Growing spinach in containers

Contents

Learn how to spinach in pots, it is one of the vegetables that you can grow in some shade. Growing spinach in containers is easy too you can even grow it indoors on a windowsill.

USDA Zones— 3 – 11

Difficulty— Easy

Other Names— Spinacia oleracea (Scientific Name), Persian vegetable, palak, bōsī cài, 波斯菜, leafy greens

How to Grow Spinach in Pots

Growing Spinach in Pots from Seeds

Sow seeds 1/2 inches deep directly in containers or a seed tray. Seedlings will germinate in 5-14 days depending on the variety and growing conditions. If you have sown seeds in a seed tray wait until 2-3 true leaves appear on each plant and then transplant them into the original pots carefully.

Choosing a pot

For growing spinach in pots, choose a pot that is least 6-8 inches deep. You don’t need a very deep pot rather use a wide pot. You can either use so many small pots and grow one plant in each or select large window boxes, wooden boxes or crates.

Spacing

Provide each spinach plant a space of 3 inches, if you want to pick large leaves, give more space to each plant, 5 inches. If you want to harvest leaves at very young age, then the spacing can be reduced to 2 inches only. Divide the planter box into squares, and see how many plants will feel comfortable in it.

Requirements for Growing Spinach in Containers

Position

If you are growing spinach in fall (autumn), keep the plant in a sunny spot (in mild climates) due to shorter days and less intensity of the sun. For spring and summer planting keep your potted plants in a location where it receives some shade, especially in the afternoon. In subtropical or tropical climate, place the containers in a spot that receives plenty of shade.

Soil

For growing spinach in containers, use quality potting mix rich in organic matter. The texture of soil must be crumbly and loamy. Avoid soil that clogs the drainage and remains waterlogged. Well-draining soil is most important factor for the optimum growth of spinach in containers. Soil pH must be neutral.

Watering

When growing spinach in containers, avoid water stagnation because it will lead to the development of rot and various fungal diseases. Also, avoid wetting the foliage. Keep the soil moist but not soggy or wet. Taking care of good drainage in the pot is necessary.

Temperature

Spinach seeds germinate in temperatures as low as 40 F (4 C) and in high temperatures too. The best soil temperature for growing spinach falls in the range of 50-80 F (10-27 C). Many spinach cultivars can tolerate temperature down to 20 F (-6) and up to 90 F (32 C) easily. Once the temperature starts to soar high, you may need to provide shade to your plants.

Growing Spinach Indoors

Growing spinach indoors on a windowsill is a great idea (as it doesn’t require a lot of sunlight) if you’re short of outdoor space. For this, buy a few 6 inches deep small pots and grow spinach in them. You can also grow herbs and annual flowers there.

Also Read: How to Make a Windowsill Herb Garden

Spinach Care

Growing spinach in pots doesn’t need special care. Regular watering, fertilizing and the right soil is the key to the great harvest.

Fertilizing

For growing healthy green spinach, you have to provide nitrogen. At the time of planting, you can mix time-based fertilizer, or you can add a lot of compost or well-rotted manure, this will provide nutrients slowly. Feeding the plant with fish emulsion, compost or manure tea in the middle of the growth and so on is a nice organic way to promote the plants. If you have not done added time-based fertilizer, you can also feed the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer at regular intervals.

Mulching

Do mulching, even if you’re growing spinach in pots. Mulching plants with organic matter will help in retaining moisture.

Pests and Diseases

You don’t need to worry much about pests as you’re growing spinach in containers, in a small space and you can easily control them. However, keeping an eye on leaf-eating insects like slugs and caterpillars and other common garden pests like aphids will help you in eliminating them in time.

A Few Tips for Growing Spinach in Tropics

It is a cool season crop, but growing spinach in tropics and subtropics is extremely easy. Moreover, you can grow it successively as a bi-annual crop, except in hot summer months. You’ll need to provide it shade and enough water to keep the soil temperature cool and moist.

In warm weather, vegetables like lettuce and spinach begin to bolt early and start to set seeds. One of the most important things you need to consider when growing spinach in tropics is to grow heat tolerant varieties (there are a lot of Asian varieties that are suitable for tropical climate) that grow slowly and do not bolt quickly. These varieties easily tolerate the heat and humidity.

Harvesting

The spinach plant will be ready for harvest 37-50 days after germination depending on the growing conditions and cultivar.

Harvesting can be done when the plant has formed at least 5-6 healthy leaves, and they are at least 3-4 inches long. Pick outer leaves first and leave the new inner leaves so that they continue to grow or cut the whole plant off at the base with a knife or scissor, the plant will resprout again.

When the weather becomes humid and hot (in warm climates) the plant tends to form an erect stem, on which you can see some small yellow or green flowers developing. To coincide with the flowering and the subsequent production of flowers, the foliage of the plant thickens and changes in flavor (more bitter), which is called bolting, so it is convenient to harvest the plant before it starts flowering for better taste.

Spinach is a wonderful addition to any front-yard garden in north Florida. Homegrown spinach has a remarkable flavor, very different than that of frozen or canned spinach from the grocery store. It is one of the most nutritious greens grown in the South and one of the most cold-tolerant.

Spinach is a cool season vegetable. In north Florida, spinach is typically planted during October and November. The plants need cool, short days to grow well. Spinach will stand up to frost but not warm weather. If you plant spinach too early in the fall, when the ground is too warm, the seed may not germinate. If the weather is too warm after the seeds germinate, the spinach is likely to bolt, or prematurely flower, leaving you without much of a harvest.

The varieties of spinach recommended for north Florida include Bloomsdale, Virginia Savory, Melody, Tyee, Olympia and Longstanding.

Spinach can have a smooth leaf, crinkled leaf (Savoy) or a semi-crinkled leaf. I prefer a smooth leaf variety, such as Tyee, because the leaves are easier to clean after they are harvested and are better suited for salads.

Spinach will do best if planted in a sunny location. It likes a moist, organic-rich soil. Seeds are typically planted ¼” to ¾” deep. I usually plant one every inch and thin later to 4” to 5” apart by snipping the plants that I don’t want to keep with a pair of scissors. In this manner I do not disturb the soil or the roots of the plants that remain. Rows should be spaced 12 inches to 18 inches apart.

I generally mix in a good quality, balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) in the soil before I sow the seeds and then side dress the plants once a month as they mature. A good quality fertilizer will have both fast and slow release forms of nitrogen and include a good micronutrient package. Before planting, I usually mix some organic material into the soil such as compost from the yard or composted cow manure from the garden center. I also like to include some iron in the mix. Spinach seems to really appreciate it. I typically mix in about a handful of Ironite per 10-foot row.

If I want to give the seedlings a fast start, about two weeks after they emerge, I water with some Peters 20-20-20 fertilizer.

Water often enough to keep the ground moist but not saturated. Spinach needs to be evenly moist throughout its growing season

Spinach matures in about 40 to 70 days depending on the type you are growing. It is ready to harvest when the spinach leaves are big enough to pick.

In Niceville, the biggest pest problem that I generally encounter when growing spinach is aphids. Aphids spread Mosaic disease in spinach, which causes plants to be stunted and have mottled leaves When I see them I spray my spinach plants with a solution of water and liquid dish soap – four tablespoons of Lemon Fresh Joy to a gallon of water (avoid soaps with extra grease cutting ingredients).

When the plants are young and tender they may be attacked by worms or caterpillars. If the leaves are being eaten away or you see holes in the leaves, apply a Baccillus thuringiensis (BT) product such as Dipel dust, or Thuricide, a liquid concentrate. Small holes in the leaves could be from flea beetles. Try Bayer Advanced for Vegetables to control them.

Spinach is usually harvested by removing the whole plant once it reaches full size. If you choose this method, be careful to harvest the plant before the leaves become tough and before the plant bolts. Harvest early in the morning for best flavor. Cut whole plants about 1” above the soil.

Instead of harvesting the whole plant, you can harvest just the outside leaves of each plant as they grow. In this manner the plants remain growing, and producing new leaves for a good part of the winter. If you choose this method, you should remember to remove leaves that begin to yellow. If this is not done the plants tend to become less productive and may bolt.

Spinach leaves should be washed in cool water immediately after harvest. Spinach is best when eaten fresh from the garden, however, spinach leaves can be stored 10-14 days if refrigerated at near 32 degrees.

List Of 15 Easiest Vegetables To Grow In Florida

  • #5 October,2018

The warm and humid Florida conditions are perfect for planting and growing vegetables and most of them all throughout the year. There are a host of vegetables that you can grow in this Sunshine State and we have for you a list of options to choose from.

1. TOMATOES

The versatile vegetable is among the much sought-after by everyone that wants to grow something in their kitchen garden. The plant grows well with a lot of sun and little water all through the summer months. They are also easy to maintain as all you need to do is cut the leaves for the roots to go deep in the soil.

2. BEETS

Again, an easy to grow vegetable, what you need to do is space them out when planting and keeping the soil moist. Start planting them in October for best results as they prefer a little cooler weather. Each root is a seed cluster that calls for spacing for the root to form else it is only leaves that will grow. Avoid too much nitrogen that will stunt their growth. They are best plucked when they have attained a diameter of 2 ½ inches.

3. RADISHES

Fast to grow and easy to tend, they are great for health and have a good taste especially when coming from your home garden. The best time to plant it would be around mid-October. Water the seeds that you have planted about three inches apart and half an inch in the ground every alternate day. They should be ready to pluck in about thirty days’ time.

4. CABBAGE

The best time to plant it is early fall so that you have a large growth of the bud by February-March. The vegetable grows really large and heavy in Florida and is a delight to taste. It needs regular fertilization for a fabulous size.

5. KOHLRABI

Take care to plant the tiny Kohlrabi seeds thinly so that they get enough space to attain its full growth as space-ship-shaped. They need to be planted when the weather is still warm for them to grow well during the cooler days.

6. BROCCOLI

A prolific grower, they are best planted in October when it has become to get cooler. Plant them at about a distance of eighteen inches, fertilize them once a month and water them moderately. In a month’s time, the head will grow large like that of a volleyball and make sure to pick them before the buds start turning yellow. When you cut the head, it will lead to further growth giving you food for months.

7. CAULIFLOWER

The timing for growing Cauliflower and the tending to it is almost the same as that of Broccoli. The single white head or flower as you may call it better not be left too long but plucked when still young.

8. CARROTS

Take the tiny seeds and rub them among your fingers and spray them through a light spray into the soil. Water the soil and cover it and once the stalks sprout, thin them out for the roots to get enough space to grow. The time that it takes for the full roots to grow depends on the variant of the seeds that will be clearly indicated so that you can pluck them accordingly.

9. LETTUCE, SPINACH, ARUGULA, SWISS CHARD and RADICCHIO

All of these greens grow well in the cool weathers and struggle during warm spells. To be able to enjoy all of the harvest, space out there sowing by a couple of weeks. Once they have grown, make sure to cut them right at the bottom to help induce more growth for longer months.

10. PEPPERS

Peppers enjoy the sun and heat in moderation which makes spring the best time to grow them. It is best to plant seedlings in the kitchen garden and they should be planted pretty close as they like to grow by “holding hands”. Water them well regularly and fertilize once in a month reducing the water once the fruit nears maturity.

11. GREEN BEANS

Green Beans tolerate heat well and it is better to start planting them in early fall. Soak the seeds in water overnight and sow them an inch down in the ground. In a week you will get a muscular growth of plants. Beans are prone to disease and so avoid direct touch contact with the leaves. Keep them well watered below the level of the leaves. Avoid yanking the beans when plucking them and cut them with scissors – it will help the plant keep producing more.

12. PEAS

As cold weather crops, they are best planted when the weather has cooled off. Place the seeds an inch into the ground and set the prop for them to climb. Water them regularly and start picking the pods when formed so that you can have more produce from a bed of peas.

13. KALE

Plant the seeds thinly at least six inches apart. Once they have taken growth, cut the leaves at the bottom for a great yield.

14. CUCUMBER

Plant them when the weather has become warm for the plant to sprawl out and give you a good yield. Their roots need a lot of space for growth and so space them out at length.

15. HERBS

Basil: They are great to keep bugs away and so you can interplant with something like the tomatoes.
Dill: Has a slow growth but with patience, you will have a great produce.
Cilantro: Grow them during winter for a flavorful herb addition to your food.

Watering and Fertilizing Spinach

The time to think about fertilizing spinach is before you even plant it. Mixing in a nitrogen-rich fertilizer into the soil before planting will result in much higher yields. When it comes to watering spinach, consistency is the name of the game, as the plants grow best in perpetually moist soil.

Watering Spinach

Keeping the soil most is important when growing spinach. This serves two purposes – it allows the plants to absorb moisture from the soil and it also serves to cool down the soil. Spinach plants tend to bolt quickly in hot weather. When this happens, the leaves become nearly inedible fairly quickly. By keeping the soil moist and cool, you can prolong the harvest season, giving you more spinach leaves to pick.

Spinach does best with 1-1.5 inches of rain per week. If you don’t get any rain, you’ll need to water the plants yourself. They do much better with 3-4 light soakings per week, as opposed to one long deep soak. The roots don’t run very deep and they aren’t very efficient at extracting moisture that isn’t close to the surface of the soil. On the other hand, if the soil stays soggy for extended periods of time, the plants won’t do well either. The idea here is to keep the surface soil consistently damp.

A good way to keep the soil moist and cool is to apply mulch. Spinach plants don’t get very tall, so it can be impractical to mulch right up to the base of the plant. However, a layer of mulch applied on each side of the row can do wonders to help the soil retain moisture. Grass clippings, straw and chopped up leaves all work well as mulch.

Fertilizing Spinach

Before planting, we suggest working a combination of compost and a balanced fertilizer into the soil. We like to do this a few days before planting the seeds, so the fertilizer has a chance to break down a little bit. If you want to grow organically, use fish emulsion or well-rotted manure as soil additives before you plant.

A balanced fertilizer works fine for spinach, but something with a bit more nitrogen also works well. Something like 10-10-10 will get the job done. When choosing a fertilizer, pay attention to the three number code on the package. These numbers indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium that are contained in that particular bag, respectively.

We mix in a balanced granular fertilizer before planting, and then use a water-soluble fertilizer every 2 weeks or so while the plants are growing. This way, the plants get off to a great start and then we’re able to save time by watering and fertilizing them at the same time. We fertilize spinach about every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

If you want to use a granular fertilizer while the plants are growing, use it as a side dressing along the edge of the row and apply it once every month or so. Pay attention and avoid letting the granules come in contact with the plants, as it will burn them. After applying a granule fertilizer, water it in well immediately.

If you want to grow organically, you can side dress with any organic fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen. Plant and manure-based composts work well and can be applied once or twice during the growing season. In addition, any balanced or nitrogen-rich organic fertilizer that is water-soluble will also work fine.

Now that you know about watering and fertilizing spinach, it’s time to think about harvesting those succulent leaves…

Water spinach

Note Number: AG0897
Published: March 2002
Updated: June 2012 and September 2013

Amaranth species follow the C4 pathway in photosynthesis (over 95% of plant species have C3 pathways). This pathway occurs only in a few other crop plants such as maize, sorghum and sugarcane, and enables the plant to use light and water more efficiently in converting CO2 to carbohydrate. This is particularly advantageous when sunlight is abundant.

Introduction

Chinese spinach (Amaranthus gangeticus) belongs to the Amaranthaceae family, and is one of a number of cultivated species. The Amaranth family is a very large group of plants, which also includes a number of important herbs of the tropics. The Amaranthaceae family has originated in the topics of America, Africa and Asia, but the plants belong to this family are now grown all over the world.

The average height of mature Chinese spinach plants is about 35 cm, but some species can grow up to 150 cm tall when flowering occur.

The leaves are soft-textured, and go limp quickly after being picked. They can be pointed or round, and vary in colour from light to dark green, with a reddish centre or red markings.

The leaf variegations range from dark green, brown, and red to golden yellow. Leaves also vary in size, the largest being fairly broad and up to about 15 cm long. In some varieties, the leaves are much smaller. Large-leafed forms seem to be more vigorous than those with small leaves. Stems are soft and juicy, and are very often blotched with red.

The numerous small seeds produced by Chinese spinach are edible. The flowers are small, crimson or greenish in colour, and are borne on erect terminal clusters, which grow up to 20 cm long, appear in late summer and are not edible.

The leaves are nutritious; rich in protein, magnesium, iron, calcium and vitamins A and C. Chinese spinach tastes somewhat like artichoke, but can develop a ‘hot’ taste in older plants.

Chinese Spinach has different names according to language and dialect, with some examples being Amaranthus, Edible amaranth, Edible amaranth spinach, Bayam (Malaysia and Indonesia), Calaloo (Caribbean) and Klaroen (Surinam). It is also named Xian cai in Mandarin, Yin choi/In tsoi in Cantonese and Hi-yu-na in Japanese.

Uses

Very young leaves and stems are used raw in salads. Colourful red leaves look most attractive. In cooked dishes, Chinese spinach is used very much like spinach and can be substituted in any spinach recipes. It cooks faster than normal spinach, so more care should be taken not to overcook it. It is best treated simply: steamed, stir-fried, and mixed in with meat or fish dishes.

In Asia and the West Indies, Chinese spinach is widely used in soup. In Jamaica, it is routinely eaten at breakfast and dinner.

Growing requirements

Climate

Chinese spinach can be grown in both tropical and temperate zones. Humid, sunny conditions are advantageous but not essential for growth. However it will not tolerate frost or freezing temperatures. Some varieties grown under cover or outdoors in a warm climate are liable to self-seed, and can easily become weeds.

Although the crop can be grown on a wide range of soils, Chinese spinach performs best in light, sandy and fertile soil.

Good soil drainage helps to alleviate problems with root diseases, and can be achieved by using raised beds. Amaranth tolerates fairly acid soils, with a pH range between 5.5 and 7.0. If soil pH is lower than 5.5, a dressing of agricultural lime or dolomitic limestone should be applied at least a month before sowing and earlier if the soil lacks adequate moisture.

Crop management

Sowing

The soil temperature should be above 10°C to achieve good germination. In heated greenhouses, first sowings can occur very early in spring. After all risk of frost is over, seeds can be sown outdoors.

The seeds are sown directly into beds, and successive sowings every fortnight are used to give a longer cropping period. The seeds are very small and should be sown after first mixing with coarse wet sand.

Chinese spinach germinates best in the dark, so cover seed well after sowing. Sow the seed 15 mm to 25 mm deep in rows. Seedlings appear 2-3 weeks after seeds are sown, and can be transplanted out when about 2 cm high and showing 2-3 true leaves. Thinning is usually necessary after direct seeding, and can be done 2-3 weeks after sowing, when plants are at the two to four leaf stage. Final plant spacing should be 8 x 8 cm. The larger of the thinned plants can be used for eating.

Chinese spinach can also be propagated from cuttings, which are usually taken from younger growth or side shoots that have not flowered.

As the crop grows best in light and loose soils, regular hoeing is advisable to prevent the soil from becoming compacted.

Nutrition and irrigation

To produce quality Chinese spinach, the crop must be given sufficient nutrients. Weekly applications of fertiliser to provide 18 kg/ha N, 18 kg/ha P and 36 kg/ha K, is recommended for high yields.

Farmers who use chemical fertilizers should be aware of the potential dangers of using phosphatic fertilisers with high levels of cadmium. Research has shown that the use of phosphatic fertilisers which contain the heavy metal cadmium as a contaminant can increase cadmium levels in both soil and the produce. There are legal maximum levels of cadmium allowable for vegetables sold in Australia. Fertilisers containing cadmium in excess of 1 mg/kg are required to state the following warning:

“WARNING – this product contains cadmium. Continued use of this product in agricultural situations may lead to residue levels in plant and animal products in excess of the maximum level specified by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code and the accumulation of cadmium in soils.”

It is in the grower’s and consumer’s interests to minimise the addition of cadmium to soils and agricultural produce. Growers should consult fertiliser suppliers or manufacturers for advice on the cadmium levels of fertilisers they are considering using. There are a number of low cadmium horticultural fertilisers marketed today. These have lower levels of cadmium than some superphosphate and other fertilisers.

Fowl manure is a good source of organic matter and nutrients. If deep-litter fowl manure is applied at a rate of 200 bags (22 cubic metres) to the hectare, then the fertiliser rates can be reduced by one third. Fowl manure must be worked into moist soil more than six weeks before sowing, as mites from fowl manure and crop residues can damage the crop.

Chinese spinach should be irrigated to keep the soil constantly moist for succulent growth, but the crop cannot tolerate wet soil.

Pests and diseases

Many chewing insects such as vegetable weevils, mites, caterpillars, cutworms and grubs attack Chinese spinach.

It is recommended that seed not be sown into a recently cultivated area where an old crop has been worked into the soil.

The fungus, Choanephora spp, causes wet rot of leaves and young stems, and Pythium spp causes damping-off of seedlings. Fusarium spp. also affects the crop and the disease can be managed by practicing long rotations and using “new” ground for summer crops.

Chinese spinach is also susceptible to nematodes and bacterial wilt.

Harvesting and storage

Chinese spinach takes 6-8 weeks from sowing to reach the cropping stage. There are several ways to harvest the crop.

Tips of larger plants can be picked while quite young. Alternatively the whole plant may be pulled from the ground, roots and all, when approximately 25 cm tall. Chinese spinach can regrow rapidly so an alternative method is to cut mature plants back to 3 cm above ground level, leaving some of the stem and a few basal leaves to promote regrowth.

Growth depends on temperature, but by using these methods, harvesting can continue over several months for the smaller-leaved varieties. Any flowers, which appear, must be removed.

In the tropics, up to 10 harvests are possible from the same area each year. Total yield may rise to 40-80 t/ha if the crop is harvested by repeated cuttings or thinning.

Because Chinese spinach can be sold as whole plants, it keeps better than most other leafy vegetables. The plants can be wrapped in a damp towel, encased in a plastic bag, and refrigerated for up to a week before use.

Marketing

There are certain times of the year when Chinese spinach is in demand such as during the various ethnic holiday celebrations; particularly in the Indian and Indonesian communities. In early spring, leaves are young and tender, so they can be generally sold loose, not bunched. Some green grocers sell Chinese spinach as bunches. Crushed ice may also be used in containers of Chinese spinach sent to distant markets.

Further references

Dahlen, M (1992) A Cook’s Guide to Chinese Vegetables, the Guide Book Company Ltd, Hong Kong

Fenton-Smith, J (1995) A Grower’s Guide to Vegetables, Murdoch Books, Sydney, Australia

Graham, J (1984) Cooking with Herbs and Spices, Reed Books Pty. Ltd. NSW, Australia

Hackett, C. and Carolina, J (1982) Edible Horticultural Crops, Academic Press Australia

Hillhouse, C (1991) Vegetable Amaranth, Vegetable leaflet, The Small Farm Centre, University of California, USA

Larckom, J (1991) Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook, John Murray Ltd. London

Nguyen, V. Q (1992) Growing Asian Vegetables, Affect H8.1.37, NSW Agriculture.

Contact/Services available

Correct diagnosis is essential for effective pest and disease control. A commercial diagnostic service is available at the AgriBio Bundoora.

For further information, phone Crop Health Services on (03) 9032 7515.

For further information on registered chemicals, phone our Customer Services Centre on 136 186.

Acknowledgements

This Agriculture Note was developed by the Farm Diversification Information Service of Bendigo, Murat Top and Bill Ashcroft, DEPI in March 2002.

It was reviewed by Farm Services Victoria in June 2012 and September 2013.

ISSN 1329-8062

Published and Authorised by:
Department of Environment and Primary Industries
1 Spring Street
Melbourne, Victoria

This publication is copyright. No part may be reproduced by any process except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968.

The advice provided in this publication is intended as a source of information only. Always read the label before using any of the products mentioned. The State of Victoria and its employees do not guarantee that the publication is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability for any error, loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication

Growing Water Spinach.

How to Grow Water Spinach – A Step by Step Guide

Most of the people would be wondering what is water spinach? Well, water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) or kangkong is a member of the Convolvulaceae or Morning glory family and the same genus as the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). Growing water spinach is very popular as a vegetable, particularly in the Southeast Asian region.

Water spinach is a semi-aquatic, tropical plant which is essentially grown as a vegetable for its tender shoots and leaves. Water spinach is known by different names such as kangkong, water convolvulus, Chinese watercress, river spinach, water morning glory, Chinese convolvulus, Chinese spinach, and swamp cabbage.

Requirements of production:

Requirements for Water Spinach Gardening.

You may also be interested in How to Grow Mung Beans.
Soil requirement:

Growing water spinach or kangkong needs moist, wet and nutrient-rich soil of pH level around 6.0 to 7.0.

Climate requirement:

Water spinach is not adapted to climates with mean temperatures below 10°C and the optimal temperature is around 20°C to 30°C. It is grown year-round in the tropics. Tree flowering occurs under short-day conditions and commences from mid-summer onwards. Water spinach is perennial in warm climates, although, an annual under cooler growing conditions. It tolerates high rainfall, but not frost.

You may read about Briquetting Process.

Sun requirement:

Water spinach grows in a warm and humid subtropical and tropical climate, so it is essential to provide it full sun. However, Water spinach also grows in partial shade.

What kind of fertilizers should be applied:

If growing Water spinach on the ground you don’t need to fertilize it often but in containers fertilize it with high in nitrogen liquid fertilizer every other week.

Water spinach plant care:

The water spinach plants are easy to grow and they generally require less care. Although taking additional care will be good for the growth of the plants.

Growing methods:

Growing water spinach or Kangkong is very easy, as long as the soil is moist consistently.

Propagation:

Propagation of water spinach is either by seeds or by cuttings. Sow the seeds in clean potting soil (sow about 0.5 centimeters deep). Ensure that you keep the seeds consistently moist. Also that the temperature should remain around 68°F (20°C). Germination occurs within a couple of weeks. To speed up the germination then soak the seeds overnight in water.

Growing water spinach from cuttings is the easiest method to propagate it. Just cut several 30 to 40cm long cuttings from young growth and plant 15 cm deep in potting mix.

Water spinach can be grown from seed, often soaked for 24 hours before sowing. Can be easily propagated from cuttings just below a node; Water Spinach freely roots at the node. One source that commercial operations will take cuttings approximately 12 inches (30 cm) in length (which will have 7-8 nodes) and plant them 6 to 7.5 inches (15-20 cm) deep.

Water spinach can be raised from stem cuttings, 30 to 40 cm long, taken from the young growth just below a node, and planted about 15 cm deep. To make sure earliness, growers in China sometimes lift roots at the end of the season, store them carefully in winter, and plant shoots from them in spring.

Production:

Water spinach plant is a frost sensitive plant. Optimal temperatures for development are between 75° and 85° F and chilling injury can occur below 50° F. Direct seed or transplants can be used. Many Asian growers in Massachusetts will soak the seed until germination to ensure the seed is possible. Growers plant in beds with 6 to 10 seeds per foot in rows that are 6 to 8 inches wide. Plant stems are not strong, but plants grown in beds support each other and generate longer stems with less branching, which is what the market prefers.

Water spinach needs much more water than other vegetable crops. This increased irrigation can leach out readily obtainable nutrients, so it is recommended to use slow-release forms of fertility. Harvest of the entire plant can be made 50 – 60 days after planting. Plants are harvested by cutting the stem close to the ground and then nitrogen is useful to encourage re-growth. Shoots regrow readily and in Massachusetts, growers will obtain two to three cuttings of water spinach before frost.

Germination time:

When planted in the right soil, water spinach seeds germinate very quickly. It takes about 5-9 days for the seeds to germinate. Sow the plant seeds at different times throughout the spring for a longer harvest.

Sowing method:

Water spinach can be grown in a pot or on the ground. You can also plant Water spinach near the edge of a pond or other water bodies.

When rainfall is low, frequent heavy irrigations are essential for high-quality shots. To generate strong seedlings, seed should be sown 5-10 mm deep in trays with potting mix deep enough to allow the plants to increase a good root system. Transplanting must take place when plants are 10-15 cm high, with four true leaves. Highest yields can be obtained by spacing plants at 15×15 cm. They can be grown in rows about 30 cm apart with plants at 20 cm spacing within rows.

How to plant water spinach:

In moist soil culture, the crop is grown on raised beds 60 to 100 cm wide. Water spinach seeds are sown directly or nursery-grown seedlings are transplanted into the beds. The water spinach plants readily root from cuttings. So planting the cuttings is the easiest approach for growing water spinach. While you can plant seeds for growing water spinach. The seed must be no more than 2 years old and can be soaked for 24 hours before sowing to encourage germination. This will help to germinate the seeds very faster. Then scatter the seeds in your prepared bed, and transplant later when the seedlings reach 4 to 6 inches height. Planting the seedlings in rows will be good for additional caring. Plant the seedlings to at least six inches apart. Soil temperature requirement for germination is about 20°C.

Some points will be considered while growing water spinach;

  • Select a planting garden site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.
  • Prepare the garden soil with aged manure about a week before planting, or, you can wish to prepare your spot in the fall so that you can sow the seeds outdoors in early spring after the ground thaws.
  • Although seeds can be started indoors, it is not recommended, as seedlings are hard to transplant.
  • Sow seeds half an inch to one inch deep, covering lightly with soil. Sow about 12 seeds per foot of row, or sprinkle over a wide row or bed.
  • Water the new plants regularly well in the spring.

Plant spacing:

Water spinach doesn’t need a ton of room, but overcrowded water spinach seedlings can end up competing with each other for light, water, and nutrients so it’s best to provide them plenty of room to grow. Once spinach seedlings start to grow their true leaves, thin them out so they are about 4-6 inches apart.

Using a container to grow Kangkong:

Growing water spinach in a pot or container is ideal. Growing water spinach in a pot will also thwart nematodes and other soil-borne pests and diseases.

When planting water spinach in a container, use a rich loamy soil mixed with compost. Select a container with at least 12 inches in depth and diameter. The plant can grow well in partial or full sun, but at least four hours of sunlight is ideal for it to grow more leaves. Maintain the soil moist by regular watering. Water deeply to make sure the deepest roots are reached. Daily watering is required during the hot and dry summer months.

You may also read the How to Grow Moringa Tree from Cuttings.

How and when to harvest:

When you are harvesting water spinach, just harvest the bigger leaves. Use a pair of scissors to cut the spinach leaf off from the main plant. Do not pull with your fingers as it may affect the uprooting of the plant. It does take a little more time when harvesting spinach with a pair of scissors, but it protects the plant from any kind of root shock. Once you have harvested the mature leaves the smaller leaves will start growing fast and new leaves will appear.

Water spinach must be harvested before it flowers. A first harvest date of nutritious water spinach is generally 4 to 6 weeks after planting and depending more on the temperature and growing conditions. Cut only a few leaves or entire plant with leaves and stems leaving only three inches of growth, the plant will regrow again. Both water spinach stems and leaves can be eaten.

Some facts about water spinach:

  • Water spinach or Kangkong grows rapidly and they are among the very fast growing vegetables.
  • In subtropical and tropical climate you can grow water spinach anytime but in cooler climates plant it between late springs to early summer.
  • Kangkong is one of the very familiar green leafy vegetables used in the South and South-East Asian cuisine.
  • Actually, water spinach is a member of the Morning glory family and the same genus as the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). It is an herbaceous aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial plant of the tropics and subtropics. It has a creeping growth habit but could grow erect in water.
  • Growing hydroponic spinach versus soil grown spinach means to harvest more crops per year, with consistent quality and yields. If you seed every 2 weeks and have a few different areas in your system you can harvest mature and full crops every two weeks.
  • The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued more than 50 active permits in Rosharon for increasing water spinach or Kangkong plants, an extremely regulated, invasive plant that the federal government considers a noxious weed, creation it illegal to sell across state lines without a permit.
  • Water spinach will grow all year long in hot, humid weather.
  • Generally, water spinach can be grown outside in summer. In cool areas, it can be grown in unheated greenhouses in summer but will need heated greenhouses for a spring crop. It prefers full sun but where summer temperatures are high, it is sometimes grown as a ground cover beneath climbing plants. Water spinach must be sheltered from strong winds.
  • Water spinach is very perishable. It stores well in the refrigerator for about a day but occasionally can make it 2 to 3 days.
  • A single water spinach plant can grow to over 70 feet long, attaining this great length at a rate of 4 inches a day.
  • Propagate kangkong or water spinach easily from seeds or through stem cuttings. Sow the seeds in a seed tray or directly into a medium sized container or pot. Make sure to allow a minimum of three inches of distance in between the seeds. They germinate easily in a matter of days. In a few more days, move the seedlings to a sunny spot outside.

Read: How to Start a Goat farming Business in India.

I grew up believing that spinach was a slimy, tasteless abomination that came into the world in tins, like soup or ravioli. For the first misconception, I blame school dinners; for the second, Popeye the Sailor Man, who could open a can with one clench of his muscles. “I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me spinach,” and all that.

But that was hundreds of years ago. Most modern kids only know spinach in its washed and plastic-wrapped form. Bring it into the kitchen straight from the garden, leaves speckled with earth and the odd snail, and you’ll help them to make the connection between what they eat and messy, muddy nature.

That’s the theory, spoiled only by the fact that they’ll refuse to touch it. Still, that leaves more for the rest of us.

For nine months of spinach or more (even a whole year, with a sheltered site and a mild winter) you’ll need to sow seeds into well-composted and fertilised soil every three or four weeks from early spring to early autumn, avoiding cucumbers, which can transmit a disease called blight, and protecting the plants with cloches or fleece in the depths of winter, when growth will slow before the spring bounce-back. You’ll need two varieties: “long day” for spring and summer crops and “short day” for autumn and winter. As always, it pays to read the seed packet.

The seeds you sow in late April should give you the first baby leaves by the start of June and larger plants two to four weeks later. For single plants, sow the seeds thinly in drills – rows – 30cm apart. Thin seedlings to one plant every 15cm. For cut-and-come-again leaves, sow thinly in drills that are 10cm apart. They shouldn’t need much care afterwards, apart from regular watering. Keeping the soil moistwill offer some protection against “bolting” – premature flowering and a slump in leaf growth. This is the spinach-grower’s bane, so buy bolt-resistant varieties if you can.

Otherwise, in spring, you can combine sowings of spinach with Swiss chard, which is less of a prima donna. Pick it young, and you can treat it like spinach; allow it to mature and you’ll want to slice out the thick stem, which you can steam, stir-fry or use in gratins.

Phil Daoust is a food writer based in England and France. Twitter: @philxdaoust

Do you want to grow your own greens, but don’t have a yard or balcony? No problem! With the right container garden and proper lighting, you can still grow your own food inside. Urban and vertical gardening has changed the stakes in recent years, and you can use a variety of small containers to help you feed your family by growing spinach indoors. The options are endless, and the process is easy!

Spinach Varieties to Grow Indoors

Devanath /

The best spinach variety for you may depend on how much sunlight you can provide. Don’t worry if your home doesn’t offer much natural light either (more on this later). Spinach is a healthy veggie that can grow in the shade, making it great for containers.

You may need to consider your climate when selecting a variety. If you live in a tropical or hot location, for example, a heat- or humidity-tolerant variety will perform better. Varieties that perform well in hot weather include New Zealand and Malabar spinach. Likewise, colder climates may require a more winter-tolerant variety. These tend to grow in late summer and early fall for harvest in the winter months.

The main difference between spinach varieties comes down to taste. They’re broken into:

  • Savory: Handles the cold well but requires regular leaf cleanings. Bloomsdale is a classic savory spinach with thick leaves and a large yield.
  • Semi-savory: Better at resisting diseases and bolting, semi-savory varieties are a great choice for a home garden. There are four main varieties: Tyee (can grow all year-round), Catalina, Teton, and Indian Summer.
  • Smooth-leafed: As the name suggests, these varieties have smooth, flat foliage that’s easy to keep clean. It’s a top choice for processed spinach, with varieties including Space, and the fast-to-harvest Red Cardinal.

How to Plant Spinach Inside

Vitamin /

With the right care, even beginners can learn to grow this delicious plant. You can begin growing spinach indoors just before the weather warms, after the last frost. Cultivating 15 plants or so is ideal to feed every person in your family.

Placement

Spinach is easy to grow indoors on your kitchen windowsill, as long as it doesn’t receive a lot of direct sunlight. Although planting the veggie indoors allows you to control its environment, spinach grows best in USDA planting zones 3-11. As a result, if you live in a tropical climate, you’ll need to put the containers in the shade.

Where you put your spinach plants may be determined based on when you want to grow the plants. Autumn plants, for example, require a sunny location because the days are shorter, and the sun is less intense. Summer and spring sunlight, however, will require you to place your potted plants in a slightly shady location. Afternoon shade is vital.

Proper Lighting

As you well know, sunlight is important for all plants. If your spinach isn’t getting enough sunlight inside your home, you can use lights to help it grow. Some gardeners only use grow lights during the winter months, while others prefer to use them for indoor gardens year-round. You can build your own grow light shelving system, or purchase a pre-made set.

When growing spinach in containers, select a high-quality potting mix made for indoor plants. Make sure it’s rich and well-draining soil, with a loamy and crumbly texture and neutral pH balance. Container-grown spinach won’t grow well if it becomes waterlogged.

Space Between Seedlings

Sow your spinach seeds about 1/2 an inch deep, pushed directly into the container or a seed tray. Leave around 3 inches of space in between seeds for the best results. Alternatively, 2 inches of space is okay if you want to harvest your leaves earlier in the season.

Germination Time

congerdesign /

Expect to see the seedlings germinate around 5-14 days after planting, depending on the variety. In the right growing conditions, most seeds sown into a seed tray will display about 2 or 3 leaves per plant. At that point, it’s time to carefully transplant them into a pot.

You can grow one plant per 8-inch container, or several plants in a large container. Because the plants are sensitive to the heat, stay away from ceramic or metal containers. These will heat up quickly and may need to be moved into the shade during the hot summer.

Planting Spinach in Vertical Wall Gardens

If your home is really small or you don’t have much growing space, you can grow spinach in vertical wall gardens or spinach towers as well. This technique normally involves stacking a series of small containers or tiered containers so you can grow plants upwards.

Vertical wall gardens can help you grow more in less space, and planting Malabar is especially great if you want to grow indoors. This type grows on a vine, allowing it to reach up to 30 feet long. Unlike most varieties, Malabar grows well in hot temperatures, but still tastes like traditional spinach. Use it in a stir-fry or salad for the best results.

How to Care for Spinach

Free-Photos /

There’s no special care required when growing in containers versus a vegetable bed, but you’ll need to water and fertilize regularly if you want a perfect harvest.

Water

When growing any plant in containers, it’s important not to overwater. Stagnant water can cause a range of problems, all of which are harmful to your spinach. In fact, this is why your container needs proper drainage holes. You’ll want to also avoid pouring the water directly onto the leaves. Instead, water the plant at soil level and keep it moist, but not wet.

Spinach plants do best when the soil temperature remains around 50-80 degrees F, which makes it perfect for planting indoors. While the seeds are germinating, temperatures can drop as low as 40 degrees without damaging them. While there are some types of spinach that can tolerate colder temperatures as low as 20 degrees F, most plants won’t survive over 90 degrees.

Nitrogen is essential to growing spinach indoors, and for most potted plants as well. The soil in containers is infamous for requiring nutrient replacements, as the plants pull nitrogen from the soil so fiercely. When you plant, mix in a time-release fertilizer with the soil, or use a rich compost mixture. Then, feed the plants again during mid growth using compost, fish emulsion, or a homemade compost tea. Or, you can use a liquid fertilizer every so often instead.

Even when growing spinach indoors in containers, you’ll want to mulch the plants using organic matter. This will help retain moisture.

Pruning

If you live in a tropical climate or don’t harvest your plants for a while, you may notice tiny yellow and green flowers forming. This means your spinach is bolting, which makes the plant taste more bitter. You’ll want to harvest the plant before this can happen or remove the flowers you see appear.

Common Problems to Growing Spinach Indoors

Muscat_Coach /

Spinach’s biggest issue is rust. For this reason, you’ll want to keep debris from the containers and find a rust- or disease-resistant variety to plant. If your plants receive too much water ,or the foliage remains wet too long, spinach can also suffer from fungal diseases and rot. These issues can in turn lead to pests like fungus gnats.

When growing spinach indoors, you don’t really need to worry about pests as much. That said, you may want to keep on the lookout for leaf-eating insects, including caterpillars or slugs. Common pests that plague indoor plants, such as aphids, may also be a nuisance.

Spraying your spinach plants with neem oil will keep away pests and help you fight off issues with moist soil, such as powdery mildew. It’s totally safe for use on edible plants, so no need to worry.

Best Companion Plants for Spinach

RitaE /

Spinach looks great when paired with other leafy greens, herbs, or annual flowers. The varieties that will grow the best side-by-side with this vegetable include:

  • Strawberries
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Petunias
  • Marigolds
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Chamomile
  • Cabbage
  • Dill
  • Sage
  • Kale

Never grow spinach near pole beans or corn.

How to Harvest and Store Spinach

Showmeyourflowers /

After 40-50 days, your plant should have produced a minimum of 5-6 decent leaves (around 3-4 inches in length). You can now harvest to your heart’s content.

Begin with the outer leaves first, leaving the newer leaves in the center so they can continue to grow. You may also harvest an entire plant at once by cutting it off at 3 inches above the base with a knife or shears, and the plant will re-sprout when the time comes.

To store or preserve spinach, all you need to do is rinse off the leaves and place them in the refrigerator for no longer than a week. This vegetables is easy to store dried or frozen for year-round use as well.

Even if you don’t have much space, you can easily add more healthy greens into your diet. Spinach is incredibly cheap and easy to grow from seed, as long as you find the right variety for you and adequately care for your plants.

Click to Download this Garden Activity

Overview: Greens are one of the easiest crops to grow indoors. Grow spinach, lettuce, mesclun mix, mustard or kale and you can begin to harvest micro-greens within a month! Fruiting vegetables, such as eggplant, tomato, cucumber and squash, need more space than the average home or school can offer. To get started on greens, however, you just need a few things: A bright sunny window and/or grow lights, seeds, pots and soil.

Growing greens indoors not only provides you delicious salad ingredients, it can be a conversation starter about where food comes from. Compare the taste of store bought greens to home grown greens. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of buying shipping food across the country and eating locally harvested foods.

Materials:

  • Seeds
  • Growing containers
  • Potting soil

Approximate Time to Complete: 30 minutes for planting, 4 to 8 weeks until harvest

Location: Indoor

Ages: all ages

Season: all seasons

Instructions:

  1. At a local garden center select quick-maturing varieties of greens that won’t grow too large, such as ‘Tom Thumb’ or ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ lettuce varieties or other greens like arugula. Also purchase soilless potting mix and plastic growing containers. Rather than buying pots, you can also be creative and grow salad greens in recycled household containers. For example, the clear plastic containers that store-bought lettuce mixes come in make excellent growing trays. The key with any homemade container is to poke drainage holes in the bottom and be sure to put a drainage dish below.
  2. Locate a window in your indoor space that provides the most sunlight available to you. Generally windows facing the south receive the most sunlight followed by those facing west. Optimally, choose a location with 8 more hours of sunlight available (indoor light will not be as intense as outdoor light thus making it important to receive a longer duration). The amount of sunlight will not only be determined by direction, but also by shade from roof overhangs, trees or surrounding buildings.

During winter months, the sun is at its lowest angle in the sky and its lowest intensity of the year. The days are too short and dim for good plant growth. However, using a simple shop light or a grow light system, you can increase the light intensity indoors enough to grow greens even during the darkest months. Purchase a 2- or 4-bulb fixture and use either full-spectrum grow lights (the best option) or a combination of cool-white and warm-white fluorescent tubes. These bulbs will give your greens seedlings the right combination of light wavelengths and intensity to grow strong and full.

  1. Have your child or students fill your containers with moistened potting soil. Moisten the soil in a bucket or bowl before placing it in your container. You want the soil to feel like a moist sponge, but you do not want it to be so wet that water can be squeezed out of it. You may need to alternate adding water and soil until the optimum moisture is achieved.
  2. Next, sprinkle the seeds about 1-inch apart on the soil surface and barely cover them with soil. Because the seeds of greens are so small, you may want to help young children with this step.
  3. Place the planted containers in your window or under lights and keep the seeds and soil moist. If using lights, keep the bulbs on for 14 hours a day. Once the seeds germinate, keep the lights positioned just a few inches above the seedlings. Adjust the lights daily as the plants grow. A timer is a worthy investment, so you don’t have to remember to turn the lights on and off. If your plants are placed in a windowsill, make sure to rotate the pots every couple of days since once side of the plants will be getting more light exposure.
  4. Water as needed. If the leaves turn pale green or yellow, give the plants some liquid fertilizer when watering, being sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Once the leaves on the greens are a few inches tall, it’s time to start harvesting. Remind your gardeners that you won’t be growing full heads of lettuce like the ones you buy at the store. The idea is to harvest a few leaves at a time from each plant and then let them grow again. That way, the plants won’t take up too much space and you’ll get multiple harvests.

Harvesting is easy. Using scissors simply cut the greens 1 inch above the soil line, leaving a few larger leaves in the center to keep plants healthy. Lettuce, spinach and mesclun greens will grow back to yield another harvest in a couple of weeks. After a few harvests the plant stems may get thick and the leaves may remain small. This indicates it’s time to compost the potting mix and roots, and start over.

8. Depending on the size and number of containers planted, your harvest may continue for many weeks. For fun, purchase a package of store-bought greens and do a blind taste test against your homegrown greens. See if your young gardeners can tell the two apart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *