How Much Space Does Spinach Need To Grow? Expert Tips

How Much Space Does Spinach Need To Grow? Expert Tips

Spinach is one of those edible plants that everyone should consider growing in their garden. However, timing is everything when planting your spinach. To get it right, you might have to ask  “How much space does spinach need to grow?”

Knowing the answer to this question will allow you to plan your planting time accordingly so that it fits in with the rest of your edible plants. Luckily, spinach doesn’t need a lot of space to grow successfully. This means you can plant it among some of your other vegetables, herbs or even flowers.

Benefits Of Growing Spinach In Your Garden

lovely healthy green spinach plant growing in the garden

What I love most about growing fresh spinach in my garden is that the spinach plant is quite compact and doesn’t require a lot of space. This makes it perfect for filling in spots in my veggie patch that have become vacant from other crops that I’ve already harvested.

*This website is reader-support so this post may contain affiliate links for which I earn commissions.*

The other thing I really love about growing spinach is that I can just cut off a few leaves whenever I want them to throw into the dishes that I’m cooking in my kitchen.

This means that I don’t have to harvest the entire plant at once and it will keep on growing and producing more of those delectable leaves.

What I don’t love about growing spinach is its tendency to bolt as the warm weather arrives. Bolting is related to increasing day lengths and is when the spinach plants start to flower and produce seeds.

Once this happens, the once tender leaves will become bitter and almost unpalatable. And, this is why it’s important to get the timing right when growing spinach in your home garden.

When To Plant Spinach In Your Garden

young spinach plants growing in the garden

Spinach is a cool-weather crop which means it grows best in spring and autumn (fall). Plus, if you experience mild winters with only light frost, your plant will even survive during this time.

In areas that experience very cold weather in winter, you can even grow spinach under a cold frame or row cover. This usually consists of a glass cover or a polytunnel and will protect the plants from severe frosts.

You can start planting your spinach in early spring for a spring harvest and again in late summer for an autumn or fall crop.

It’s when the weather warms up and the days become longer, that you’ll notice that your spinach wants to bolt. So, you do have to time the planting of your spinach just right to get a decent crop.

Growing your spinach in partial shade rather than full sun might stop the plants from bolting too soon in hot weather. But, remember it’s the long days and summer heat that will encourage the plants to bolt.

It might also be useful to hunt for bolt-resistant varieties available locally if you do experience problems with bolting when growing spinach in your garden.

You can even consider successive plantings to ensure that you always have some spinach ready to harvest. And, because spinach doesn’t take up a lot of space, you can just dot the plants around your other vegetables.

How To Plant And Grow Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)

spinach plants growing among other vegetables with a trowel standing in the ground

You can grow spinach either from seeds or from spinach seedlings that you can purchase at your local nursery or garden centre as young plants. This plant does grow reasonably quickly as long as it’s given the right conditions.

You can sow seeds inside in late winter or out in the garden in early spring. 

Ensure that you sow spinach seeds in well-drained soil that has been enriched with lots of organic matter such as compost. Being a green leafy plant, spinach does need lots of nitrogen to produce those lovely dark green leaves.

Your spinach plants also like to be kept well-watered but this shouldn’t be a problem if you have a watering system set up in your vegetable patch.

Plus, spinach will benefit greatly from some additional fertiliser to encourage lots of new growth regularly. For this, I would recommend using a liquid fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen and applying it around once a week as part of your watering regime.

freshly harvested savoy spinach leaves

Did you know that there’s more than one spinach variety that you can grow in your garden? In fact, spinach can be divided into three main groups – flat-leafed, savoy and semi-savoy. Within these three groups, there are numerous cultivars and varieties suitable for growing in your garden.

Here’s just a small selection of the most popular varieties of spinach.

Bloomsdale Spinach

This is a savoy variety that has the familiar curly green leaves that you will see when you look at buying spinach at the greengrocer or supermarket. This variety only takes just under two months to reach maturity and is quite cold-tolerant.

Baby’s Leaf Spinach

This is a flat-leaf spinach variety that allows you to harvest young leaves in around 40 days from seed planting. The benefit of this variety is that it produces lots of leaves with very short stems. This makes it ideal for use in salads and on sandwiches.

Kolibri Spinach

Kolibri spinach is a semi-savoy variety. This simply means that it’s a hybrid that was bred by combining a flat-leaf variety with a savoy. This particular cultivar is very fast growing and you can expect to harvest your first leaves within a month. 

Malabar Spinach

malabar spinach showing the red stems and bright green leaves

This is not an actual spinach species but produces leaves that have a spinach flavour and can be used in the same way. It belongs to the Basella family of plants and popular species are Basella alba and Basella rubra.

Malabar spinach is a vining plant and is often used in Asian cuisines. It will thrive in hot summers and is a great alternative if you find that normal spinach varieties bolt too quickly during the warmer months.

For an attractive climber, you might want to consider the cultivar ‘Malabar Red’. This has outstanding dark red stems and succulent green leaves.

New Zealand Spinach

new zealand spinach variety

This is another spinach-like plant that belongs to the marigold family of plants. Its botanical name is Tetragonia tetragonioides. It’s also commonly referred to as ‘Warrigal Greens’ and is used extensively in culinary dishes at top restaurants. 

This is another variety that thrives in the hotter months. Plus, it’s relatively drought-tolerant as well. It also makes a great ground cover and can handle coastal conditions very well.

Can You Grow Spinach In Pots?

small spinach plant growing in a rustic stone pot with an apple in the background

Thanks to its fairly compact growth habit, spinach is ideal for growing in pots. This means that you can move your plants around to shield them from the hot afternoon sun during the warmer months. 

When growing spinach in pots, make sure that you use a premium potting mix that is free-draining. You should select a pot that has adequate drainage holes.

An 8-inch (20 cm) should be large enough for one spinach plant. However, you can grow two or three plants in a larger pot that’s more than 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.

You just have to be mindful that your pot-grown spinach will require more frequent watering than the plants that you’re growing in the ground. The potting soil tends to dry out very quickly so make sure you keep an eye on your plants during the warmer weather.

For maximum growth, you also want to feed your pot-grown spinach with a liquid fertiliser high in nitrogen once a week during the plant’s active growing season. Some good options include fish emulsion, compost tea, or fortified seaweed fertiliser.

Plus, you want to ensure that you harvest the leaves regularly so that plenty of new ones can grow.

When And How To Harvest Spinach

gardener's hands picking spinach leaves and putting them in a basket

Harvesting spinach leaves couldn’t be easier as long as you remember one important point. Always pick the outer leaves from your spinach plant and leave the inner leaves so that they can continue to grow.

Individual leaves just have to be large enough for your needs to be harvested successfully. In fact, you can start harvesting a few leaves once your plant has at least six main leaves that are around 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. 

If you harvest your spinach this way, you should have a continuous supply of fresh leaves that you can harvest every few days.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you grow spinach in a small space?

For baby spinach leaves, you only need to space your plants around 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. This means that you can grow around 3 to 4 plants in a medium-sized pot with a diameter of around 12 inches (30 cm). If you want larger spinach leaves, reduce the number of plants per pot to 1 or 2.

How quickly does spinach grow?

Spinach is considered a fast-growing plant. You should be able to harvest your first leaves in around 6 to 10 weeks after sowing the seed. This plant grows quickly, especially if you give it lots of fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen.

How many times will spinach regrow?

Given the right conditions, spinach plants will continue to produce new leaves continually until the plant starts to bolt or go to seed.

Final Thoughts

Spinach is quite a compact plant and doesn’t need that much space to grow. You can space your plants as close as 3 inches (7.5 cm) if you only want to harvest baby spinach leaves.

For larger leaves, space your plants around 6 inches (15 cm) apart if you’re growing them in your garden beds. Or, you can plant spinach in pots and grow it on your balcony or a sunny patio.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.