Sowing to harvest time: 8 to 15 weeks.
Yield: 230gm (8oz) to a plant.
Aspect: Shaded for summer varieties; open but sheltered for winter varieties.
Climate preferred: Cool temperate.
Soil type: Deep, moist and fertile.
Spinach can be tricky to produce on account of its natural tendency to run to seed instead of producing lots of leaves. However, there are steps you can take to ensure success.
The soil for spinach should contain plenty of organic matter and be limed if necessary. Two weeks before sowing, give the soil a top dressing of vegetable fertilizer at the rate oi’ 135gm per sq m (4oz per sq yd). Summer spinach is best grown in the light shade of taller vegetables, for example as a catch crop between rows of peas and beans. Sow the seeds every few weeks from early spring to midsummer in rows 2.5 cm (1 in) deep and 30 cm (12 in apart). Thin the seedlings first to 7.5 cm (3 in) apart and some weeks later to 15 cm (6 in) apart. The plants from the second thinning will provide useful leaves for eating.
Winter spinach should be sown in late summer or early autumn (in warm districts) for harvesting between mid-autumn and mid-spring. In cold districts cover the crop with cloches in late autumn to protect it from frost. Hoe the soil around the plants regularly to keep down weeds and to keep the soil surface open and crumbly. Plenty of water is essential during dry spells.
Pests and diseases
Aphids and damping off.
Cut away the outer leaves when they reach an acceptable size. Store by freezing.
Soil for summer spinach should be rich and rather moist. Dung or compost may be used at 1 cwt. to 10 sq. yd. It is often possible to take a catch crop of spinach off ground already prepared for some other vegetable, but which will not actually be required for a month or so. For summer supplies it is an advantage to sow in partial shade, and in dry places spinach may be grown in furrows about 3 in. deep and 10 in. wide as these can be easily flooded with water.
For winter spinach a sheltered but sunny position should be chosen, and the soil must not be quite so rich. Sulphate of potash, oz. per square yard, should be applied prior to sowing.
Sowing of summer spinach should start in early March and continue at intervals of three or four weeks until mid-July. Then in mid-August a sowing of winter spinach may be made. The seed should always be sown very thinly in drills 1 in. deep and about 1 ft. apart. Thin out the seedlings to 4 in. apart as soon as they can be handled and a little later to 8 in. Give a light top dressing of nitrate of soda, Nitro-chalk, or sulphate of ammonia at 1 oz. to 12 ft. between the rows, after thinning.summer spinach, and in March for the winter kind. The outer leaves should be cut as soon as they attain sufficient size.