Spinach – Grow Guide

How to grow spinach

Find out how to grow your own spinach for leafy, healthy pickings, in this practical Grow Guide.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do Sow in September

Do Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Harvest
Harvest

Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do Harvest in March

Do Harvest in April

Do Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do not Harvest in July

Do not Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do Harvest in November

Do Harvest in December

  • Average Yield

    6kg per 3m row

  • Spacing

    15cm apart

Spinach is high in nutrients and is fast and easy to grow as a cut-and-come again ‘baby-leaf’ vegetable or for larger leaves.

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It can be grown all year round if you choose the right varieties and works well in containers too. It tastes delicious when wilted in the pan or as young fresh leaves in a salad.

How to grow spinach

Grow spinach in moist but well-drained soil or compost in partial shade. Sow seeds in a shallow moist drill and cover lightly with soil. Sow spinach successionally every few weeks to ensure a continuous crop. Harvest baby leaves for use in salads or mature leaves to wilt for use in soups and stews.

More on growing spinach:


How to sow spinach seeds

Sowing spinach in a seed drill
How to grow spinach – sowing spinach in a seed drill

Make a shallow drill in well-prepared, fertile soil in a sunny spot and sow your spinach seeds thinly, approximately 1.5cm deep. Cover seeds with soil and water well. If sowing in rows sow 40cm apart. Cover with cloches or protection if the weather is still cool. Sow a batch every three to four weeks for a regular supply through the growing season.

In this video clip from Gardeners’ World, Monty Don explains how to sow spinach, beetroot and chard seeds and then look after the crops over the coming weeks:


How to care for spinach

Watering young spinach plants
How to grow spinach – watering young spinach plants

Spinach thrives in fertile soil that doesn’t easily dry out. In hot weather, set up temporary shade for your spinach crop to stop the soil drying out and the crop bolting (running to seed).

After thinning your sowings to 15cm apart, the most important thing is to keep your spinach well watered. For sowings later in the year, protect your spinach seedlings with fleece or a cloche for a supply through the winter months.


Growing spinach: problem solving

How to grow spinach - thinning out spinach
How to grow spinach – thinning out spinach

Protect young spinach seedlings from slugs, snails and birds. Spinach is also prone to downy mildew, which is worse in humid weather. Mildew-resistant varieties are available but the best method of prevention is good spacing around plants to help the air to circulate, and to target your watering at the base of the plants.

Check out these tips on stopping slugs from eating young plants.


How to harvest spinach

Picking spinach leaves
Picking spinach leaves

Spinach is ready to harvest 6-10 weeks after sowing. As a general rule, you can pick summer varieties from May to October and winter ones between October and April. But keep an eye on your crop as spinach usually grows quicker in warmer weather. Cutting back to just above the base of the plant can encourage more leaves to grow for a second crop.


How to store spinach

Spinach is best eaten fresh when it’s highest in nutrients. But it can be frozen for later use in soups and omelettes – there’s no need to blanch the leaves.

Organic tip

Spinach is a good crop to grow in between beans, peas or sweetcorn if you only have a small growing space. But it’s important to move your spinach crops around your vegetable plot as the spores of downy mildew can remain in the soil and will re-infect your crop.

Gardening gloves. Photo: Getty Images.

Spinach varieties to grow

Spinach 'Medania'
How to grow spinach – spinach ‘Medania’
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  • ‘Medania’ RHS AGM – a good, healthy spinach variety, producing lots of dark green leaves with a soft texture and good flavour whether eaten as a baby leaf or mature crop
  • ‘Perpetual’ – a good variety that doesn’t bolt easily and will grow on drier soils. Good for summer, autumn and winter crops
  • ‘Apollo’ – this variety gives a good yield with leaves that taste good either as a baby leaf crop or when mature. Good bolt-resistance and good in containers
  • ‘Palco’ RHS AGM – a mildew-resistant variety that’s slow to bolt
  • ‘Atlanta’ RHS AGM – a hardy, winter variety that produces a good crop of leaves