Growing spinach is very easy and something we plant every year at The Home Garden. It matures in about a month and we can plant it multiple times throughout the year. It easy to harvest and can be eaten without much preparation.
Spinach is an edible flowering plant and is a member of the chard and beet family. It is an annual plant and grows to a height of about 12 inches. Its leaves are triangular based and it flowers are a yellow-green color. It can be sold in bunches, bagged, canned or frozen.
Spinach has a high nutritional value and is loaded with vitamins and minerals; 100g provides 400% of daily intake of vitamin K and 25% of daily intake of iron. It does however lose its nutritional value in only a few days, refrigeration can slow its nutritional loss a few extra days. It can last up to eight months when stored in your freezer.
Spinach is thought to have originated in Persia or modern day Iran. Arab traders carried it to India and it was then introduced to China. The earliest recorded use of spinach was around 647 A.D.
There are three main types of spinach, Savoy which is dark green and has wrinkly curly leaves. It is probably the kind you would find at the grocery store sold in bunches in the produce section. Flat or smooth leaf spinach, it has broad leaves and is much easier to clean than Savoy. It is mainly grown for canning or freezing. The last is Semi Savoy; it is a hybrid version of Savoy and its leaves are only slightly wrinkled and it has a much higher resistance of growing up to seed.
Spinach can be planted in early spring as soon as the soil has been prepared. It can also be sown over frozen ground in the fall and will start to germinate in spring as soon as the soil begins to thaw. It can be planted multiple times during the year but will not do well in the heat of the summer.
Spinach should be planted 3-4 inches apart and about ¼ to ½ inch in depth. It will need ample moisture and will need to be watered several times per week. Rows should be about 12 inches apart. Spinach can be harvested in 35-45 days and is best when harvested young and will start to deteriorate when seed stalks start to form.
Spinach has a high nutritional value and is extremely rich in antioxidants, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitaminB2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids.