Tips for Growing Spinach

Updated: Apr 17

Spinach is one of those vegetables that actually grows best in cool climates, so if you plan to grow spinach in zone 3 Alberta like me or other similar climates, you are in luck! With a few tips you can have your garden producing a constant supply of spinach from early in the spring to late into the fall.



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Considerations for Growing Spinach


The biggest problem you will most likely experience when growing spinach 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 bolting in the heat of mid summer, I plant my 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 spinach, keeping the ground cool.


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



When to Plant Spinach


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


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 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 sowing some spinach seeds in the fall. It will be interesting to see if those germinate early in the spring.



Where to Plant Spinach


When planting spinach in early spring, if possible, plant your spinach in a full sun location. When planting later in the year or in warmer climates, consider selecting a partially shaded area to grow your spinach. This will help keep the soil cool and discourage 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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