Hints & Tips
Spinach is one of the best of the so-called superfoods and can be grown all year round, making it an ideal choice for your garden.
This vegetable contains large amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as substantial amounts of iron, magnesium and potassium. It also one of the best sources of vitamin K, which is important for maintaining bone health.
When preparing the soil, remove any stones and weeds while incorporating plenty of garden compost or well-rotted manure. Making sure the soil contains plenty of organic matter will prevent the leaves from tasting bitter.
Seeds should be sown 2.5 cm apart in trenches 1 cm deep, before being covered and watered. Thin out the seedlings when they are 2 cm tall, leaving the strongest seedlings plenty of space to grow.
Spinach planted in the summer will be ready to be harvested within 12 weeks, between late May and the end of October.
Leaves can be harvested continually for use in the kitchen when they are ready to pick. Make sure you only take leaves from the outside of the plant to avoid damaging the roots.
While growing spinach is relatively easy, you may encounter some problems. Birds tend to be fond of spinach seedlings, so it's wise to cover your crop with fine gauge netting or horticultural fleece until it becomes established.
Dry soil or spells of hot weather can sometimes cause bolting, in which the crop starts to flower and produce seeds prematurely, making the leaves unusable.
This is best avoided by ensuring your plants are well-watered, while shading material is also worth considering in prolonged spells of sunny weather.
Spinach downy mildew can sometimes affect plants in mild, humid weather and gives the leaves a bad taste. It could be avoided by choosing mildew-resistant varieties, ensuring there is plenty of space around plants to improve air circulation and watering the soil at the base of the plants.