How to grow spinach

Get our expert advice on growing spinach from seed, including varieties to grow and pest advice.

Do it:

Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov

Takes just:

30 minutes

Spinach is tasty, versatile and nutritious – and easy to grow, too.

Choose a sheltered spot with moisture-retentive soil, and try to avoid hot, dry sites, as spinach has a tendency to bolt in these conditions. Improve the soil texture by incorporating bulky organic matter such as garden compost or well-rotted manure to boost the plants' growth rate and cropping, while reducing the chances of bolting.

Sow from early spring to early autumn for a succession of harvests into winter. You may need to provide temporary shade during the height of summer to prevent bolting. Insulate later sowings with a double layer of fleece, a fleece-covered tunnel or a cloche to keep plants growing and cropping later into winter.

Follow our simple steps to growing your own tasty spinach.

You will need

Garden fork

Well-rotted manure

Watering can with rose

Spinach seeds

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Choose a sunny or part-shaded spot and fork in some well-rotted manure. Sow the seed along a pre-made, pre-wetted drill, 1.5-2cm deep, 30cm between rows. Cover and water so the soil is just moist.

Thin out the seedlings at regular intervals, removing the more congested and weaker plants, to a final spacing of about 15cm.

After thinning, water well to re-settle the soil around the roots. Keeping the soil moist not only decreases the risk of plants bolting, but also produces a more tender, more succulent leaf.

Spinach is tasty, versatile and nutritious – and easy to grow, too.

Spinach is ready to harvest 6-10 weeks after sowing, and growth is quickest during warmer weather. Use a sharp knife to avoid pulling the plants and loosening them in the ground.

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Protect your plants

Protect spinach plants from slugs and snails by creating mulch barriers of pine needles or crushed shells at the base of young plants. Alternatively, sow in cells for planting out when 5-8cm tall to help limit slug and snail damage. A pop-up cage covered with fine mesh over the rows will keep pigeons, moths and adult leaf-miners off the plants.

Varieties to grow

'Emilia' is slow to bolt

'Mikado' is slow to bolt and shows good resistance to downy mildew

'Polar Bear' is hardier than most, with tender leaves

'Red Cardinal' has pretty red stems

Discover more ideas and inspiration

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