Splendid Spinach in Containers
Growing Spinach in Containers by Madhvika, MGAC Class of 2019
Spinach is something that I plant every winter around Thanksgiving or near a weekend when we are expecting rain. It saves me the hassle of stepping out in the cold to water frequently to keep the soil moist for the seeds to germinate. I am not too picky about the seed selection. From just the spinach varieties to salad and smoothie mixes, to swiss chard/spinach combinations, they all have worked well. I generally pick up one of these that is organic.
In my personal experience spinach has not responded well to transplanting when started indoors. It could very well be different for others! My container is a rectangle terracotta pot and plastic pots do well, too. I fill it up with organic raised bed potting mix, along with a slow-release fertilizer at the time of planting, and I also replenish it for loss that happens with every planting and harvest and wind, etc. Some people make their soil mix and that works, too, as long as the soil is a rich blend of nutrients and isn’t very tightly packed, allowing for good drainage.
To sow the seeds, I sprinkle them lightly and then cover them with the soil mix. Pat gently and mist water. I mist water a few times a day to keep the soil moist. If it did not rain, then I continue to mist water every day at least for a week. By then I start to see some germination. It speeds up by the third week and then, as the seeds start to grow more, I thin out the ones that are lanky and look overcrowded. With spinach, I do not have to fertilize during the growing season. As soon as the leaves are 3-4 inches long, it is ready to be picked. I use a clean knife or scissors to trim, and it keeps coming back. Typically, toward the end of April is when it does not come back as fast and it kind of dwindles. At that point, I pull out the plants that are just the base and the roots. Since I have limited space, and I am looking forward to using the planter for my spring and summer planting, I do not let it bolt and wait for it to go to seed. I buy seeds for my next crop. I truly enjoy using spinach — in soups, salads, fritters and pasta, and pesto! I hope you do, too!