- Quick Guide to Growing Spinach
- Soil, Planting, and Care
- Common spinach growing problems with cures and controls:
- Spinach Growing Success Tips:
- When and Where to Grow
- Which Variety to Plant?
- Planting Makes Perfect
- How to Harvest
- Watering and Shade Are a Must!
- Fall Gardens Love Spinach
- Storage Tips
- Nature’s Superfood
- Eggs on spinach
- Leafminer, Beet and Spinach
- Life Cycle:
- Crop Injury:
- Monitoring & Thresholds:
- Cultural Controls & Prevention:
- Chemical Controls & Pesticides:
- Crops that are affected by this insect:
- Spinaches: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
Quick Guide to Growing Spinach
- Plant spinach during the cool weather of spring and fall.
- Space spinach plants 12 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0.
- Start off the growing season right by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil.
- Check soil moisture often or consider using a soaker hose to keep moisture levels consistent.
- For tender and rapid leaf production, feed regularly with a water-soluble plant food.
- Harvest spinach starting with the outermost leaves once leaves are large enough to eat.
Soil, Planting, and Care
Spinach grows most quickly in well-drained soil rich in organic matter such as compost or composted manure and with a pH of 6.5 to 7. A simple way to improve your existing soil is to mix 3 inches of aged compost-enriched Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose In-Ground Soil with the top 6 inches of existing soil. In order to grow spinach twice a year, plant it about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in the spring, and again 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost in the fall. Space plants 12 inches apart; this gives leaves room to reach full size. Perhaps the easiest growing option is to plant spinach in pots filled with premium quality potting mix, such as Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purposes Container Mix which will provide roots with just the right environment for strong growth.
For the most tender leaves, encourage spinach to grow fast and without interruption by fertilizing regularly with a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ All Purpose Plant Nutrition that feeds the soil along with the plants for better growth. (Be sure to follow directions.) This plant food works in tandem with great soil to help you achieve the best possible spinach harvest.
In the spring, plants will grow tall and bloom (called bolting) as soon as the days are longer than 14 hours. Heat also speeds up bolting, since spinach prefers temperatures between 35 and 75 degrees. Our variety is slow to bolt, which is a real bonus for gardeners who don’t have the luxury of long stretches of mild weather.
Because it bolts in the lengthening days of spring, spinach is an especially popular crop for fall, when days are short and cool. Plants are very cold-hardy, tolerating temperatures as cold as the teens to low 20s once they are well established. This quality makes them great for overwintering over in zones 8 and southward.
In cold climates, some gardeners plant spinach in a cold frame or cover plants with hay and leave them all winter; they’ll be first to produce a very early spring harvest.
Spinach growing problems are often related to growing spinach in the wrong season.
Spinach growing problems are often related to growing spinach in the wrong season.
Grow spinach in cool weather. Sow spinach in the garden as early as the ground can be worked in spring. Make succession sowings every 10 days for a continuous harvest of young tasty leaves. Continue sowing spinach until just a few weeks before the start of summer.
Sow spinach again in late summer for a cool fall harvest. In mild winter regions, sow spinach in autumn for spring harvest.
For spinach growing tips see Spinach Growing Success Tips at the bottom of this post.
Common spinach growing problems with cures and controls:
• Seedlings fail to emerge; poor germination. Seed sown too shallow. High temperatures or dry conditions will cause seed to dry and fail to germinate. Sow seed in cool weather. Keep soil evenly moist to allow for germination.
• Plants are eaten or cut off near soil level. Cutworms are gray grubs ½- to ¾-inch long that can be found curled under the soil. They chew stems, roots, and leaves. Place a 3-inch paper collar around the stem of the plant. Keep the garden free of weeds; sprinkle wood ash around base of plants.
• Seeds rot or seedlings collapse with dark water-soaked stems as soon as they appear. Damping off is a fungus that lives in the soil, particularly where humidity is high. Do not plant in cold, moist soil. Make sure soil is well drained.
• Leaves are faded yellow. Nitrogen deficiency. Spinach is sensitive to inadequate nitrogen. Side dress with compost tea every 10 to 15 days. Add aged compost to planting beds twice each year.
• Plant bolts–flowers and sets seed–before leaves are ready for harvest. Bolting can be brought on by long daylight and very warm temperatures or cool temperatures followed abruptly by very warm temperatures, 80°F or greater. Plant spinach so that it comes to harvest in cool weather. Plant varieties that resist flowering–bolting: Bloomsdale Long Standing, Big Crop, America. Plant spinach in late summer so that plants mature in the cool days of fall.
• Leaves curl under, deformed, and yellowish; small shiny specks on leaves. Aphids are tiny, oval, and yellowish to greenish pear-shaped insects that colonize on the undersides of leaves. They leave behind sticky excrement called honeydew which can turn into a black sooty mold. Remove aphids from leaves with a blast of water from the hose. Use insecticidal soap.
• White thread like tunnels within leaves. Leafminer larvae tunnel inside leaves. Destroy infected leaves and cultivate the garden to destroy larvae and keep adult flies–they are black with yellow stripes–from laying eggs. Cover crops with floating row covers.
• Tiny shot-holes in leaves of seedlings. Flea beetles are tiny bronze or black beetles a sixteenth of an inch long. They eat small holes in the leaves of seedlings and small transplants. The larvae feed on roots of germinating plants. Spread diatomaceous earth around seedling. Cultivate often to disrupt life cycle. Keep garden clean.
• Irregular small holes eaten in leaves. Cabbage lopper is a light green caterpillar with yellow stripes running down the back; it loops as it walks. Keep garden clean of debris where adult brownish night-flying moth can lay eggs. Cover plants with spun polyester to exclude moths. Pick loppers off by hand. Use Bacillus thuringiensis. Dust with Sevin or rotenone.
• Leaves are chewed. Snails and slugs feed on leaves. Hand pick at night when these pests feed or set out saucers of beer at soil level to attract and drown slugs and snails.
• Leaves and stems are partially defoliated. Armyworms are dark green caterpillars the larvae of a mottled gray moth with a wingspan of 1½ inches. Armyworms mass and eat leaves, stems, and roots of many crops. Armyworms will live inside webs on leaves. Handpick caterpillars and destroy.
• Plant yellows on one side; plant is stunted are stunted. Fusarium wilt or fusarium yellows, also called spinach yellows, is a fungal disease which infects plant vascular tissues. Fungal spores live in the soil and can be carried by cucumber beetles. Plant disease-resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants.
• Veins in leaves yellow. Spinach blight or spinach yellows is a mycoplasma disease spread by leafhoppers. Remove infected plants. Control leafhopper. Keep the garden free of weeds which can harbor disease.
• Small yellow spots on outer leaves with brown centers enlarge; spot may drop out leaving a ragged hole. Cercospora leaf spot is a fungal disease spread by heavy rainfall and warm temperatures. Keep weeds down in the garden area; they harbor fungal spores. Avoid overhead watering.
• Round water-soaked spots on leaves turn reddish brown to black. Anthracnose is a fungal disease that spreads in high humidity and rainfall. Leaves may wither and fall. Plant may die back. Spray or dust with a fixed copper- or sulfur-based fungicide every 7 to 10 days. Remove and discard infected plants. Avoid working in the garden when it is wet which can result in spread of spores. Keep tools clean.
• Irregular pale green to yellowish to brownish spots on upper leaf surfaces; grayish powder or mold on undersides. Downy mildew is a fungal disease often triggered by wet and humid weather or too frequent overhead irrigation. Improve air circulation. Plant resistant varieties. Rotate crops. Keep garden free of plant debris that can shelter fungus spores.
Spinach Growing Success Tips:
Planting. Spinach is a cool-weather crop that grows best in full sun. Where the weather is very warm, grow spinach in partial shade. Grow spinach in rich, well-drained soil; add aged compost to the planting bed before planting. Spinach will germinate poorly where soil temperatures exceed 75°F. Once seeds germinate and begin to grow, mulch the soil to maintain an even, cool soil temperature.
Planting time. Sow spinach in spring as early as 8 weeks before the average last frost date. For best flavor, spinach should come to harvest before day time temperatures exceed 70°F; increased day length also will cause spinach to flower and set seed. • For a fall crop, sow spinach in late summer 8 weeks before the first expected frost. • For an early spring harvest, sow spinach in fall about 6 weeks before the first expected frost and then protect plants from freezing in winter (plants will grow before the first freezing temperatures then stop and go nearly dormant through the winter). When spring arrives, these plants will complete their growth and be ready for harvest. In mild winter regions, sow spinach every 2 to 3 weeks throughout the fall.
Care. Keep spinach evenly moist and mulch planting beds to keep the soil cool. Protect seedlings from flea beetles, aphids, and leafhoppers with floating row covers. Thin plants to 6 inches apart for best growth and to maintain good air circulation. Keep the garden free of plant debris that can harbor pests.
Harvest. Begin picking spinach leaves when the plant has formed 6 to 8 leaves; harvest the whole plant when leaves are 4 to 6 inches long.
More tips at How to Grow Spinach.
Spinach has gotten a bad rap over the years for being a pungent vegetable that kids would rather toss than digest.
However, I’ve watched my six kids eagerly devour theirs at every meal, and I can tell you with certainty that this is one vegetable you need to be growing fresh in your garden.
Not only is it a simple plant to grow and maintain, it has a variety of delicious uses beyond the bland and mushy examples often served by cafeterias.
When and Where to Grow
I love growing this vitamin packed veggie because it does so well in many soil types and growing zones. It’s possible to begin putting seeds into the ground as soon as 8 weeks before the last frost. Since the weather is unpredictable, it’s hard to know the exact the date for this.
As a Nebraska gardener, I find that it works well to put seeds into the soil as soon as the last snowfall has melted, and when the topsoil has fully thawed.
While you can grow spinach in almost any container, many put it in proper rows alongside the rest of their veggies.
I am a fan of creating a raised bed just for spinach, lettuce, and kale. Not only does it make weeding much easier, but I’m more likely to get outside and pluck the tender leaves on a regular basis if they are easy to access.
Which Variety to Plant?
Choosing the right type for you is a matter of personal choice. If you are new to spinach, however, I would recommend getting a well-known variety from a major seed grower.
You can find various reputable brands in your local hardware store’s garden center. Or, beat the crowds and shop online.
Two cultivars that are widely popular these days include Giant Nobel and Avon Hybrid.
If you are introducing spinach to children, take a look at the photo on the seed packet and ask, “Would I want to eat this?” While some kids may find the more vibrant colors interesting, many won’t find a purple variety, for example, to be appealing.
If it’s at all possible involve your child in the process of picking out the seeds, you may have a more enthusiastic eater come harvest time!
Your first time growing, it might suit you to pick two types and grow them side by side to see which one does better. Look for two types that have differing leaf structure, color, or heartiness so that you can avoid mixing them up.
You’ll be able to track which one does best for your soil and temperature, so that you can grow that variety again next year!
There are many cultivars with unique appearances and beautiful names. I always like to add one of these to the garden to see if they are worth adding to my favorites list.
One kind that I really like is the Malabar red stem variety, with seeds available on Amazon. Its mild flavor and versatility make it a good pick for new growers.
Bloomsdale is an old-world green that is making a comeback in modern gardens. With long leaves and a puckered texture, it has a robust flavor as well. You’ll find this variety on mvseeds.com.
Malabar Red Stem Spinach Seeds
New Zealand spinach is another popular variety for hot climates with very short spring seasons. This hearty type can continue to produce juicy (if a little bland) leaves that do well when other types would start to bolt.
Also included in my favorites are a couple of types that are not actually spinach plants. I have come to crave the bold color and tender leaves of the Purple Orach, which is the perfect salad component. It’s also known as “mountain spinach” or “giant lambsquarters” and you can purchase seeds from Mountain Valley.
Another amazing and unique plant is the Strawberry Spinach. Chenopodium capitatum produces tender green leaves that can be eaten raw, or allowed to grow larger as an ingredient in cooked dishes. Seeds for this variety are also available on Amazon.
The edible, red, and tender berries add a colorful pop to fresh recipes! This is also not a true spinach, but is often planted within the same rows.
Planting Makes Perfect
Following the instructions on the seed packet is the best way that I have found to achieve a consistent result.
Most cultivars do well in rich soil that drains easily.
I try to do the planting exactly to specification, spacing seeds as indicated on the packaging. But I’m only human, and I always end up with a cluster of seeds that are too close together come sprouting time.
This can happen for a number of reasons, including human error, rain or runoff, and pesky birds (who can disturb the soil in pursuit of tasty seeds!)
Simply pluck out the extras, being careful not to pull up the roots of the ones you want to keep.
The beautiful thing about spinach is that it loves shade and water. So you can plant them near the house, under a shade tree, or anywhere that you can’t grow the more heat-tolerant veggies that love full sun.
Keep in mind that this means you’ll also find stray seedlings and weeds tend to get into your rows. Trees overhead can drop seeds directly onto your raised beds, and nesting bird droppings will also be full of seeds from other plants.
Water run-off from a house, garage, or shed will also have tree seeds, leading to volunteer plantings that can disturb your purest seed rows.
I spend a few minutes every day tending to my beds, pulling weeds, and harvesting when the time is appropriate.
For an extra delicious spinach experience, you may want to plant a new row of the little seeds each week. This ensures that they don’t all reach maturity at the same time, and you can have different maturation stages available on any given day. Some can be used for cooking while smaller, tender leaves will be perfect for eating raw!
How to Harvest
When should you harvest?
I like the milder flavor of baby leaves, and prefer to eat my spinach raw, in salads. As such, it suits my family to snip off leaves that are 3-5″ inches long, slightly below the leaf.
Make sure you only snip off half of these baby shoots to give the plant enough remaining leaf area to continue capturing sunlight to turn into food.
I get into the practice of snipping leaves on the opposite sides of the plant, then returning a few days later to do the same with the other leaves. Your plant should continue growing with plenty of leaves throughout the season if you are careful with your method.
As you can imagine, it would take 10 plants or more to be able to have a full salad on the table each day, using only baby leaves. If you want to get more out of your plant, and don’t mind the more noticeable flavor of older leaves, allow them to grow to 6″ or longer.
You can pluck leaves to “sample,” making note of when they are too large to suit your preferences. Some people adore the very large leaves, shredding them up to sauté for every meal! Just be sure to pick the outer leaves first to prevent bolting.
Watering and Shade Are a Must!
What is bolting?
It’s when your plants get so hot that they shoot straight up and start to resemble flowers more than veggies.
This usually happens when the daytime hours get longer and the temps become unreasonably hot. It can also happen if you don’t keep your plants properly hydrated.
Planting in a shady area can delay this phenomenon a bit longer for some gardeners.
Spinach needs adequate water, so be mindful of your soil. If you are using raised beds with proper drainage, they may need refreshment almost daily during the hottest months.
Some hot summer climate gardeners take a break from leafy greens during the hotter months of July and August. The struggle to keep plants tender and juicy can be an uphill battle, and many find that there are too many other things to maintain during the height of summer.
Fall Gardens Love Spinach
One of the best things about spinach is that it can return again in the fall.
Autumn vegetable gardening has become my favorite pastime, with the juicy leaves of the spinach, kale, and lettuces coming back again for a good 2-3 months, from late August until early October.
All of these can be grown up until the first hard frost of the fall or winter and enjoyed long after the rest of your garden has succumbed to insects and wilt.
Put another round of seeds into the ground 6 weeks before the first frost, and you’ll be happy you did!
Storing harvested spinach is not recommended for more than a day or two. It’s a delicate plant that doesn’t care for being put away.
If you must keep it for a couple days, I’ve done well soaking a paper towel, placing it inside a plastic storage bag, then laying the leaves inside gently.
Be careful not to bend or bruise the leaves. You can keep them somewhat crisp in this manner for salads and sandwiches, if they are in good condition to begin with.
I have also found dehydrating can be an excellent storage and preservation method. After drying, the leaves can be ground to create a fine powder. This is splendid as an ingredient in soups, smoothies, and baked goods!
I love spinach and enjoy it in its purest form.
Freshly picked, rinsed, and tossed with a little olive oil and a good fruit-infused vinegar, it can liven up any dull summer meal and provide so many good things to growing bodies.
My kids get a substantial dose of vitamins A and C each time they eat their veggies. It’s also a wonderfully easy way to grab significant amounts of iron, magnesium, B6, and calcium.
I highly recommend growing this superstar veggie for any eating plan, diet, or culinary lifestyle!
Do you have any amazing memories of spinach? Which type are you going to grow? Share in the comments!
Photo credit: . Malabar Red Stem image via Harley Seeds.
About Linsey Knerl
Born and raised in a small Nebraska town, Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mother of six who enjoys blogging and working hard on her 3 1/2-acre Nebraska homestead. When she’s not working on her next fantasy novel, you will find her in her kitchen, perfecting the Danish recipes of her grandmother with those special ingredients you can only find in a backyard garden.
Eggs on spinach
Good detective work. You’re correct! Those are eggs of leafminers. Squish them on sight, and then look for more eggs.
Leafminers feed inside the leaf and make either serpentine trails or large blotches. You can manage these pests for the rest of this season by regularly scheduling your search-and-destroy missions.
But next time you plant, choose a different area and then immediately cover the seeds, seedlings, or transplants with row cover, a non-woven “fabric” you can obtain at local garden centers. (An alternate choice is bridal tulle; it’s inexpensive and it can be cut to whatever length you need.). The reason it’s best to use a different site next time is that leafminers spend part of their life in the soil. Whatever your choice, loosely blouse the fabric to allow growing space and also anchor the cover at the perimeter to thwart the adult leafminer flies. Use a heavy object such as a board or pole, or even soil.
Leafminer, Beet and Spinach
Spinach leaf miner, typically an early-season pest, may cause damage to early greens. It attacks crops and weeds in the plant family Chenopodiaceae which includes chard, beets, and spinach as well as weeds like lamb’s quarters and pigweed.
The fly overwinters as pupae in the soil and hatches in late April and May. The adult fly then lays eggs on the leaves and the resulting larvae begin their damage.
The oblong white eggs, less than 1 mm long, are laid in neat clusters on the underside of the leaves. They are easy to spot if you scout by looking under the leaves. The maggots may migrate from leaf to leaf down a row. They become fully grown in just a few weeks and drop into the soil to pupate.
The entire life cycle is 30-40 days. There are three to four generations per season. Typically mid-late May, late-June and mid-August are peak activity periods.
Leafminer is a fly larva that burrows between the layers of a leaf eating everything but the epidermis. Early damage is a slender, winding ‘mine’, but later these expand and become blotches on the leaves. Inside the mine is a pale, white maggot. Spinach leafminer (Pegomya hyoscyami Panzer) and beet leafminer (Pegomya betae) are very similar species in behavior, appearance, plant hosts, and damage and generally cannot be distinguished in the field.
In most seasons the damage is minimal and the plants will out-grow it leaving only early leaves with cosmetic damage. In other years, or other fields in the same year, the damage may be severe and if the plants are hit early and growth is slow because of weather conditions, the loss may be great. Treat when eggs or first tiny mines are noticed.
Monitoring & Thresholds:
Begin scouting susceptible crops in mid-May. Scout undersides of leaves for eggs and treat when they are first observed in order to target larvae as they hatch.
Cultural Controls & Prevention:
- Weed control and crop rotation are the first line of defense.
- Row covers can also be used to exclude flies if placed over the crop before flies are active.
Chemical Controls & Pesticides:
There are effective treatments available for both conventional and organic growers. For current recommendations and information on production methods (including varieties, spacing, seeding, and fertility), weed, disease, and insect management, please visit the New England Vegetable Management Guide website.
Crops that are affected by this insect:
- Beet and Swiss chard
Includes spinach leafminer (Pegomya hyoscyami)
Pest description and crop damage Adults are small black to gray flies with yellow markings. The body is covered with long stiff bristles. Larvae are a nearly translucent white or yellow color and about 0.25 inch long when mature. Eggs are white, cylindrical, and laid singly or in small groups. Both larvae and adults damage plants. Larval feeding results in slender, winding trails on the leaves, which form large white blotches if mining becomes severe. Adults can make as many as 100 feeding punctures on a single leaf. Around 5% of these punctures may contain actively feeding larvae. Excessive mining renders leaves unmarketable, reduces photosynthetic capacity, and provides easy access for disease organisms.
Biology and life history Leafminers overwinter as pupae in the soil. Adults emerge in late May, mate, and females lay eggs on the undersides of beet and chard leaves or on lambsquarters. The eggs hatch in about 4 days, and the small maggots eat into the leaf. There may be several maggots in a leaf. When mature, larvae fall to the ground and pupate just under the soil surface. Adults emerge in 10 to 25 days and begin laying eggs for another generation. There are at least three generations each year.
Pest monitoring Regularly check young seedlings for leaf mines. Most mines occur on cotyledons and the first true leaves. Some mines are more visible when seen from the underside of the leaf. If leafminer populations build to high levels when seedlings have four to five leaves, a chemical treatment may be necessary. Treat if you find more than an average of one mine per leaf in your overall field sample. To be effective, sprays must be applied to the larval stage.
Natural enemies, especially parasitic wasps, commonly reduce populations of leafminers, unless they are killed by insecticides applied to control other pests. To avoid killing beneficials, choose selective pesticides for treating other pests, whenever possible. Other parasites attack leafminers, but because leafminers feed within the leaf, they generally are protected from most predators.
Liriomyza leafminers attack a wide variety of vegetable crops. Where possible, avoid planting next to infested fields, especially those near harvest. Postharvest disking of fields destroys pupae and reduces migration of adult flies into susceptible fields. Row covers work well in excluding egg-laying female flies.
Home gardeners: Remove and destroy affected leaves.
Management-chemical control: HOME USE
- azadirachtin (neem oil)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- kaolin-Applied as a spray to foliage, it acts as a repellent to some insect pests. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- plant essential oils (rosemary, etc.)-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- pyrethrins-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- spinosad-Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
Management-chemical control: COMMERCIAL USE
- abamectin (Agri-Mek) at 0.009 to 0.019 lb ai/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 7 days. Do not exceed 0.056 lb ai/a per season. Addition of a silicone surfactant will increase translaminar movement of abamectin.
- azadirachtin (Neemix)-See label for rates. Acts slowly; apply early. PHI 0 days. REI 4 hr. Thorough coverage and repeat applications are necessary. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- bifenthrin (Brigade WSB) at 0.033 to 0.1 lb ai/a. PHI 40 days. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 7 days. Limit 4 treatments per year. Do not exceed 0.4 lb ai/a per season.
- bifenthrin/avermectin (Athena) at 0.09 to 0.12 lb ai/a. PHI 40 days. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 7 days. Do not exceed 0.056 lb ai/a avermectin or 0.4 lb ai/a bifenthrin per year. Limit 2 treatments.
- bifenthrin/imidacloprid (Brigadier) at 0.08 to 0.096 lb ai/a. PHI 40 days. REI 12 hr. Do not exceed 0.24 lb ai/a imidacloprid and 0.24 lb ai/a bifenthrin per season. Retreatment interval 7 days.
- chlorantraniliprole (Coragen) at 0.065 to 0.098 lb ai/a as soil, chemigation or foliar treatment. PHI 1 day. REI 4 hr. Do not exceed 0.2 lb ai/a per season.
- cyantraniliprole (Exirel) at 0.088 to 0.133 lb ai/a. PHI 1 day. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 5 days. Do not exceed 0.4 lb ai/a per year.
- cyromazine (Trigard) at 0.125 lb ai/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Do not make more than six applications per crop.
- dinotefuran (Scorpion 35SL) at 0.05 to 0.13 lb ai/a foliar, 0.23 to 0.27 lb ai/a soil. PHI 7 days for foliar, 21 days for soil. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 7 days. Do not exceed 0.266 lb ai/a foliar or 0.532 lb ai/a soil per season.
- emamectin benzoate (Proclaim) at 0.01 to 0.015 lb ai/a. PHI 7 days. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval-7 days. Do not exceed 0.09 lb ai/a per season.
- Isaria fumosorosea (PFR-97 20%WDG) at 1 to 2 lb product per acre. PHI 0 days. REI 4 hr. Repeat every 3 to 10 days as needed. OMRI-listed for organic use.
- permethrin (Loveland Permethrin) at 0.1 to 0.2 lb ai/a. PHI 1 day. REI 12 hr. Retreatment interval 3 days. Do not graze or feed treated crop refuse to livestock. Do not exceed 0.6 lb ai/a per season.
- spinetoram (Radiant SC) at 0.047 to 0.078 lb ai/a. PHI 1 day. REI 4 hr. Retreatment interval 4 days. Do not exceed 0.266 lb ai/a per season. Do not apply to seedling leafy vegetables grown for transplant within a greenhouse, shade house, or field plot. Limit 6 treatments per season.
- spinosad (Success, Entrust SC) at 0.094 to 0.156 lb ai/a. PHI 1 day. REI 4 hr. Treat eggs, at hatch, and small larvae. Do not exceed 0.45 lb ai/a per crop. An adjuvant improves control. Spinosad takes several days to achieve full effect. Monitor fields and pest populations carefully. Multiple applications may be necessary. Entrust SC is OMRI-listed for organic use.
- thiamethoxam (Platinum) at 0.078 to 0.172 lb ai/a, soil. PHI 30 days. REI 12 hr. Do not exceed 0.172 lb ai/a per season. See label for recommended in-row application instructions. Suppression only.
Spinaches: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
Tasty, nutritious spinach is one of the first crops planted in spring. It’s higher in iron, calcium and vitamins than most cultivated greens, and it’s one of the best vegetable sources of vitamins A, B and C.
Spinach must have at least 6 weeks of cool weather from seeding to harvest. Preparing a spot for spinach in the garden is best done in the fall so that, come spring, you can sow the seeds outdoors as soon as the ground thaws. Or, if you live where winters are mild, you can prepare soil and plant in fall.
Choosing a site to grow spinaches
Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost.
Plant seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last spring frost date, and again 4 to 6 weeks before the first fall frost date. Spinach bolts when days are 14 to 16 hours long; warm weather makes it bolt even faster. Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep, about 12 seeds per foot of row, or sprinkle them over a wide row or bed.
When seedlings are 1 inch tall, thin to stand 4 inches apart. Water every few days during dry spells; mulch spinach planted in rows to retain soil moisture. Contact your local County Extension office for controls of common spinach pests such as leaf miners and aphids.
How to harvest spinaches
To harvest early, cut individual leaves as soon as they are big enough to eat. When the weather warms up, cut the whole plant close to the ground, below the lowest leaf. Harvest again after a few new leaves reappear. Repeat as necessary.