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Spinach is one of the healthiest and most popular vegetables that can easily be grown in your own garden or on the balcony. All you need is a professional guide that explains how to do it and what to watch out for. You can find them here at the plant expert.

In order for spinach to thrive in your own vegetable patch, you should pay attention to a few important details. These begin with the choice of spinach species, extend to a number of factors during sowing and care, and end with the right approach to harvesting. The plant expert provides information on what is important when growing spinach and what you should pay attention to.

Spinach Types

There are about 50 different types of culture. These differ in terms of growth, harvest time, robustness, time of cultivation and taste, among other things. The following are some of the most common types of spinach that can be grown in spring.

Baby Leaf F1

  • upright growing, delicate, rich green leaves
  • easy to harvest
  • is particularly suitable for salads

butterfly

  • most common variety
  • very spicy
  • high crop yield
  • can also be grown in autumn

Emilia F1

  • fleshy leaves
  • full of flavor
  • Harvest time between spring and summer

gamma

  • dark green leaves
  • late flowering
  • can also be grown in autumn

Lazio F1

  • newer variety
  • Cultivation from spring to late summer
  • robust against mildew

Matador

  • tried and tested way
  • frost resistant
  • rapid growth
  • Cultivation period between spring and autumn
  • strong taste

Merlin F1

  • tasty aroma
  • Summer cultivation possible
  • slightly more susceptible to powdery mildew

monopa

  • similar to 'Gamma' but hardy

Napoli F1

  • delicate in taste
  • fast growing
  • promises high yields
  • can be overwintered

Palco F1

  • fast growing, high crop yields
  • resistant to powdery mildew
  • can be planted again in autumn

Varieties that can be grown no earlier than summer:

Celeste F1

  • promises high yields
  • mildew resistance

Corvette F1

  • medium late hybrid variety
  • bolt proof
  • very frost resistant
  • full-bodied spinach flavor

Spinach species that are ideal as baby spinach for balcony or box planting:

Bordeaux F1

  • best growing time in summer
  • mildew resistance
  • small growth
  • broad flavor
  • ideal for salads

Picasso F1

  • best growing time in summer
  • small growth
  • savoy leaves
  • year-round harvest

location

In terms of location, you can choose a spot in full sun or partial shade for sowing the leafy greens. Strong winds should not be able to hit it.

It gets along very well with many other types of vegetables and can be used as a pre- and/or post-culture, as well as standing alone or between other types of vegetables. Only a location where there are currently or previously goosefoot plants such as chard, sorrel or beetroot should be avoided. There is an incompatibility here. In this case, you should always wait three years before sowing spinach in the same place as previous goosefoot plants.

pre and post culture

The advantages of pre- and post-cultivation are that most spinach varieties benefit from short days and longer nights in spring and autumn and, as deep-rooters and pre-culture, loosen the soil well for many subsequent vegetable plants. In addition, normal spinach varieties usually "shoot" on hot summer days and become bitter in taste.

As a pre-culture, spinach is particularly suitable for the following vegetables:

  • carrots
  • garlic
  • Kohlrabi (later varieties)

Optimal locations for the post-culture from August are harvested beds, for example from:

  • new potatoes
  • strawberries
  • peas
  • onions

Bed neighbors that can be perfectly complemented with spinach include:

  • beanstalks
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • cabbage
  • radish

floor

For sowing, you should offer the Spinacia a soil that meets the following and specific criteria.

  • pH between 6.5 and 7.5
  • rich in humus (enclose seed generously with compost)
  • loose soil for deep rooting
  • high humidity (no waterlogging)
  • low to medium nutrient content

sowing time

Sowing in spring and/or autumn, or at the end of August, is best for most spinach varieties if you want to harvest in the same year. For sowing later than May, only varieties that don't "wear out" so quickly when daylight is longer in the summer months are suitable. These types of spinach include, for example, the following.

  • Emilia F1
  • Lazio F1
  • Merlin F1

spring

In spring, the optimal sowing time is in March and can be done up to the beginning of May.

fall

The best time for an autumn harvest is the third and fourth week of August. The harvest can then be expected in the course of November. Sowing in early September is only recommended in regions with milder temperatures if you want to harvest in the same year. Only hardy spinach species should be sown until the beginning of October. These specimens are usually ready for harvest at the beginning of April.

Sowing after the beginning of October is no longer advisable. Germination usually still takes place, but in the cold winter the new roots cannot sufficiently establish themselves in the soil and the risk of frostbite is therefore immensely high.

sowing

seed spacing

If you sow spinach in rows, a distance of about 20 centimeters between the individual rows is sufficient. If you plant the spinach between other types of vegetables, the dimensioning of the space depends on how wide the neighboring plants are and how big the spinach variety that is sown is. In order to be able to fully develop its size, the spinach only needs about five centimeters to the left and right of its plant neighbors.

soil preparation

In order for the seed to grow well and the roots that develop from it to be able to settle in the soil, you should loosen the soil well within a radius of eight to ten centimeters and up to five or eight centimeters deep. In the same work process, it is recommended to enrich the soil with compost so that sufficient nutrients can be released to the young plant for vigorous growth.

If you plant spinach again in the fall and/or in the following two or three years in the same place, you do not have to enrich the compost again. The nutrient content in the soil is sufficient for at least three years. The same applies, of course, to hardy, perennial spinach species that do not have to be supplied with compost every year. Good moistening of the soil in which the seed is to be sown is also important. But avoid waterlogging. Under certain circumstances, this would cause the seed to become moldy and prevent germination.

sowing

  • At a suitable location, use your thumb to make a depression about two to three centimeters deep in the ground
  • when sowing in rows, make a long hollow
  • Put in the seeds (observe distances if there are continuous trough lines)
  • Cover seeds with soil up to the surface (dark germs)
  • Gently tap or press the soil over the seed (optimizes the soil contact of the seed)
  • Pour or spray the surface lightly
  • in cold temperatures below zero degrees Celsius, stretch transparent film over the sowing
  • Only remove the film when no more frost is to be expected

Notice: Did you know that you don't have to sow existing seeds right away? As a rule, it has a shelf life of three or four years if it is stored dry. It is in no way inferior to a "fresh" seed in terms of development.

pour

After sowing in the moist soil, it should be kept evenly moist. If a foil is taut, hold it up for a few minutes and then cast. Lifting the film also ensures air exchange and promotes growth. You should only make sure that you always use water that is at the optimum temperature. In warmer temperatures it should be at room temperature, while in cold temperatures it can be a little colder so that an immense temperature difference does not cause a thermal shock. This could affect the growth of the spinach.

If you let the soil dry out, you run the risk of the Spinacia starting to flower too quickly, making it unfit for consumption/harvesting. If this happens anyway, water immediately so that at least the next generation can grow back.

Fertilize

In terms of fertilizers and nutrients, the Spinacia is very undemanding. It does not require further fertilization during the year and the following three years if it was placed in nutrient-rich soil when it was seeded.

There is an exception when so-called high-eaters stand in the same place before sowing again. Then it may be that the soil offers only little nutrients and a compost enrichment could be necessary. In principle, however, you should be more cautious with nutrients, because too much of it can increase the nitrate content in the spinach leaves.

However, to get a better yield, you can add a little potassium fertilizer at the start of growth in spring or late summer/autumn. This stimulates growth and has no effect on the nitrate/nitrite content.

artificial fertilizer

Never use artificial fertilizer products. The dosage descriptions are often not optimal and over-fertilization can happen quickly. Here, too, harmful nitrate, nitrite and oxalic acid levels increase.

High levels of nitrate/nitrite are considered carcinogenic, while oxalic acid can negatively affect the body's calcium metabolism. As a result, kidney and bladder stones are not uncommon. So stay away from artificial fertilizer if you don't know exactly how much of it your Spinacia needs.

To cut

This foxtail plant is usually only cut for harvest reasons. However, if brown leaves have developed, for example due to the soil drying out too much, a section of these parts of the plant should create space for new, healthy growth.

It is also advisable to cut off the leaves if significant damage has been caused by parasites or if a disease requires pruning. It is important that you always leave the so-called spinach heart. Only from this can new leaves develop.

wintering

Most spinach is only cultivated for one year. This is especially the case when it is used as a pre-culture. Nevertheless, many types of spinach are generally well tolerated by frost, some are even completely hardy and can overwinter outside in the vegetable patch or on the balcony even in icy temperatures.

Frost-tolerant specimens should be covered with a fleece in extremely cold temperatures. However, you can also cultivate frost-sensitive varieties for two or sometimes three years by moving them to a warmer winter quarters, such as an unheated greenhouse or a bright garden shed. It is important that the temperatures here are a few degrees above zero and that the room has bright daylight. Late sown hardy spinach outdoors should also be covered with fleece or foil before the first frost and snow. The young plants are still somewhat vulnerable and could suffer signs of frostbite.

harvest

You can usually expect a harvest all year round, provided you move the spinach to winter quarters or it is a frost-resistant Spinacia. After sowing, it usually takes an average of eleven weeks before the first spinach leaves can be cut off.

Outdoors, it should only be harvested on frost-free and dry winter days. Otherwise, signs of frostbite could occur due to the fresh interfaces. It should not be harvested when it is in bloom. Here the nitrate content is highest and a bitter taste makes it inedible.

crop cut

For the harvest and a renewed, vigorous regrowth of new leaves, you should always separate the spinach leaves individually and always around the heart. In this region, new leaves form first and the more often you cut there, the more lush the vegetable plant grows as a whole. The cut is always made close to the ground.

cutting tool

Only use sharp cutting tools that have been disinfected beforehand. Especially with vegetables that are eaten cold, such as in salads, it is important that no viruses or germs have gotten onto the leaves via the cutting tool. That being said, bacteria and viruses that transmit it damage the plant and can quickly spread to neighboring plants. At worst, such an infestation will destroy an entire seasonal stand. The simplest disinfection method is with a household disinfectant such as Sagrotan.

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