Greens can be grown anywhere if there is an availability of sunlight. Like vegetables or fruits, greens are not heavy feeders. These greens do not require regular fertilizing to reward you with fresh tender leaves. They can be grown anywhere like balcony, terrace, or in your kitchen gardens. Spinach is among those wonderful greens high in fiber, iron, calcium, folic acid, and proteins.
All about growing Spinach in your garden
Make your garden beautiful by growing palak/spinach plants. Spinach plant is a rich source of vitamin B, C, E and healthiest source of nutrients and minerals. Usage of spinach to prepare your various dishes like curries, sandwiches, salads, juice etc.
Thinking of planting spinach seeds???
Just follow these simple 4 steps to grow spinach.
Step 1: Choose the best season to plant
Spinach seeds are best to grow in normal temperature of about 17-18 degree Celsius. It resists to high temperature also. If the temperature is high then keep the planters indoor or make them get shade. They will not germinate quickly in cold weather also. It must require a minimum of 5 to 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Tips to plant spinach seeds
- You can plant either in pots or in your garden
- You can also use the seedling tray to plant and can transplant.
- Choose the best area with the good amount of sunlight.
- Make sure to plant in a good organic soil which drains well.
Step 2: Process of planting spinach seeds
Sow seeds ½ inches (1cm) deep into the soil and 2 inches (5cm) apart. If you are planting in rows, make sure the rows are spaced at least 8 inches apart. Doing so allows the seeds to mature without having to compete for space. Also be sure that the seeds are not exposed to the air and are completely covered by soil.
If you are sowing seeds in a seedling tray, then transplant the seedlings to the prepared soil. Spinach seeds have fine, fibrous roots so try to avoid disturbing them too much while transplanting.
When you are transplanting seedlings, place the spinach plants about 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.7 cm) apart. This allows the seedlings to grow and expand their roots without competing with each other for space.
Make sure to buy fresh seeds for planting each year, as they do not stay viable for long.
Spinach is a high water consumer plant, it requires more water. Spray water frequently but do not over water it. You can maintain watering as below.
- Summer: Water once in a day.
- Winter: Water once in two to three days.
- Rainy: If rainwater is flowing to the plant, no need to water it. In case not, water once in three days.
Soil makes a basic and important role in growing plants. It helps plants by providing nutrients as organic food. If your soil is not good enough with organic food, plants might be attacked by pests and diseases or it may dry off. So it is necessary to add fertilizers to make your plants good and healthy. You can use potting mix or compost as fertilizers.
Step 3: Germination of palak seeds
Palak seeds will germinate in about 1 to 2 weeks. At the time of germination, you should take care of it by watering them, making them get enough sunlight. Add fertilizers in case of any diseases.
Care to be taken for germinated palak/spinach plants
- Thinning your plants: If your seedling is thick, then you need to thin them lightly to prevent the plants from competing for space. This makes them get a good amount of moisture, nutrients, light etc for proper growth without competing for other.
- Keep your planting area moist: You need to keep the soil moist by spraying water but not overly drenched. Depending on the climate u should water your palak crop as mentioned above.
- Cover the plants with a shade in case of high temperature (above 26°C): As mentioned above, palak crop does not do well in high temperature. In case of summer season or high temperature, you need to keep the plants indoors or make them get a shade.
- Fertilize your plants only when necessary: If your plants are growing slowly, you need to add more fertilizer as mentioned above.
Bolting: The phenomenon of producing seeds by a premature plant (producing flowers early) and making it unsuitable for consumption is known as bolting. It occurs when a plant undergoes stress in its growing period.
In spinach, this situation generally takes place due to stress factors like inadequate watering, too much sunlight by which the spinach plant starts producing flowers, and a change in the taste and flavor of leaves occurs.
Solution: Water them thoroughly and let the soil become slightly dry between watering.
Protect these sensitive greens from harsh sunlight (noon light) using shade nets.
- Pests and diseases: There are some possibilities to get pests and diseases while growing. If you are facing this problem, spray Neem oil on your plants. Add 20 to 50 ml of Neem oil to a liter of water and spray on the spinach plants. If the infection is severe repeat the spray once or twice at a week interval.
Step 4: Harvest your spinach Plants
It takes about 6 to 8 weeks from planting to harvest. Once the leaves reach 3 to 4 inches in length and 2 to 3 inches wide, you can harvest your spinach leaves from the base of the plant.
Make sure to harvest leaves before they start to flower (bolting). Once they start to flower the leaves become bitter.
Harvest spinach carefully by removing the outer leaves. Either pinch at the base of the petiole with your fingers or use Pruning Secateurs to cut the base of the petiole.
Advantages of Palak/Spinach:
- Good for skin, hair, and bone health.
- Reduce the risks of causing cancers.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Controls blood sugar levels.
- Prevents constipation and helps in maintaining a healthy gut.
Adverse effects of spinach:
- Spinach contains good amounts of calcium and oxalates that are good for bone health. It is not recommended for people who are at risk of developing kidney stones because calcium oxalate present in spinach may lead to acid and mineral salt build-up and result in forming kidney stones in them.
- Generally, vitamin k1 is essential in blood clotting in our body. People who use blood thinners are not supposed to intake spinach (in larger amounts) as it is rich in vitamin K1.
Frequently asked questions:
1. How long does it take for spinach from seed to harvest?
It just takes 40- 45 days when you maintain spinach plants properly by keeping a regular check on pests and diseases. Because pests, diseases, weeds are the main reason to slow down the growth of any plants.
2. Can I expect a healthy harvest from bolted spinach plants after cutting their leaves and flower stems?
Spinach is an annual plant that completes its life cycle in one season after producing seeds. If once spinach started producing flowers (contains seeds), the quality of the leaves gets altered making it unsuitable for consumption. So you cannot expect a further harvest from the bolted spinach plants.
3. Does spinach grow back after cutting?
Yes. spinach does grow back to give you two or three harvests if you do not harm the growing point (base of the stem) of the spinach plants. So cut leaves 1 or two inches above the base of the stems.
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