Sow: March onwards
Harvest: 6-8 weeks afterwards
Conditions: Partial shade to full sun, well-drained soil.
Spinach seeds can take a fortnight to germinate, so be patient at first. Sow the seeds 1 inch deep and in rows 12 inches apart. Spinach can be planted in full sun but has a tendancy to run to seed quickly – planting in a slightly shady spot or among taller plants can help extend the growing life of your spinach. Beans and peas are particularly good because they provide shade and put nitrogen into the soil.
Keep the soil moist in dry weather and keep the area well weeded as this will sap water from the soil; adding some mulch to the area will help the ground retain moisture and keep the weeds down.
You can harvest spinach whenever you think it’s ready, either picking the whole plant or harvesting leaves as you need them. If you pick leaves from the outside in then the plant should continue growing and you can continue picking. Spinach doesn’t keep for long once picked, so leaving it on the plant is the best method of storing it.
TIP: If you’re having trouble germinating your seeds, place them in the fridge for a week before sowing.
To grow one spinach plant, choose a pot about 8 inches deep and at least 10 inches wide. Use a good potting compost and ensure there is good drainage but after that, simply make sure that your soil doesn’t dry out.
In the fridge, spinach will only keep for a couple of days so if you’re growing it, it’s best to keep it on the plant until you need it.
FREEZING – Wash the leaves in cold water, then cut the larger stems off. Blanch in boiling water for about two minutes, allow to cool and drain. Then place in a bag and freeze.
GOOD: Beans, Peas