apply a balanced fertiliser before sowing
Spinach Blight
Indications Leaves roll inwards with puckered edges and a yellowing surface
Treatment None - destroy all infected plants
Prevention Organic
This virus is carried by greenfly (cucumber mosaic virus). Spray young plants with a weak solution of soapy water as soon as you see aphids.
Use water through a hosepipe to knock the aphids off the plants
Chemical
Spray with an insecticide containing Dimethoate  or Pyrethrum

 Companion Flower Graphic

Strawberry, Cauliflower, Celery

 

 

Create a bio-diverse environment by planting flowers nearby to attract bees, ladybirds and other "friendlies".

 

To learn more about companion planting click here.

In the Kitchen

Storage:  Refrigerate for up to 4 days 

Preparing:  Remove any thick stalks and wash well in cold water. If steaming or boiling, do not dry. Young small leaves can be cooked whole - shred or roughly chop larger leaves

Cooking

Boil

3-4 minutes. They should be placed in a dry pan with only the water which is clinging to the leaves from having been washed. Cover with a lid and set over a medium/high heat. It will be necessary to shake the pan vigorously or turn the leaves every 20-30 seconds during cooking.

Fry/Sauté

1-2 minutes. Stir-fry until just wilted

Microwave

Leaves  = 2-3 minutes

Steam

Leaves  =   3 - 5 minutes

For more preparation and cooking information about Spinach plus lots of  recipes visit our sister site www.recipes4us.co.uk.

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