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How to Successfully Grow Spinach from Seed

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Spinach is one of those vegetables that actually grows best in cool climates, so if you plan to grow spinach from seed in zone 3 Alberta like me, or other similar climates, you are in luck! If you would like to learn how to grow abundant amounts of spinach in your backyard garden without it bolting quickly, check out the tips below.

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Considerations for Growing Spinach from Seed

The biggest problem you will most likely experience when growing spinach from seed is having it bolt, or go to seed, without producing many leaves. This can be avoided by growing spinach early in spring or later in the fall once the weather has cooled.

To discourage spinach bolting in the heat of mid summer, consider planting spinach in a partially shaded location. Last year I chose a place in my garden on the north side of my peas. The peas growing up the pea fence provided shade for the growing spinach, keeping the ground cool.

Once growing spinach begins to form seed heads it will continue to put most of its energy into producing seeds and there will be little to no more growth of the spinach leaves. For this reason, once you observe seed heads forming on your spinach plants, it is best to harvest all the usable leaves and to re-plant your next crop of spinach, or something new in that location.

I have successfully succession sown beans between my growing spinach. Once the spinach was finished, the beans had space and time to mature.

When to Plant Spinach Seeds

Sow spinach seeds directly into your garden in early spring as soon as your soil is workable. Spinach can be planted up to 8 weeks BEFORE your last frost. For me, growing spinach in Alberta, I seed my first crop anytime in April. Follow with subsequent plantings every two weeks to maintain a constant supply. Spinach can withstand temperatures as low as - 10 C (18F). Don't worry if you end up with snow on top of your growing spinach, it doesn't seem to mind at all.

Overwintering Spinach

Something new I am trying is overwintering spinach that I planted in the fall. I seeded some spinach at the beginning of September. Around the beginning of October I harvested all the spinach leaves, leaving the roots and covering them with a thick layer of mulch. My hope is that these roots will survive and continue to grow early in the spring. Maybe I will have fresh spinach in March or April! I also tried planting some spinach seeds in the fall. It will be interesting to see if those germinate early in the spring.

Where to Plant Spinach Seeds

When planting spinach in early spring, if possible, plant spinach in a full sun location. When planting later in the year or in warmer climates, consider selecting a partially shaded area to grow spinach. This will help keep the soil cool and discourage the spinach from bolting. When growing spinach in hot weather, choose a variety like New Zealand spinach that is slow to bolt.

The Best Soil for Growing Spinach

Spinach does best in soil with a pH of 6.0 - 6.5. Spinach leaf production improves in soil high in nitrogen. Prepare your garden soil by working compost into your soil in the fall.

Companion Plants for Spinach

Spinach grows well next to brassicas, celery, cilantro, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas and strawberries. Avoid planting spinach next to potatoes.

Find my free printable companion planting guide here.

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Growing spinach in Calgary Alberta, Canada.  When to seed spinach and what to do when your spinach bolts.



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