Spinach is tasty and one of the first crops you can plant outdoors in spring. It's also very nutritious. Growing is generally trouble free if given reasonable attention so it's definately a top vegetable to grow.

Interesting facts

Although popularised by Popeye the sailor man that you get stronger by eating spinach, it's undoubted health benefits don't quite stretch that far.

Originally it was believed spinach had an extremely high iron content. Supposedly in 1870 a German scientist misplaced the decimal point when measuring iron content, thus increasing results by a factor of ten. It was only in the 1930s that the error was spotted.


Spinach is believed to have originated in ancient Persia and was introduced to India and China by Arab traders carried spinach into India. By the 10th century it was being used as a medicine in Italy and over time it became popular as a vegetable around the Mediterranean.

It's first appearance in England was in the 14th century. Being an early spring vegetable, when there were few others around, it quickly became popular.

Health benefits

Spinach is very healthy for you and one of the most beneficial vegetables to eat.

It's an excellent source of vitamin K, magnesium, manganese and calcium, all of which are good for bone health. High levels of folate, potassium, vitamin B6, niacin and selenium are good for your heart. Rich iron, vitamins B1, B2 and phosporous content are good for energy. Vitamins A, C, and E, copper and zinc are good cancer inibitors.

Spinach is also a very good for digestion and a good source of muscle building protein. In addition it's a good source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.


Savoyed and semi-savoyed varieties have dark green crinkled leaves and are good for overwintering.

Smooth leaved spinach varieties are faster and easier to grow. The leaves can be picked early and are easier to clean.

Grandstand has large semi-savoy leaves.

Long Standing Bloomsdale is a heavy-savoy type with dark green average sized leaves. It performs well in late spring and early summer.

Marathon is a savoy variety, slower to bolt in warm weather, with large, dark green, semi-erect leaves.

Melody F1 is semi-savoyed, large and quick growing with a very dark color.

Red Cardinal is smooth leaved with attractive red veined leaves and deep red stems. Best picked early, they really brighten up a salad.

Seven R is a good early spring and autumn semi savoy variety, large and quick growing.

Space F1 is a smooth leaved variety, slower to bolt than most.

Tyee F1 is a savoyed spinach with dark green leaves which is slower growing and thus has a better chance of coping with warmer temperatures.

Vienna F1, best planted in autumn, has large, savoyed leaves.


Plant in rich, well drained soil, sowing seeds in early spring or autumn. By sowing further seeds every fortnight or so throughout spring and autumn it's possible to harvest spinach throughout the year. Spinach wiill only germinate during cooler weather so it's not worthwhile sowing seeds in summer.

Sow seeds thinly at a depth of 1/2 inch (1 cm) in rows 1ft (30 cm) apart and keep moist until germination. Thin the growing plants to 6 ins (15 cm) apart.


Water the plants well in dry conditions and fertilise occasionally, for example with nettle fertiliser and comfrey fertiliser.


You can pick leaves as soon as they are fully formed, but only pick at most half the leaves from each plant. Use outer leaves; the inner leaves will produce the next batch for picking. The more often you pick leaves, the more that will grow.

Wash the leaves and eat as soon after picking as you can to ensure the best taste and quality. Alternatively cooked spinach freezes extremely well.


Creamed spinach

Spinach baked eggs with parmesan and tomato toast

Creamy spinach soup

Spanish spinach omelette

Cauliflower cheese and spinach pasta bakes

Common problems

Generally spinach is reasonably trouble free. Avoid fungus diseases that like cool damp conditions by ensuring there's enough space between plants to allow sufficient air circulation. Keep an eye out for greenfly and remove by hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...