The Optimal Time to Pick Spinach
Homegrown spinach has leaves that are more succulent and flavorful than any store-bought variety, but some gardeners have trouble cultivating it. Knowing when to harvest spinach can be the difference between a bountiful harvest and a failure to reap any benefits from your labors. In this piece,
Homegrown spinach has leaves that are more succulent and flavorful than any store-bought variety, but some gardeners have trouble cultivating it. Knowing when to harvest spinach can be the difference between a bountiful harvest and a failure to reap any benefits from your labors. In this piece, I'll explain when it's best to pick young and old greens for a long harvest lasting three or four seasons. In addition, I'll show you how to overwinter your spinach plants so that you can get an early spring harvest from them.If you plant and pick it at the right times, spinach is a highly productive green.
Planting spinach: three excellent options
When spinach is planted is more important than when it is harvested. This is because there is a direct relationship between when seeds are planted and when they are harvested. In regions with four distinct seasons, three of those seasons are optimal for planting spinach. These three seasons are optimal for planting: 1 Primitive Springtime 2 It's either late summer or early fall, and
3. From the end of autumn until the middle of winter
Here is how the harvest date for spinach changes depending on which of the three planting times you choose.
- If you plant spinach seeds or transplants about 8 to 10 weeks before your last expected spring frost (early March in Pennsylvania), you can expect a late spring harvest.
- Spinach is a cool-season crop that benefits from a late-fall planting and a late-fall harvest. Also, you'll find out how to overwinter this crop later on in this article, so you can harvest it in the dead of winter or the first days of spring.
- Spinach seeds planted late in the fall to midwinter (from a couple of weeks before the first frost to a couple of weeks after) will overwinter as dormant soil organisms and germinate very early in the spring. The harvest should occur somewhere between now and mid-spring.
So, those of us who live in a temperate climate with four distinct seasons can actually harvest spinach almost constantly throughout the year.Spinach harvest time is dependent on planting date. It won't be long until you can harvest this spinach grown in the fall.
How well does spinach fare in the summer?
What a perplexing query. Even though spinach doesn't like the heat of summer, it can be harvested from plants sown in the spring if they are covered with a shade cloth or a lightweight row cover. Spinach, on the other hand, "bolts" (goes to flower) as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, meaning that harvesting must be halted. The harvest season can be prolonged by a few weeks through the use of shading devices on the plants. Spinach can be harvested in the summer if you plant Palco, Seaside Hybrid, Olympia, and Corvair, which are resistant to bolting and/or heat.Spinach plants need to be protected from the sun during the warmer months, so a lightweight row cover or shade cloth can be used.
If you live in a warm climate, here's when to plant and when to pick your spinach.
Grow your spinach in the winter if you live in a warm region with mild seasonal changes and warm winters. Spinach is a cool-season crop that can be harvested anywhere from a month to six weeks after the seeds are planted in late autumn. Growers in hot, tropical climates all year round need to diversify their crops. Spinach, which thrives in cool temperatures, won't grow in places where it's always warm.
When does spinach become ready for harvesting?
A few indicators will help you know when to pick your spinach. Each variety of leafy green has a slightly different harvest time. Baby spinach is ready to pick when the leaves have expanded to the U shape. S until they are the size of a golf ball, give or take a quarter About 20-30 days after planting, this will happen. Fresh baby spinach has tender, round leaves.
Harvest mature spinach leaves when they are thick, broad, and often crinkled (though not all varieties produce crinkled leaves). Crinkled-leaf varieties, or savoy-types, are ready to be picked anywhere from 38 to 50 days. Similar maturation times are seen in smooth-leaved species.Both the baby and mature spinach leaves can be used in cooking. The greens here are still quite young.
This year's crop of "baby leaves"
Just a few weeks after planting, the baby leaf harvest occurs, as I mentioned before. Knowing when to start harvesting baby spinach leaves implies that you also know when to stop. Leave the plant's crown alone when harvesting; the plant will continue to thrive and produce new leaves. If you've already harvested baby spinach leaves twice, stop. The plant should be allowed to reach full maturity before being picked for a third time.Baby greens are harvested leaf by leaf, with the growing tip left intact.
When should spinach leaves be picked?
Wait until the plants are mature to harvest if you want fully developed leaves, but don't let them get too old or they will bolt. Refer to the calendar and the days-to-maturity information provided on the seed packet. Or, you could just roll with the punches and pick it whenever you like. It's easy to grow spinach, so it's a great crop to experiment with. Until the weather becomes too warm, the plant will continue to produce leaves as long as the growing point is not removed. In terms of fully developed leaves, I find that Tyee, Avalon, and Bloomsdale Long Standing are some of the best.Picking mature leaves with your thumb and forefinger, a pair of scissors, or a knife are all viable options.
When should spinach that was planted in the spring be picked?
To review what was covered in the first section, an early spring planting of seeds or transplants will yield a harvest sometime between mid- and late-spring. Midway through spring, you can expect to see the first of the baby greens, and by late spring, the fully mature greens.
When should spinach that was planted in the late summer or fall be picked?
Midway through the fall or the beginning of winter is when late summer plantings are harvested. Midway through the fall, or around the month of October in my garden, is when you can start seeing baby greens. However, mature leaves probably won't appear until early the following spring. Because it's simple to overwinter this crop (instructions coming soon!) and harvest it in the winter or early spring.Under a row cover, these spinach seedlings survived the winter in my garden. When growth resumed in the spring, when this picture was taken,
How and when to pick spinach that was planted in the fall or winter
Spinach seeds can be planted for an extremely early spring harvest from a couple of weeks before the first frost to a couple of weeks after. This method of planting spinach consistently yields the first crop of the season for me. The seeds overwinter as dormant in the soil and germinate very early in the spring. As a result, tender young greens can be harvested in early spring and grown into substantial, flavorful leaves. That's my go-to method for growing spinach at home.Mulch, a cold frame, or a hoop tunnel are all suitable places for spinach plants to spend the winter.
Learn how to overwinter spinach for an early crop this spring.
The young plants you get from late summer or early fall seeding can be easily overwintered in one of two ways.
- Accumulating Mulch The first step in winterizing spinach is to cover the plants with shredded leaves or straw that is 3 to 4 inches in depth. Position it directly over the plant tops just before the first hard freeze to prevent plant rot. Keep them warm all winter by burying them in mulch. Approximately 8 weeks before the last spring frost, remove the mulch. When is the best time to pick this type of spinach? Of course, it's springtime!
- Utilizing a hoop tunnel or cold frame Spinach can also be overwintered by placing it in a cold frame or hoop tunnel and covering it with thick plastic or row cover. Wintertime temperatures don't bother the plants because of the insulation. Even in the dead of winter, you can pick a few leaves of greens (carefully avoiding the growing tips) to eat. As soon as a few warm spring days arrive, the plants will start to re-sprout. Plants in a cold frame or hoop tunnel that gets direct sunlight will mature faster.
Increasing spinach yields through successive planting.
Multiple harvests can be achieved by sowing a new row of spinach seeds every week from early spring through late summer and into fall. Succession planting is the most efficient method for increasing crop yields. Make sure to space out your plantings. Space out the planting by a few weeks. Your harvest will be more uniform if you do this.Spinach can be cut with a knife or scissors either leaf by leaf or as a whole plant. Leave the growing point alone, please.
Additional Suggestions for Spinach Gathering
- Not only is knowing when to harvest spinach important, but also knowing how to harvest it (i.e., pinch or cut). You can remove individual stems by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger, or you can use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Some green thumbs use a sharp knife or pair of shears to cut down the entire plant. That method works too (and it's much quicker than going leaf by leaf). When the growing point is still there, new leaves will appear.
- For example, in the spring, many gardeners like to use manure such as that from a horse, cow, or chicken to improve the soil. Keep manure away from spinach and other leafy greens if you overwinter them. Otherwise, you might endanger E contamination from E. coli, even if you believe the manure has been on the compost pile for a long enough amount of time. You shouldn't take that chance.
- Toss the slugs! Slugs love eating baby spinach in the spring. Infesting your spinach garden, they are one of the worst pests you could possibly encounter. You can prevent slugs from ruining your harvest by using an iron phosphate-based organic slug bait.
Knowing when to harvest spinach and when to plant will result in a bountiful harvest of this nutritious green. Try out a few different varieties of spinach in your garden to see which one does the best. Indeed, the outcomes justify the effort.
Please read the following articles for further information on cultivating greens:
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