Excellent food, spinach is our health ally, rich in vitamins, iron and low in calories. The icing on the cake is enough easy to grow and allows abundant harvests if it is given the little care it needs from sowing to harvesting. This is what we will see here.
The ideal is to cultivate summer spinach and winter spinach in order to be able to consume this green vegetable throughout the year. It’s from April and until June that we carry out the spring sowing while the autumn 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 soil dries out quickly, which has a considerable impact on the productivity of spinach, especially 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 best sow from the end of August to October in order to avoid too rapid bolting due to the summer heat.
If you want to sow your spinach at the very end of winter, it is better to do it under a tunnel.
Sow spinach in place
We avoid sowing on the fly because it can complicate the maintenance of the plants as well as the picking of the leaves. The correct method for sowing spinach is as follows.
- Digging furrows 2 cm deep at most in order to sow in rows and space the rows 25 to 30 cm apart.
- Sow clearly by depositing a seed every 2 cm, preferably with a hand seeder,
- Cover the seeds with garden soil by bringing it back to the furrows with a rake,
- Tamp down so that the soil is sufficiently compact,
- Water in rain.
Lighten as soon as the seedlings have formed between 4 and 6 leaves, i.e. a good fortnight after sowing. Only one spinach plant is kept every 12 cm. Finish the thinning session by watering in fine rain.
Sow spinach in cells
Sowing spinach in alveolate plates is possible, at a rate of two or three seeds per cell to then keep only the most vigorous, then transplant into the ground the young plants selected under the same conditions as when sowing in place.
Admittedly, spinach does not like to be transplanted too much. It tends to bolt 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 motte being transplanted and not a bare-rooted 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 preferably grown in a sunny position and the summer ones in a semi-shaded area of the garden.
It’s important to prepare the ground well beforehand. 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. Only then are the furrows dug for the seedlings.
Spinach needs a boost fertilizer at the time of thinning. To do this, we first carry out 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 even dried blood which diffuses quickly. This last solution is among the best.
Watering the spinach is essential for it to produce abundantly because the earth must always be fresh including before sowing. The soil must benefit from even more sustained irrigation during the 15 days preceding the harvest. It is therefore throughout its growth that spinach needs water. So there is no question of forgetting it in a corner because the lack of water leads to bolting, slows the development of the plants and impacts the nutritional quality of this leafy vegetable.
Ideally, spinach is watered with collected rainwater because it does not like hard water, nor very cold water. Another precaution to take: preferably water by foot so as not to wet the leaves.
Finally, note that even if spinach likes water, excesses are never beneficial when the water stagnates and drowns the roots.
He is indispensable to hoe his rows of spinach regularly throughout their cultivation and to weed unwanted weeds 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 maintain a lot of freshness in the foot during the hottest period. For example, we can install a mulch ofcocoa shells or of linen sequins.
Pests and diseases
Beet maggot, cutworm and aphids are parasites that attack spinach, causing various types of leaf damage. You can treat your crops naturally with a pyrethrum decoction.
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 pick them up one by one manually, or to deposit slug traps.
Finally, spinach is sometimes the target of maladies cryptogamiques 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, you can incorporate charcoal to the soil in which you intend to sow spinach.
The main fears are mildew that we no longer present and the spinach disease due to fungus Heterosporium variable. In these two cases, curative but also preventive actions are carried out. For example, one 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 spray every 8 days and following heavy rains.
Harvest the spinach
It’s usually 8 weeks after sowing spinach can be harvested. The formation of new leaves is highly stimulated by successive pickings.
Depending on the establishment period, spinach can be harvested until March or April. This is the case for winter varieties, the first picking of which takes place 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 leaves picked if you want to see others grow.
To harvest spinach, use a pair of scissors and cut the leaves that are all around the stem, 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 stalk go to seed, it is no longer possible to harvest its leaves. It is therefore necessary to prevent this phenomenon from occurring too quickly. This is unfortunately what happens when this vegetable plant suffers from the heat.