Growing spinach in winter is a fantastic option for garden enthusiasts who wish to enjoy fresh leafy vegetables in the colder months. Spinach, as a hardy and versatile vegetable, adapts well to lower temperatures and shorter days, making it an ideal winter crop. (Much better than many other leafy vegetables!)
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While many plants struggle in the winter, spinach thrives. It has the ability to withstand frosty conditions and grow extremely quickly. Not only that, but growing spinach in the winter keeps the spinach from bolting.
(Just keep in mind this is only valid for places that get to just freezing at night or slightly lower, not consistently below freezing all day and night).
So how do you grow spinach in winter? Keep reading to find out!
What is Bolting?
Before we get too deep into this article, let’s talk about bolting and why it can actually be better to grow spinach in winter months rather than hot summer days!
The colder days keep spinach from bolting, which is really important, because bolting is when a plant matures quickly to produce seeds. This resistance to bolting allows the plant to focus its energy on producing lush, nutrient-rich leaves, rather than expending most resources on seed production.
Bolting on spinach looks like the stems get longer and the leaves all point straight upward instead of expanding outward. You may see the start of a flower bud on the stem.
How To Grow Spinach in Winter
So how do you grow a thriving spinach crop over winter? Whether you’ve got one plant or multiple, you will not be at a loss for fresh greens.
You can plant spinach anywhere from autumn to mid winter for a crop. Be sure to give it plenty of space to grow, as it does need a lot of soil area and above ground area. If you plant them too close together, you may have an issue of fighting for nutrients and sunlight as the leaves can grow large and overcrowd.
It’s also important to grow your spinach in a sunny spot with full sun being the best option! Since the days are so short in winter, it’s important that the spinach can get as much light as possible. (My spinach grows on my west facing patio that gets sun almost all day).
With general care for the spinach plant, water it regularly to keep it nice and hydrated! Occasionally fertilize, or at least make sure you’ve planted it in nutrient rich soil to start so it has what it needs!
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Harvesting Winter Spinach
With the edible part of spinach being the leaves, it means that after a few weeks of growth you can easily harvest leaves and continually take some off the plant! Be sure to cut the largest leaves on the outside first so the smaller ones have time to grow.
If You See Signs of Winter Spinach Bolting
If you’re coming to the end of winter/start of spring and your spinach is still going strong, you may start to notice it bolting. The leaves will get smaller, and you may see a bud appearing.
If the spinach does flower, it will become extremely bitter! So to keep your crop going for slightly longer, pinch off the flower buds as you see them, and try giving your spinach more shade if you can (with a cover or moving the plant if it’s potted)
Can You Grow Spinach in Containers?
If you don’t have a patch of dirt, worry not, you can easily grow spinach in pots or containers. I’ve had 2 years in a row of successful harvesting of a winter spinach crop grown in pots! Just be sure to water it regularly (but not overwater!).
In Summary: Growing Spinach in Winter
Growing spinach in winter is not only possible but also highly rewarding. With proper care and attention, you can have a garden flourishing with green, nutrient-packed spinach leaves throughout the winter season! Don’t let the cold weather deter you from enjoying your garden. Winter spinach might just be the perfect crop for you.