If you’re short on garden space but committed to eating a healthy, balanced diet and would like to take part in growing your own produce, container gardening is the answer. Almost anything that grows in a garden can be grown in a container. Growing spinach in containers is an easy, nutrient-rich, fast-growing crop to start with. Read on to find out how to grow spinach in containers and the care of spinach in pots.
Growing Spinach in Pots from Seeds
Sow seeds 1/2 inches deep directly in containers or in 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 in 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.
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 this area can be reduced to 2 inches only. Divide the planter box into squares, and see how many plants will feel comfortable in it.
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.
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.
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. It is necessary to take care of good drainage in the pot.
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.
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.
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.